Panel Discussion: Difficult but Necessary Conversation

Online Event by Zoom; February 10, 2022 @ 7:30pm EST

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This panel explores themes of language and representation in media and art, and possible ways in which institutions can reflect systemic discrimination and engage in anti-oppression. Complex debates pertaining to language and art will be addressed, such as cultural appropriation; free speech and the stage; tokenistic or so-called “color-blind” casting”; and the history of racism, popular culture and theatre.


Matt Jones (he/him) is a writer, activist, teacher, and theatre creator living as an uninvited guest  in T’karonto, thetraditional territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples. He has published widely about the politics of war, terrorism, and racism in performance and is working on a book manuscript titled The Body at War, 2001-2016: Necro-Performance and the Global War on Terror. He has been involved in anti-war organizing for twenty years, most notably with the Montreal-based Collectif Échec à la guerre. He is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies and he teaches at the Creative School at X University. Please visit for more information.


Montréal-based novelist, poet, playwright and engineer, Rana Bose is a founding editor of Montréal Serai and was awarded the Judy Mappin Prize by the Quebec Writers Federation (QWF) for his commitment to bringing Montréal's English-language arts and culture to the world at large.

Katherine Zien is Associate Professor in the English Department at McGill University. Zien researches and teaches theatre and performance in the Americas, with special focus on transnationalism, social movements, and racialization. Following her 2017 book Sovereign Acts: Performing Race, Space, and Belonging in Panamaand the Canal Zone, Zien is currently working on two research projects, supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Insight Grant. These investigate, respectively, gender and sexuality activism in Latin America and the Caribbean, and performances of counterinsurgency during Latin America’s Cold War. Zien is also co-editor of the Routledge Cultures of the Global Cold War book series.

Nikki Shaffeeullah (she/her) is a director, writer, actor, facilitator, and activist who creates theatre, film, and poetry. Currently, Nikki is a curator with National Arts Centre – English Theatre, and a resident artist with Why Not Theatre. Past roles include artistic director of The AMY Project and editor-in-chief of magazine. Nikki believes art should disrupt the status quo, centre the margins, engage with the ancient, dream of the future, and be for everyone.


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