Rebecca Caines:

Dr. Rebecca Caines (Director of RISC) is an award-winning interdisciplinary artist and scholar. Her artistic practice, teaching and research work crosses between creative technologies (including sound art, new media, and augmentation), contemporary performance and improvisation, site-specific art practices, and community-engaged art. She is currently playing a lead role in developing the new Creative Technologies area at the University of Regina, which is an exciting initiative crossing between Media,Art,and Performance; Computer Science; and Engineering. She is a co-applicant on the 2.5 million dollar SSHRC funded partnership The International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (IICSI). Her recent practice-based research projects include Community Sound [e]Scapes: Northern Ontario, a collaborative sound art, video and new media project in remote First Nations communities (with K-Net Services and Ed Video Media Arts); and The University of Regina iPad Orchestra, a creative project exploring improvised music with the iPad and other tablets and mobile devices (with David Gerhard, Helen Pridmore and Pauline Minevich). She has convened large-scale community projects in Australia, Northern Ireland and Canada, and serves on the board for Common Weal Community Arts, Knowhere Productions, and Holophon Audio Arts. She has published internationally, including a number of journal articles and book chapters and has just completed a co-edited book on improvisation entitled Spontaneous Acts: The Improvisation Studies Reader, with Ajay Heble for Routledge.

Charity Marsh:

Dr. Charity Marsh is Canada Research Chair in Interactive Media and Popular Music, Associate Professor, and Director of the Interactive Media and Performance (IMP) Labs in the Faculty of Media, Art, and Performance at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada. Marsh is also Adjunct Professor in Women’s and Gender Studies, as well as the Department of Computer Science. Dr. Marsh earned a BMUS in Musicology, Theory, and Performance (1996) as well as a Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in Women's Studies and a minor in German (1997) from the University of Ottawa. From York University she earned her MA (1998) in Women Studies problematizing the dynamic and contested relationship between nature and technology in Icelandic artist Björk's 1997 album Homogenic. In April 2005, Dr Marsh successfully defended her thesis entitled, "Raving Cyborgs, Queering Practices, and Discourses of Freedom: The Search for Meaning in Toronto's Rave Culture", completing her PhD requirements for the doctoral program in Popular Music Studies and Ethnomusicology at York University. In July 2007, Dr. Marsh was awarded the prestigious position of Canada Research Chair in Interactive Media and Performance. In the same year she received a Canadian Foundation for Innovation Grant and a Saskatchewan Fund for Innovation and Science grant to develop the Interactive Media and Performance (IMP) Labs. In July 2012 Dr. Marsh was awarded a second Canada Research Chair, this time in Interactive Media and Popular Music. In 2013 she also received a second Canada Foundation and Innovation grant to expand the IMP Labs to include the Centre for Indigenous Hip Hop Cultures and Community Research, as well as the Popular Music and Mobile Media Labs. Dr Marsh’s research areas include Indigenous Hip Hop Cultures; Popular Music in Canada; Electronic Dance Music Cultures; Interactive Media and Performance; Technology and Gender; Arts and Athleticism; Arts-Based Community Health. Marsh is the principal researcher for a number of community-based research projects which promote improvisation and collaboration, specifically on the major hip hop elements (rap, dj, break, and graffiti).

David Gerhard:

