Public Humanities at WesternWestern Arts and Humanities


group of students

joshJoshua D. Lambier, Program Director

Joshua Lambier is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of English & Writing Studies at Western University. As an active member of the London community, Lambier is also the Founding Director of the Public Humanities at Western and the Artistic Director of the Words Literary and Creative Arts Festival. His dissertation research project, “The Vital Life of Rights in British and European Romanticism,” aims to re-examine the claims of current human rights discourses by returning to their modern genesis in the turbulent political, cultural and literary debates of the Romantic period. He has published essays in the European Romantic Review, Romantic Circles, and Spheres of Action: Speech and Performance in Romantic Culture. Lambier is currently co-editing two volumes of essays on the topic of evolution in Romanticism: Marking Time: Romanticism & Evolution (University of Toronto Press) and Romantic Evolutions (Literature Compass). His doctoral research has been supported by the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation as well as the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). He has been a past winner of The Student Volunteer Award for Community Service in the City of Waterloo as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award given by the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union.

philPhillip Glennie, Program Coordinator

Philip Glennie is a graduate of the Ph.D. English program at The University of Western Ontario, and currently works as a freelance editor and teacher, performing work for organizations like Statistics Canada and the Ontario Telemedicine Network, among others. He is also an active member of the London community, serving as a registered member of Pillar – London’s major not-for-profit network – and in September of 2011, acting as one of the head organizers for Oh!Fest, a free music festival held in conjunction with London’s wonderfully successful Car-Free Fest. While studying at The University of Western Ontario, he focused his dissertation on the role of therapeutic drugs in early 20th-Century Literature, exploring the tenuous relationship between the unsettling aspects of critical thinking and the individual’s desire for “thoughtless” chemical comfort. Over the course of his graduate education, he wrote and completed five novels and over forty short stories. He has been a recipient of four Ontario Graduate Scholarships, as well as a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council doctoral fellowship.

joelJoel Burton, Associate Director, Community Engagement 

Joel Robert Burton is a Ph.D. candidate in English at Western University, where the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council has funded his research on confession and testimony in the contemporary novel. At Western, he works as a writing tutor in the Access Transition Program, Indigenous Services. He completed degrees at Dalhousie University and St. Francis Xavier University, where he was a J. P. McCarthy Scholar and nominee for the Rhodes scholarship. In 2011, Joel presented a research poster on cultural memory sponsored by the Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development at the international meeting of the North Atlantic Forum. In 2012, he completed certificate programs on community change at the Pillar Nonprofit Network in London, Ontario and on social change at the Coady International Institute in Nova Scotia. At Coady, Joel’s capstone project was on the convergence of community-engaged scholarship and advanced research in the Humanities. In this project, Joel developed a method of conducting interviews rooted in the storytelling practices of Atlantic Canada that he will implement in a practice-based research initiative.

mikeMichael Courey, Program Coordinator

Michael Courey is a 4th year Ph.D candidate in Sociology at Western University and a community organizer in the Old East Village located in East London, Ontario. Previously studying at the University of Guelph where he completed a Diploma in Agriculture and a BA in Sociology and Business Administration, Michael came to Western in 2007 to pursue his graduate studies His research interests are wide ranging from human development, identity formation, youth studies, and critical social theory, to his most recent academic endeavours in urban renewal and community organizations. Michael displays a passion for connecting social theory to action through his involvement with various organizations across London including the Old East Village Community Association, the Community Advisory Council at the London InterCommunity Health Centre, and his leading role in developing the Old East Village Community and Cultural Development Initiative. Michael’s dissertation focuses on social values and the construction of social spaces in Old East Village. Although the project is in its formation he will be working with local groups and organizations to develop research questions relevant to these groups as well as to academic literature on urban renewal and social spaces. He is very concerned with the questions: knowledge for whom? And, knowledge for what? And believes that these questions need to be tended to much more explicitly in social science research.

