Research Team

We are: a migrant from Macedonia, a daughter of Ukrainian immigrants, a Mauritian-Australian. We are an immigrant from Hong Kong, an artist who came to Canada from Colombia….

Dr. Marusya Bociurkiw

Marusya Bociurkiw is the daughter of Ukrainian immigrants, a professor at Ryerson University, director of 10 films, author of 6 books and over 75 scholarly, popular and arts-based articles. Her research is concerned with affect, memory and archives as they relate to media, history, and nation. She currently works with LGBT asylum seekers to develop forms of pedagogy and expression that express the tension between sexual liberation and economic and racist exploitation. Also a filmmaker, she is working on a film about feminist media activism entitled “Before #MeToo: the Story of a Feminist Media Revolution.” Her most recent film, “This Is Gay Propaganda: LGBT Rights & the War in Ukraine” has screened in 12 countries and has been translated into 3 languages. She is Founding Director of The Studio for Media Activism & Critical Thought at Ryerson University in Toronto. In her teaching, writing and filmmaking she works at the intersection of art, social justice, collaboration, identity, and friendship.

Dr. Caroline Lenette

Dr. Caroline Lenette is Associate Professor in the School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at University of New South Wales, Australia. She is affiliated with the Forced Migration Research Network (FMRN@UNSW), She is also a Senior Research Associate of the UNSW Australian Human Rights Institute. Caroline is interested in the links between arts-based research and policymaking, and how storytelling through creative means can influence decision-makers towards meaningful change. She also explores how ethics in research practice is conceptualised in participatory research. Caroline undertakes social-justice focused research in collaboration with community-based organisations on different aspects of forced migration. She is the author of Arts-based methods in refugee research: Creating sanctuary (Springer, 2019).

Dr. Elena Marchevska

Professor Elena Marchevska is a practitioner, academic and researcher interested in new historical discontinuities that have emerged in post-capitalist and post-socialist transition. She is researching and writing extensively on the issues of belonging, displacement, the border and intergenerational trauma. Her artistic work explores borders and stories that emerge from living in transition. She is an Associate Professor in Performance Studies at London South Bank University. In 2017, A/Prof Marchevska was a researcher in residence at Live Art Development Agency’s Study Room, exploring Live Art practices and methodologies in relation to the experiences of the displaced. In 2018, she finished a two-year Horizon2020 funded study conducted in collaboration with Dr Ana Vilenica, that looked at the role of socially-engaged art within the framework of housing crises in Europe, by focusing on two cities: Belgrade, Serbia and London, UK. A publication of the results titled Art and Housing Struggles will be published in 2019 by IntellectPress.

Research Assistants

Carolyn Defrin

Carolyn Defrin is an artist and researcher currently focused on subject matter related to migration, intergenerational connection, feminism, nature and care. Originally from the US, and currently based in London, UK- she works across video installation and theatre practices. She holds an MA in performance and design from Central Saint Martins and has just completed a collaborative PhD with London South Bank University and Hammersmith United Charities which explored relationships between funders, artists and local vulnerable communities.  She is the co-founder of Kissing Project (a multimedia platform for stories and experiences that celebrates diverse humanity) and an original founding member of The House Theatre of Chicago. Recent work includes 3rd Nature (performingborders/LADA), Kissing Rebellion (Ovalhouse, Albany theatre) Moving: Portraits Between Time (Westfield Shopping Centre, St. Paul’s Centre) Remembering the Future (Borough Road Gallery) and The Balloon (The Yard, Barbican Hackathon).