Dr. David Gerhard is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and an associate member in the Department of Music at the University of Regina. He is founder and director of the Rough Music and Audio Digital Interaction Lab (aRMADILo), which provides facilities to researchers and visiting artists focusing on usability and interaction with artistic pursuits. His research focuses on computational interaction with information-rich human data such as music, speech, vision and movement. This research combines signal processing, pattern classification, information retrieval and sensor-based physical computing techniques with multimedia, speech recognition, computer music and human-computer interaction.His work is often interdisciplinary, incorporating aspects of both technology and artistic expression. Gerhard's specific interest in improvisation stems from the computational modeling of uncertainty in performance, and the characteristics of a performance that distinguish between machine-generated art (specifically music) and human-generated art. Seeking to quantize intentionality, researchers have employed a kind of musical "Turing test" wherein machine-generated music and human-generated music are played in the same sitting and listeners are asked to differentiate. Differences between aesthetic content and information content relate back to Gerhard's early work in algorithmically differentiating between speaking and singing. While differences between information and aesthetics can be attributed to improvisation at a "micro" scale, Gerhard is also interested in quantifying improvisation at a "macro" scale in the context of capture and reproduction of musical performance.Commercial music consists of a single recording of a musical work,but concert performance of such work is routinely different from the recordings. Indeed, patrons are less inclined to attend a performance if the musicians do not add something of themselves to the performance. It is compelling to ask whether or not it would be possible to encode multiple performances, or features of performance variability, into a musical reproduction in such a way that each time it is played back a slightly different rendition is produced, giving a more variable and interesting experience. Gerhard is investigating file format representations that would make such a listening experience possible.

Kathleen Irwin:

Dr. Kathleen Irwin (Doctor of Arts, University of Helsinki) is a scenographer, writer and educator (Head of Theatre Department,University of Regina) whose practical and theoretical research focuses on site-specific, community-based and devised / improvised practices in “found space” circumstances. As co-artistic Director of Knowhere Productions Inc., she produces large-scale, site-specific performances in collaboration with Dr. Andrew Houston (University of Waterloo). Her work includes Windblown / Rafales (Ponteix SK, 2008), Crossfiring/ Mama Wetotan (Claybank Brick Plant National Historic Site, 2006),The Weyburn Project (Weyburn Mental Hospital, 2002),The Bus Project, (with Rachelle Viader Knowles, Regina and Saskatoon STC Bus Depots, 2006) and We – The City, (with Rory MacDonald, Anglican Archdiocese, Regina, 2005 ( In 2012, she designed the set for April Productions' The Penelopiad at the Pergatorio Festival in Tivat Montenegro. In 2013, she co-produced Play! with Jeff Morton, an interactive installation at the Dunlop Gallery, Regina Public Library. With Rachelle Viader Knowles, she has conceived of two pedagogical, web-based projects (Blur Street and Crossing Over), which have linked students at he University of Regina with students in Belgrade, Helsinki, Istanbul, Utrecht and Toronto. These projects investigate notions of migration, mobility and cosmopolitanism – the responsibility that we owe to strangers in a globalized and networked society ( ; She presents regularly at international conferences (Performance Studies International, International Federation for Theatre Research,International Symposium for Electronic Art and the Canadian Association for Theatre Research). She publishes widely in Canadian and international journals and anthologies. Weyburn: the Archeology of Madness (Third Eye Media 2005), which documentedThe Weyburn Project, was broadcast frequently on CTV and Global Television networks. As Canadian Education Commissioner / OISTAT, she participated in Scenofest’s digital workshop program for the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space / 2011. In Prague, she was respondent to a keynote speech by Richard Sennett at the Performing Publics Symposium in the Architecture Pavilion at the PQ. Her publications include Sighting / Citing / Sighting (University of Regina Press, 2009) and The Ambit of Performativity (University of Art and Design Helsinki Press, 2007).Since 1980, she has had an active professional career designing professionally for theatre, opera, dance, performance, exhibitions, music video and film . She is the recipient of numerous awards from the Ontario Arts Council, Saskatchewan Arts Board, the British Council and the Canada Council - having twice been awarded the prestigious W.C. Watkins Grant for research in scenography. She currently teaches at the annual Aalto Summer Academy for Graduate Level Practice-based Research in Helsinki. In January 2014, she gave a key-note address to the Spacing Performance Symposium in Rome.

