Public Humanities at WesternWestern Arts and Humanities

Meet the Current Public Humanities Team

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.