Winstan Whitter

I’m an award-winning director, cinematographer and film editor with expert technical abilities and over 20 years of professional experience in broadcast, cinema and online. I work across a variety of content and my clients have included Sony, Rapha, Remy Martin, Mountain Dew, V&A Museum. My work as a director and editor began in 1998 producing the critically acclaimed documentary feature ‘Rollin’ Through the Decades’ with its world premier at the BFI. My second doc feature ‘Legacy in the Dust: The Four Aces Story’ premiered at the BFI in 2008 as part of the Roots & Shoots series. My latest documentary ‘You Can’t Move History’ won the Arts & Humanities Research Council award for ‘Best Research in Documentary’ at BAFTA in 2016. As a cinematographer I began lighting music videos on 16mm film for artists like Dizzee Rascal, Estelle and Professor Green in 2002. I went on to shoot the music doc ‘Marc Bolan: The Final Word’ for the BBC. Moving into dramas in 20xx, ’If It Be Love’ won ‘Best no budget feature film’ at the London Independent Film Festival in 2017. Recent work includes the drama ‘A Visit to a Family Home’ which won the Learning on Screen Award in 2018. I am currently developing two music documentaries; one on the legendary Acid House Club ‘Labyrnth’ as it celebrates its 30th anniversary and a film about how the search for the lost Jazz score ‘name of score?’ becomes a journey of self-discovery. Attached CV.

Nooreen Hussain

Nooreen Hussain holds an MA in Immigration and Settlement Studies at Ryerson University. She is interested in exploring research on migration, racialization, identity formation and religious minorities in Canada. Her MA thesis entitled, ‘Exploring the Racial and Gendered Dimensions of Québécois Secularism’ explored the specificity of Québec’s secularism policies, practices and approach from a Critical Race Theory lens. Over the past ten years, Nooreen has worked in the higher education and nonprofit industries managing projects related to multiplatform storytelling, experiential learning, applied research, website redesign and community building. She is currently working on a short film exploring the intersection between Canadian identity, and her personal experiences being Muslim and wearing a veil. She is also co-producing a podcast series exploring life as a racialized person in Canada and the sometimes challenging navigation of culture, family, relationships, mental health and more! Attached CV.

photo of Flora Miwashokera

Flora Miwashokera

I was born on a warm, sunny day on the beautiful Island of Zanzibar, Tanzania in East Africa. I reflect a variety of personality traits including ambition, generosity and thoughtfulness. I am also a well-determined and humble individual, yet pleasantly calm. I went to school in the Northern part of Tanzania ( Kilimanjaro) and graduated in Arts and Tourism Studies. But my love for travel has led me to the travel Industry where I began my career as a flight attendant. I am grateful for this career which allowed me to travel to many countries and make many friends. I migrated to Canada alone in October 2018 after LGBTQ people were arrested in Tanzania and I left my family behind. Life has never been easy alone, but a part from loneliness I was happy that I was able to buy a house for my family after struggling for many years in poverty. That was my greatest achievement. Now, I am a full-time caregiver, motivated by my love for helping people, support them and put a smile on their faces. I love my job it and I strive to become an outstanding and successful woman in today’s society.

My experience with the Finding Home project, led by Marusya has been great. It was an excellent opportunity to collaborate with people who are professionals and learn the technical elements of filmmaking including camera, lighting, sound and editing. Plus, information about directing as well. In short, it was a very fun and good workshop to connect and make friends.

photo of Josie Gardner

Josie Gardner

Josie Gardner is an innovator, idealist, optimist, and unorthodox thinker who is passionate about bridging divides through creative dialogue and grassroots peace work. Currently, she is a PhD candidate and Scientia Scholar at the University of New South Wales in Sydney Australia, as well as a community action peace researcher and healer. Josie’s research investigates emergent peace systems within violent contexts in India through trauma-informed reconciliation and psycho-spiritual healing, and by exploring the link between ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ peace. She is passionate about anti-colonial, youth-led peacebuilding, finding young adults around the world to be some of the most inspiring changemakers and best teachers. Prior to her PhD research, Josie co-founded Muralisto, a community arts and development social enterprise in Sydney, as well as a sustainable micro-credit development project in partnership with HIV+ widows in Tanzania. She has also worked in human rights roles at both Amnesty International Australia to the Australian Journal of Human Rights.