Sheila Petty:

Dr. Sheila Petty is professor of media studies at the University of Regina (Canada) and previous Dean of the Faculty of Media, Art, and Performance. She has written extensively on issues of cultural representation, identity and nation in African and African diasporic cinema and new media, and has curated film, television and new media exhibitions for galleries across Canada. Her current research focuses on interpretive strategies for analyzing digital creative cultural practices and real-time decisionmaking. She is author of Contact Zones: Memory, Origin and Discourses in Black Diasporic Cinema, Wayne State University Press, 2008. She is co-editor (with Blandine Stefanson) of the forthcoming World Directory of Cinema: Africa (Intellect Books). She is an adjunct scientist at TRLabs Regina and leader of an interdisciplinary research group and New Media Studio Laboratory spanning Computer Science, Engineering and Fine Arts.

Mia Perry:

Dr. Mia Perry is now based in the UK, but has strong links to Saskatchewan and Canadian theatre practice. Her scholarship and practice is positioned broadly in the intersections between performance, pedagogy, and philosophy. Drawing from this cross-disciplinarity her research and practice revolves around theatre and drama in education, community-engaged theatre, as well as performance studies, contemporary performance and cultural practices, and public pedagogy. Perry is particularly interested in the relationship between these fields; that is, the affordances and complexities of contemporary cultural practices in pedagogical and community-based contexts. Perry has been a theatre and drama scholar, practitioner, and educator for over 15 years. She has formerly studied and practiced at the Samuel Beckett Centre, University Trinity College Dublin; The Russian Academy of Theatre Arts in Moscow; the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, England; and The University of British Columbia. Perry has worked and taught in schools, theatres, and community contexts in Canada, Ireland, and Russia and is published in a variety ofacademic and trade journals Mia’s doctoral research project entitled,Theatre as a place of learning: The forces and affects of devised theatre processes in education,is a SSHRC funded and award winning study (CACS, 2011; CATR, 2011) that investigates the relationship between contemporary devising practices anddrama/theatre in educational contexts. Currently Perry is co-editing Methodologies of Embodiment:(In)scribing bodies in qualitative research in education and performing arts with Dr. Carmen Medina,and collaborating with a Vancouver-based theatre company, urban ink, on a national-touring hip-hop play and youth workshop project,Sal Capone: The lamentable tragedy of.

Helen Pridmore

Research interests
Vocal Performance; New Scored Music and Experimental Music, especially by Canadian composers;Improvisation; Extended Vocal Techniques; Interdisciplinary Studies and Projects
Dr. Helen Pridmore enjoys a career focused on contemporary scored music, experimental music and improvisation. She has performed across Canada and the USA as well as in Europe and Japan. Helen has performed with the voice/electronics duo Sbot N Wo, with the New Brunswick new music group Motion Ensemble, and as a guest with numerous other organizations, including Aventa Ensemble, the Five Penny New Music Festival in Sudbury, ON, New Music Edmonton, New Works Calgary, the Western Front in Vancouver, BC, Toronto’s Music Gallery, the Sound Symposium in Newfoundland, and more. She has adjudicated at music festivals and given workshops and master classes in Canada, the US and the UK.

Mark Campbell

Dr. Mark Campbell was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with ICASP at Guelph, and is now working with IICSI researcher Charity Marsh at the University of Regina.Between 2014 and 2017 his research on Improvisatory poetics will focus on hip hop cultures, digital cultures and Afrodiasporic arts, ranging from spoken word to truntablism. There are two interconnected research questions that ground his work; first, how might we imagine digital forms of improvisation as social interventions that rework relations of power, consumption and otherness? Secondly, his research interests will explore improvisatory artistic innovation amongst Afrodiasporic youth in Canada, in a variety of fields ranging from controllerism to theatre.

Kathryn Ricketts

Ricketts has been working for the past 35 years in the field of movement and visual arts, presenting throughout Europe, South America, Africa and Canada. Her work in schools, galleries and community centres focuses on social/political issues, using the languages of movement, creative writing and visual art. Her doctoral research furthered this into areas of literacy, embodiment and cultural studies with a method she has coined Embodied Poetic Narrative. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education in the University of Regina as the chair of the Dance area. She also also run The Listening Lab, a visual and performing arts ‘incubator’ exploring and generating new pedagogic strategies and languages with experimental arts practices. I am an artist/researcher in the SSHRC Partnership PPAR Cluster #4: Community Engagement, Equity and Impacts.

