Graduate Studies Students at ECU

How grad students are helping shape ECU programs + the future of their communities

The ECU Faculty of Graduate Studies emphasizes opportunities for synergy and collaboration between students, faculty, and research labs. Our practice-based graduate programs support a range of critical methods and approaches founded in creative inquiry, crucial for addressing pressing social and environmental concerns from the local to the global.

Our graduate studies students assist and contribute to leading-edge projects which are helping to shape public discourse, and articulate a future defined by equitability, creativity and social responsibility.

Below are some of the projects our students have been involved in.

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Leaning Out of Windows | Art and Physics Collaborations through Aesthetic Transformations

A host of grad students have contributed as artists, researchers and facilitators to this four-year SSHRCC-funded interdisciplinary art and science project, led by faculty members Ingrid Koenig and Randy Lee Cutler. The Leaning Out of Windows project involves artists, scholars, researchers, and physicists from the TRIUMF Centre co-designing, curating, testing, and analyzing models of collaboration for art and science.

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Shifting Ground | Mapping Energy, Community and Geography in the North

An important element of the SSHRCC-funded Shifting Ground project is the mentorship of students, who will earn valuable experience as research assistants. The project, led by faculty member Ruth Beer, brings together a team of accomplished and emerging Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers, artists, curators and writers to work with local artists and community partners in Finland, Alaska and the Yukon with the aim of broadening conversations around resource extraction, energy transition, environmental and social change in rural and remote regions.

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Wild Empathy | Using Immersive Art to Raise Awareness of the Value of Ancient Trees

Grad students contributed as research assistants to this extraordinary, SSHRCC-funded project, which uses immersive and mixed media art to transport participants from the city into an old-growth forest. Led by faculty members Julie Andreyev and Maria Lantin, Wild Empathy is grounded in recent research from Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, which found that people can develop empathy for plant and animal species through VR environments. The project aims to encourage conservation by building empathy for BC's unique forest ecosystems.

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360 Riot Walk | An Immersive Journey Into the Dark Legacy of Downtown Vancouver

Grad student Adiba Muzaffar contributed to faculty member Henry Tsang's immersive walking tour of neighbourhoods in and around Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. The ongoing project harnesses enhanced-reality technology to provide a fresh window onto those processes by which civic policy shapes landscapes and cityscapes, and by which the built environment — and the places present or absent therein — reveal a city's past (and, in this case, the efforts of lawmakers to control and marginalize communities).

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Designing for Public Space | Seeking Innovative Solutions to Real-World Matters Situated in Shared Spaces

Grad students contributed as research assistants to development of a series of human-scale interventions for spaces around Emily Carr’s campus on Great Northern Way as part of this project, led by faculty members Charlotte Falk and Laura Kozak. The interventions were designed to encourage passers-by to engage with the public spaces through which they traveled, and to provide opportunities for creative reflection and interaction with facets of the landscape which might otherwise go unnoticed.

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Activating Outdoor Spaces | Empowering Children with Learning Differences

Grad students have contributed via research assistance and material development to this evolving partnership between ECU and Kenneth Gordon Maplewood School, an alternative elementary school in North Vancouver. The program pairs university and elementary students to co-create tools for learning and play. University students learn transferable skills for their future careers in design and get to tackle real-world design problems, while the younger students see benefits in the form of self-esteem, creativity and the opportunity to share ideas and lead projects without oversight from teachers.