The Arts at York
The School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD) at York University is one of the most comprehensive schools of arts, design and culture in Canada. Located in Toronto, Canada, the University is committed to giving a broad demographic of students access to a high quality, research-intensive learning environment committed to the public good. Within this commitment to inclusive excellence, AMPD is home to 30+ competitive undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including BA, BFA, MFA, and MA/PhD within 7 departments. Facilities include over 5 football fields worth of premier and work-integrated learning spaces, including the Motion Media Studio at Cinespace Toronto, the Sandra Faire and Ivan Feçan Theatre and the Tribute Communities Recital Hall. Research in AMPD is supported by Sensorium: Centre for Digital Arts and Technology, one of the University’s organized research units. Through Sensorium, AMPD researchers currently hold over $15m in external research funding and were key contributors to the York research project, Connected Minds: Neural and Machine Systems for a Healthy, Just Society (total project $318m). York features the Art Gallery of York University and will open the Joan and Martin Goldfarb Art Gallery in 2024. The School is home to more than 3,000 diverse and socially engaged students, and 18,000 alumni leading in industries around the world. To celebrate them and the achievements of students, faculty and staff, AMPD was proud to host the York Year of the Arts in 2022/23.
a2ru Campus Contacts
Dr. Sarah Bay-Cheng is an accomplished leader in the fields of arts, media, performance, and design, currently serving as the Dean of the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD) at York University. With a demonstrated passion for cultivating creative excellence, Sarah has dedicated her career to shaping the future of arts education.
Since joining York in 2019, Sarah has successfully lead AMPD initiatives that drive artistic innovation, interdisciplinary collaboration, and academic excellence. These include the new AMPD Equity Plan, the Final Mile Club podcast, and the York Year of the Arts, among others. Her exceptional leadership skills and commitment to nurturing emerging talent have resulted in the development of a vibrant and inclusive community of students, faculty, and staff. Recognized as a staunch advocate for the arts, Sarah actively cultivates partnerships and initiatives that bridge academia and industry, emphasizing the societal importance of artistic expression.
With a robust academic background and an extensive research portfolio, Sarah’s expertise lies in the intersections of technology, media, and performance. Her work has garnered international recognition in the areas of theatre, performance, and media. Her publications include the books Performance and Media: Taxonomies for a Changing Field (2015), Mapping Intermediality in Performance (2010), Poets at Play: An Anthology of Modernist Drama (2010) and Mama Dada: Gertrude Stein’s Avant-Garde Drama (2004) as well as articles, essays, and invited lectures. Prior to coming to York, she was a Fulbright Visiting Senior Scholar in Media and Cultural Studies at Utrecht University in the Netherlands (2015) and the founding director of the Technē Institute for the Arts and Emerging Technologies at the University at Buffalo (2012-2015). In 2016, she co-founded the podcast On TAP: A Theatre and Performance Studies podcast, sponsored by the Department of Theatre at York Unviersity. Sarah has also worked as a director and dramaturg with particular interest in intermedial collaborations and a fondness for puppetry. More information: https://sarahbaycheng.net
Laura Levin is Associate Professor of Theatre & Performance Studies and Associate Dean, Research in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design.
She teaches courses on contemporary theatre and performance art, devised theatre, and practice-based research. Her research focuses on site-specific, immersive, and urban intervention performance; performing gender and sexuality; activist and political performance; performance, human rights, and environmental justice; intermedial and digital performance; research-creation methodologies; and performance theory. She is Associate Editor of Canadian Theatre Review (former Editor-in-Chief) and Co-Editor of Performance Studies in Canada (with Marlis Schweitzer)—winner of the Canadian Association for Theatre Research’s (CATR) 2018 Patrick O’Neill Award for Best Edited Collection. She is Editor of Theatre and Performance in Toronto and Conversations Across Borders, a collection of dialogues on performance, politics, and border culture with performance artist Guillermo Gómez-Peña. Laura has also edited special issues of journals on a wide range of topics: performance art, performing politicians, performance and space, digital performance, performing publics, choreographies of public assembly, and more. She is author of Performing Ground: Space, Camouflage, and the Art of Blending In, winner of the CATR’s 2015 Ann Saddlemyer Award for best book in English or French, and currently writing a book on performance and political culture in Canada.
