Explore Priority Thematic Public Humanities Research Incubator Grant Projects Awarded: 2024

Please join us in congratulating the recipients of Priority Thematic Public Humanities Research Incubator Grant Project funding. In the 2024-26 competition, a total of $60,000 was awarded to three projects to promote research activity and collaboration among humanities scholars at UBC and beyond; to help collaborators leverage funding to secure additional support; and to foster more public-facing sharing of research.

Diaspora Theatre as Affective and Performative Archives on Transnational Migration
PI: Dr. Leonora Angeles, Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice (GRSJ), Faculty of Arts.
Thematic areaGlobal Race, Anti-Racism & Social Justice Humanities.
Abstract: A Public Humanities project about art, theater, diaspora & migration seems counter-intuitive, problematic & frivolous amidst worsening refugee crises & anti-immigration rhetoric. However, recent literature highlights how artists ethically demonstrate the functional, instrumental, & political power of theatre & performance arts in shaping how varied audiences perceive im/migrants, their communities & cultures & consequently shape policies & service programs. Studying arts, culture & migration linkages have been long explored in Humanities & Cultural Studies, but less so within Migration Studies dominated by the Social Sciences. The performative, representational, & the sociological, e.g. migrant labour, race & precarity, connect the long-intertwined histories of theater & migration, requiring more invigorated, contextual, & critical examination in less studied sites & communities of immigrant-led diaspora theater in Western Canada. In deploying theatrical processes through the re-staging of the play buto-buto:bones are seeds, we cultivate a performance archive generated by Filipino immigrants drawn from their lived experiences, allowing action research participants to re-imagine their migratory narratives & histories, informed by current decolonization challenges in world theatre history textbooks notorious for their Eurocentric ways of knowing, looking, privileging & pedagogy.
Team Members:
Dr. Stephen Heatley, Department of Theatre and Film, Faculty of Arts;
Dr. John Paul Catungal, GRSJ and Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies (ACAM), Faculty of Arts; and
Dr. Dennis Gupa, Department of Theatre and Film, University of Winnipeg.

Sustainable Sound Installations: Harmonizing Aesthetics, Education, and Upcycling
PI: Dr. Derek Gladwin, Department of Language and Literacy Education (LLED), Faculty of Education.
Thematic area: Environmental/Climate, Land & Place-Based Humanities.
Abstract: This transdisciplinary project proposes a collaboration that integrates sound, aesthetics, regenerative design, and sustainable engineering to create, install, and exhibit wood resonators (sound speakers) at UBC. Aligned with Berkowitz and Gibson’s (2022) perspective on public humanities emphasizing relationships across time and interconnectedness, the project explores the ecological and aesthetic impacts of upcycling as creative use into artistic installations of wood resonators that function as translators of soundscapes and ecologies. The focus is on aesthetic experience for the public, with resonators serving as eco-aesthetic representations incorporating humanistic and environmental elements. The investigation involves a highly multidisciplinary team, reflecting the diverse research praxis intersecting in the project. The project aligns with the principles of public humanities, emphasizing the active engagement of “doing” in the design, production, and immersive experiences of artistic upcycling. The project plans to install the resonators inside the Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) and another external space on the UBC campus. Research on public and user impact will be conducted to assess the broader implications of the resonator installations and their scalability for future funding.
Team Members:
Dr. Michele Koppes, Department of Geography, Faculty of Arts;
Dr. Kedrick James, LLED, Faculty of Education;
Dr. Naoko Ellis, Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering, Faculty of Applied Science;
Dr. Danielle Ignace, Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, Faculty of Forestry; and
Dr. Will Valley, Faculty of Land & Food Systems.

Out of the Iron Age: Thomas Heywood, Online and Onstage
PI: Dr. C.W. Marshall, Department of Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Studies (AMNE), Faculty of Arts.
Thematic area: Critical Digital Humanities, Multiple Materialities & New Publics.
Abstract: “Out of the Iron Age: Thomas Heywood, Online and Onstage” will bring new life to a play by Thomas Heywood that has been almost completely forgotten. “The Iron Age, part 1” (=“1 Iron Age”) was written by a contemporary of Shakespeare in the 1610s, as part of a five-part radical re-imagining of Greek myth. Heywood was the most prolific playwright of his day, and 1 Iron Age is his treatment of the Trojan War. It is a huge, ambitious work, written at a time when Homer’s poems were only just being translated into English. This project will create two distinct research outcomes. First, the edition of the play will be edited and made available through LEMDO (Linked Early Modern Drama Online), a digital humanities project spearheaded by one team member (Jenstad). Using UBC students, we will produce a fully annotated, open-access online edition of the play, both as a diplomatic text and a modern spelling text. The resulting scholarly work will provide a tool for students and scholars, encouraging the inclusion of Heywood in surveys of Early Modern theatre. Secondly, the play will be staged with a rehearsed reading in March 2025, directed by the PI. This production will demonstrate the theatricality of the script, and will introduce the play and the playwright to a Vancouver audience for the first time.
Team Members:
Dr. Tiffany Potter, Department of English Language and Literatures, Faculty of Arts;
Dr. Hallie Marshall, Department of Theatre and Film, Faculty of Arts; and
Dr. Janelle Jenstad, Department of English, University of Victoria.