jamieJaime R. Brenes Reyes, Program Coordinator

Jaime R. Brenes Reyes is a PhD student in Hispanic Studies, a grad program within the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. Jaime's current research explores the aura that arises when reading good literature. He argues that an analysis of literature as an epileptic episode may give us some clues. Based on his research on Latin American literature and literary theory (as well as his own experience of living with seizures), he aims to explore whether the act of reading Argentine writer and essayist Julio Cortázar’s fiction can be understood as epileptical. Jaime's research may have important implications for the understanding of Cortázar’s oeuvre and the contextualization of neurological malfunctions from the viewpoint of literature. Beyond his academic interests, he have a great love for literature, jazz music, black coffee, spicy food, CBC Radio 2, playing with his children and looking at the moons

maryamMaryam Golafshani, Program Coordinator

Maryam Golafshani is completing the second year of her undergraduate degree as a Scholar’s Electives student in the School for Advanced Studies in the Arts & Humanities. While completing her International Baccalaureate Diploma in high school, Maryam founded a highly-circulated student-run magazine, held volunteer leadership positions at the local food bank, and raised over $15 000 for the local Salvation Army as Charities Executive of her school’s student council. Upon graduation, Maryam was recognized as one of “Waterloo Region’s Top Students” by The Record, and won a National Scholarship from Western University. Now at university, she has held several publication positions, most notably Editor-In-Chief of the Arts and Humanities Students’ Council’s publications. Maryam is also incredibly passionate about working with youth, and most recently spent her summer as a Program Assistant at Laval University’s Shad Valley Program and as an art instructor at Homer Watson House and Gallery.

meredith barrMeredith Barr, Program Coordinator

Meredith recently completed a Bachelor of Medical Sciences at Western, and is now a medical student at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. During her undergraduate, she was a senior member of the Student Emergency Response Team (SERT), and was awarded research studentships at the Robarts Research Institute (2014) and the University of Toronto (2015). In her final undergraduate year, Meredith completed an in-depth cultural case study of Western's McIntosh Gallery as part of a course on the cultures and literatures of leadership, which galvanized her emerging interest in how the humanities can become clinically relevant for doctors. Broadly, she is fascinated by the humanism and empathy achieved by physicians with a proficiency in the arts; more specifically, she is interested in how these competencies contribute to the physician-patient relationship. As a liaison between Schulich and the Public Humanities, Meredith hopes to create a powerful link between the two disciplines, with the greater goals of improving patient care and strengthening medical relationships in London and other communities throughout southwestern Ontario. In the future, Meredith hopes to broaden her scope to a global scale, with a focus on how cultural elements and socioeconomic status impact health care. She is interested in pragmatic factors, such as vulnerability, accessibility, willingness to seek or comply to treatment, and physician training; and theoretical factors, such as the expression of patient experiences and the portrayal of physicians through art, literature, music, film, and theatre. Apart from her studies, Meredith already tends to embody every stereotype of a doctor, from her messy handwriting to her daily coffee cravings.

mcdonaldRiley McDonald, Program Coordinator 

Riley McDonald is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English & Writing Studies at Western University. He was born in Hamilton, Ontario, and received his B.A. from Trent University in 2011 and his M.A. from Dalhousie University in 2012

instonCamille Intson, Program Coordinator 

Camille Intson is in the midst of completing her undergraduate degree as a Western Scholars student in the Arts and Humanities faculty, working towards an Honours Specialization in English Language and Literature with a secondary major in Theatre Studies. She has devoted the last few years to contributing to and enriching local arts groups and promoting community engagement in Southern Ontario, dabbling in theatre, music, film, graphic design, arts administration and production, and social media outreach. Prior to coming to Western, Camille studied and volunteered at Theatre Aquarius, the Hamilton Fringe Festival (Best of Venue, Emerging Artists Award 2013), Louder Than A Bomb Canada, the Westdale/Hamilton Film Festival (Featured/“Best Short Film”: Inspiration (acting/direction/production)), Westdale Media Arts’s Five Hour Film Challenge (Winner: Checkmate, 2013 (writing/directing/production)), Hamilton Youth Poets, the Performing Arts Camp/Cinema Arts Program, the Sears Ontario Drama Festival (2013-15/2014 Provincial Showcase with Theatre Westdale’s Excellence Award winning Albertine in Five Times), Theatre Westdale at Westdale Secondary, Hillfield Strathallan College, and more; in May 2015, she made her directorial debut with Theatre Westdale’s gender-bent Macbeth in support of the #HeForShe campaign for gender equality. Here in London, she extensively involves herself in extracurricular arts programs. She made her playwriting debut at the 2016 Purple Shorts Festival with her original show “Anonymous,” and has worked as an actor and director with Theatre Western. Camille is on the Arts Soph Team and is taking on the role of Play Coordinator for the Arts & Humanities Students Council for 2016-17. She prides herself in devoting all of her time to the arts and to her academic endeavours and, in her spare time, runs an independent blog at She works seasonally as an Associate Drama Instructor at Theatre Ancaster. Camille will continue to make art and drive herself mad for the rest of time.