Laura has worked as a director, dramaturg, and performer on a number of performances in North America and co-curated research-creation projects that investigate intersections of art, geography, archives, and digital technologies. Examples include staging performance art works at international festivals (e.g. TALIXMXN with Jess Dobkin at the Encuentro Performance Festival in Mexico City, 2019), art installations at museums (e.g. MetroARCADE at the Bata Shoe Museum, co-curated with Shauna Janssen, Stephen Lawson, and Aaron Pollard, 2016), and activist performance interventions with the feminist art collective, the Queen’s Beavers (with Kim McLeod and Helene Vosters). She is currently serving as dramaturg for Jess Dobkin’s Wetrospective, a performance art exhibition slated to open in fall 2020 at the Art Gallery of York University.
Laura is Principal Investigator for Hemispheric Encounters: Developing Transborder Research-Creation Practices (2020-2027 SSHRC Partnership Grant), a project that brings together a group of universities, community organizations, artists, and activists across Canada, the US, and Latin America to study “hemispheric performance” as a research-creation methodology, a pedagogical strategy, and a tool for social change. This work builds on earlier SSHRC-funded research conducted by the Canadian Consortium on Performance and Politics in the Americas for which she served as Co-Investigator (PI Peter Kulchyski), a research initiative that assembled Canadian researchers studying political performance and linked them to the activities of NYU’s Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics. Laura is also co-curator, with Marlis Schweitzer, of the Performance Studies (Canada) Speaker Series, which emerged out of the SSHRC-funded Performance Studies (Canada) Project, an ongoing collaborative study that seeks to explore how cultural conditions have produced alternative articulations of “performance” in Canadian contexts.
Professor Sarah Parsons teaches courses in the history and theory of photography, modern art, Canadian art, and art crime.
My research focuses on the history and theory of photography. With Professor Sarah Bassnett (Western University) I co-authored a survey of photography in Canada which will be published by the Art Canada Institute in spring 2023. My current research project, “Feeling Exposed: Photography, Privacy, and Visibility in Nineteenth-Century North America,” is funded by a SSHRC Insight Grant (2019 – 2024). This project examines how early photography shaped ideas about privacy, from the earliest observations about photography’s surveillance possibilities to its pivotal role in shaping the “right to privacy.” The first component of the research is an online project for the McCord Museum in Montreal co-authored with former AHVC PhD student, Vanessa Nicholas in 2022 (https://www.musee-mccord.qc.ca/en/blog/welcome-to-the-studio/). The project will culminate in a scholarly book and an exhibition at The Image Centre at Toronto Metropolitan University in 2024.
From 2016-2018, I was part of the steering committee of a large-scale collaborative SSHRC-funded research project, The Family Camera Network (familycameranetwork.org). The project explored the relationship of photography to the idea of family, whether of origin or choice, and generated an international conference, two special journal issues, and two collections of photographs and oral histories stored at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archive and the Royal Ontario Museum.
My teaching is informed by this current research as well as earlier work in historical and modern art. As the recipient of a research fellowship in the Prints and Drawings Department at the Art Gallery of Ontario, I researched the provenance of the drawing collection to ensure compliance with the Task Force Report on the Spoliation of Art during the Nazi/WWII era. Later, I served as a research consultant for the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in their legal proceedings with the Beaverbrook Foundation. This research informed the creation of one of the first university-level courses on art crime.
I am a co-editor of the scholarly journal, Photography and Culture (Taylor & Francis) and was the 2015/16 Massey York Fellowship at Massey College. I received York’s University–Wide Teaching Award for junior faculty in 2003 and have twice served as Chair of Visual Art and Art History and as Graduate Program Director for Art History and Visual Culture.