Michelle Stewart

Dr. Michelle Stewart is an Associate Professor in the Department of Justice Studies where she teaches in the area of social justice and research methods. She received her PhD in Anthropology from the University of California Davis in 2011 where she focused on political and legal anthropology. Her dissertation research explored contemporary policing practices in Canada with attention to programs and training that rely on collaborations between community, police and other agencies. She has had this work presented in articles in Contemporary Justice Review and M/C. She is currently revising this work into a book manuscript entitled Pedagogies of the State: Capture, Collaboration and Contestation in Late Neoliberalism.

Her current research expands on her interest in the anthropology of the state to include medical anthropology with attention to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) where she investigates how FASD is understood in particular communities of practice. The first phase of the project focused on the ways that police understant and mobilize understandings of FASD. The second phase of her research will turn attention to the ways in which advocates and mentors mobilize health information about FASD in various settings (including social services, criminal justice, health, education and community settings). Her research team has created a publicly-available resource page focused on disseminating research findings as well as FASD material for front-line workers with a peer-reviewed article forthcoming. Click here to view the FASD Research Project web page:

Michelle is the Director of the Community Research Unit. She is dedicated to community-engaged and publicly-available scholarship. For more information about the Community Research Unit please visit:

 Previous Researchers:

Dr. Jo Ann Episkenew:

1953-2016- Remembered and missed

B.A. (with distinction), Hons. Cert., M.A. (Regina), Ph.D. magna cum laude (Ernst-Moritz-Arndt University, Greifswald, Germany)

Professor of English (on leave), First Nations University of Canada

Jo-Ann was Director of the Indigenous Peoples’ Health Research Centre, a partnership between the University of Regina, University of Saskatchewan, and First Nations University. She was also Associate Faculty in Kinesiology and Health Studies at the University of Regina and in the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan. Her research interests included Indigenous Literature as applied literatures, narrative medicine, narrative policy studies, and trauma studies. She was an active researcher and Co-PI on several Operating Grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and NPI for a team recently awarded a Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation Health Research Group Grant for their research project Iyiniw-Iskâtisak Pamihisowak: Using Indigenous Knowledge for a Healthier Aboriginal Youth. Jo-Ann’s book Taking Back Our Spirits: Indigenous Literature, Public Policy, and Healing (2009) won the Saskatchewan Book Award for Scholarly Writing in 2009 and the First Peoples Writing Award in 2010. She was a member of the Boards of Directors of the Aboriginal Health Research Network, the Lung Association of Saskatchewan, and the Lung Health Institute of Canada. Jo-Ann was also a member of the Regina Riel Métis Council and lived in Regina with her husband Clayton and two of their many grandchildren.

 Pauline Minevich:

Pauline Minevich (retired) is a clarinetist and musicologist, with an M.Mus in clarinet performance and literature, and a Ph.D. in systematic musicology, both from the University of Western Ontario.Her current work explores improvisation and soundscapes. The Art of Immersive Soundscapes, edited by Minevich and Ellen Waterman, is in preparation with the University of Regina Press. As a performer,Minevich specializes in contemporary classical repertoire, with an emphasis on Canadian composers. She is currently the Assistant Principal Clarinet with the Regina Symphony Orchestra,and has taught at McMaster University, University of Western Ontario and Sir Wilfred Laurier University. Her chamber trio “Contrasts” with Edward Minevich, violin, and David McIntyre, piano, has released a number of CDs, and has toured nationally, and has also toured and recorded as a member of the Canadian Chamber Ensemble, winner of the Grand Prix de disque de Canada, 1985.The question of improvisation and the classically-trained performer is a difficult issue that involves considerable negotiation between composer and performer, and it is something she is interested in pursuing.