adam helmersAdam Helmers, Program Coordinator

Adam Helmers is an undergraduate studying English and French at Western and the School for Advanced Studies in the Arts and Humanities (SASAH). Over the last four years through his SASAH experience Adam has become firmly located with a purpose in the London community. Some projects from the school have involving archival research, art environmental activism, and healthcare ethics training. He is originally from Kitchener ON and since starting at Western most of his time is divided between running, reading, researching, writing, music, working as a cook, going to cafes, attending secret and underground shows, visiting art galleries and organizing events on campus. He is the team leader and works as an event planner and project manager for Sofar Sounds in London ON, he is also a freelance writer with experience working for Western Gazette, Indie Underground and his dearly beloved SASAH Blog.

rita Rita Ieshu, Program Coordinator

Rita Ieshu recently graduated from the Arts & Science program at McMaster University. She is currently an MA student in the Department of English & Writing Studies at Western University. Her involvement with disability studies began during her undergraduate career, where she worked to develop an online resource for instructors at McMaster University in their compliance with accessible teaching standards. She has also won the Ontario Service Award and the Hamilton Health Sciences Volunteer Education Scholarship for her dedication to hospital service. Her interests in illness and disability narratives continue with her current work in narrative medicine.

Public Humanities Alumni

donnieDonnie Calabrese, Program Coordinator

Donald Calabrese is a PhD candidate in the department of English at Western University.  His primary research surrounds the manuscripts and "avant-texte" of James Joyce's Ulysses. He is currently studying (re)naming in the Ulysses avant-texte and how it complicates the printed text of the novel. His secondary interests include Frank O'Hara and New York School collaboration, comix, Christopher Marlowe and the philosophy of language. Spending the last five years as a musician based in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Donald collaborated on a variety of community projects including a successful (and ongoing) public speaker series, a hyper-local community newspaper, and public space reclamation endeavors. Informed by the work of the Antigonish Movement, Donald is fiercely devoted to cooperative labour and education and is currently working on a graphic biography of the founder of the Antigonish Movement, Moses Coady.

samSamantha Angrove, Program Coordinator

Samantha Angove is from Thunder Bay, Ontario and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with honours in Psychology from Lakehead University. She completed a portion of her B.A. at Charles Sturt University in Australia. Currently, she is completing her Master of Arts degree in Art History at Western University, Canada. Samantha has volunteered at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery and was a mural painter for the NPO Action Neighbourhood Change. She has also worked as a researcher for a NPO that has a goal of establishing a national museum/science centre for Canada’s grain trade history. Samantha recently co-curated an exhibition from the McIntosh Gallery’s permanent collection in London, Ontario. Accompanying the exhibition was the catalogue publication Negotiation within the Frame: textual and pictorial connections in art. The research for her M.A. thesis focuses on contemporary indigenous artists who explore settler colonialism in their work, and contemporary art exhibitions that navigate the complexities of postcoloniality through references to popular culture.

lauraLaura Kelvin, Program Coordinator

Laura Kelvin is a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology at Western University. Her research employs community archaeology strategies to examine the history of Banks Island, NWT. In collaboration with the Inuvialuit community of Sachs Harbour, Laura plans to design a website that will feature Inuvialuit and archaeological interpretations of the past to explore how digital space can be used to facilitate multivocal analyses She will also use oral history and ethnohistorical research to examine how previous archaeological and anthropological research has impacted the community, and how archaeologists and community members can work towards the decolonization of archaeological practices. Previously, she completed a BA at the University of Western Ontario in anthropology with a minor in First Nations studies and a MA in archaeology at Memorial University. Her MA thesis, The Inuit-Metis of Sandwich Bay: Oral Histories and Archaeology, examined the ethnogenesis of the Labrador Metis community. During this work Laura lived in Cartwright, Labrador where she conducted oral history interviews with the community’s Elders to learn about their past settlement and land use practices. Laura is also an active member of the Committee for Women in Anthropology.

