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Summer 2008: Undergraduate Research Assistant (Summer Institute)

University of Guelph

Hi, I'm a fourth-year english student and assistant coordinator of the 2008 Summer Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation.

I suppose my connection to this project comes from seeing improvisation as grassroots community forming together to create anti-oppressive spaces for art, activism, and dissent. I've worked in a variety of community kitchens and food banks throughout Kitchener, Waterloo, and Guelph, and have coordinated classes for the Guelph Free School as well as facilitating Feminism is For Everybody, a group centered on discussion and direct action for gender equality-based social change. I've travelled to Maine and worked with political art group The Beehive Collective and played a major role in organizing the Guelph Community Health Convergence, a weekend long forum about community-based support networks for mental, physical, and sexual health in Ontario. I was one of the writers and performers in the political drama Haiti Held Hostage, which performed at the University of Windsor Media and Propaganda Conference alongside the likes of the stupendous Amy Goodman of Democracy Now and Noam Chomsky. I maintain several guerrilla gardens in Guelph with the Burdock Collective, a radical environmental justice group centered in Guelph, and have been lucky enough to participate in many amazing anti-poverty and Six Nations Solidarity actions and protests. Oh yeah, I also volunteer with Out on the Shelf as an ally.

In my spare time I like biking, blogging, falafel, hitchhiking,
cutoff shirts, fruit juice, DJing, zines, and probably you!

Improvisation is, simply put, being and living this very moment. No one can hide in music, and improvising in music is to be truly in this very moment and being completely yourself, with all your qualities and faults. It is probably the most honest state for a human being to be in.

– John McLaughlin in an interview with Daniel Fischlin.