jamieJamie Rooney, Program Coordinator

Jamie Rooney is currently a Scholar’s Elective undergraduate student, pursuing an Honors Specialization in English at Western University and SciencesPo, Paris. He specializes in trauma, mourning and melancholia in contemporary literature and theory and has published in The Word Hoard. After completing a volunteer exchange to Mozambique and a cross-Canada cycling fundraiser for Canada World Youth, Rooney served on the organization’s Board of Directors from 2010-2012. Additionally, he is currently the International Director of AJUDE Mozambique Rooney has delivered keynote addresses on civic engagement and experiential learning at conferences and events across Canada; his audiences have included high school and university students, Canadian and international NGOs, the Prime Minister, Governor General and Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Internationally, he has addressed events including the International Orphanage Conference in Mozambique and the African Regional Learning Forum in Cape Town, South Africa. In 2012-2013, Rooney was awarded the Scholar’s Program Scholarship, Diana Beattie Exchange Scholarship, Memorial Scholarship, Marguerite Torney Scholarship and the UWO Faculty Association Scholarship and has been a past winner of the Global Changemaker Award given by the Ontario Council for International Cooperation.

cierraCierra Webster, Program Coordinator

Cierra Webster completed her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree from Queen’s University with a double major in art history and history. Currently, she is a Master’s of Arts student in the department of visual arts at Western University. Cierra’s thesis analyses how contemporary North American art practices mobilize queer methodological frameworks to unsettle the canon of art history. She specifically focuses on concepts of homonormativity, homonationalism, and queering settler colonialism through an examination of the Smithsonian Hide/Seek exhibition, Kent Monkman’s paintings, and General Idea’s FILE Megazine project. In addition, she received a Queen’s University Excellence Scholarship and has worked at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre and Museum London. Outside of the art world, Cierra has also worked extensively with social justice and activism programs, oftentimes working with youth. Of these include social issues theatre groups, education-based programs and conferences, fundraising events, and anti-oppression workshops. 

khanJaxson Khan, Program Coordinator

Named one of Canada's Top 20 Under 20 young leaders, Jaxson is an undergraduate student at Western University studying at Huron College. Jaxson is a leader of the Young Diplomats of Canada, which represents Canada in the International Diplomatic Education Association, and engages the country's top young professionals in global forums and opportunities. Jaxson co-founded and is the Chair of the Board of Student Voice Initiative, a Canadian movement which has successfully advocated for student leadership policies across the nation. Jaxson co-chairs the national AstraZeneca Young Health Program, a global community investment initiative which helps young Canadians in need deal with mental and physical health issues, and he co-founded The Globe and Mail Student Advisory Council, which informs and writes student-authored editorials for a national publication with a readership of more than 3.5 million. He has travelled to and conducted research in fifteen countries across four continents, including the UK, Belgium, Israel, Rwanda, and Ethiopia, and represented Canada at the United Nations in New York City as well as the 2013 G8 Youth Summit. Jaxson is an Ambassador of One Young World, and a Global Shaper of the World Economic Forum.

chrisChris Bundock, Program Coordinator

Chris Bundock took his doctorate at Western in 2010 and is currently a SSHRCC post-doctoral fellow at Duke University. His post-doctoral project, The Melancholia of Messianism: 'Judaism' and Discontinuous History in William Blake, Percy Shelley, and George Eliot, develops and extends his dissertation's analysis of Romantic prophecy as a phenomenon responding to a novel experience of time and history emergent in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. He has published essays in European Romantic Review, Interdisciplinary Literary Studies, Romantic Praxis, Review of English Studies, and Rethinking British Romantic History, 1780-1840. In 2009 he received the Graduate Essay Prize from the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism and in 2011 was the recipient of the Governor General's Gold Medal.