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Principal Investigators

Catherine Graham

Catherine Graham is an Associate Professor of Theatre & Film Studies in the McMaster University School of the Arts and is also associated with graduate programs in Gender Studies and Feminist Research and in Cultural Studies and Critical Theory. Catherine’s teaching and research focus on better understanding how performance creation can function not just as a means of expressing things we already know, but as a way of developing new knowledge that values both “knowing how” and “knowing that” in discussions of social change. She is particularly concerned with the ways theatre workshops can help bring new voices in public discussion by focuses on ways people are excluded not because of what they say but because of how they say it. Combining over 30 years of experience using feminist and queer theory, performance theory, and cross-cultural performance critique to create and analyze theatre for social change, Catherine has developed the workshop techniques that are at the heart of the Transforming Stories, Driving Change process.

Catherine Graham

Catherine Graham

Associate Professor of Theatre & Film Studies | School of the Arts

Chris Sinding

Chris Sinding is A Professor at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, jointly appointed to the School of Social Work and the Department of Health, Aging and Society. A major focus of Chris's teaching and research has to do with the arts - how social work teachers, researchers and practitioners can draw on the arts to achieve insight, engagement, and social justice goals. Drawing on a number of research-based drama projects she has written about the significance of arts practices as knowledge generation; described what it means for social science researchers to work collaboratively with artists and to create research representations that are genuinely accessible and engaging to lay people; and considered the effects of arts-based knowledge exchange initiatives on care providers (particularly the less obvious and less measurable 'outcomes'). She is especially interested in how art might serve as intervention in the narrowing and erasure of critical practices of care. 

Co-investigators

Katherine Kalinowski

Katherine Kalinowski is the Assistant Executive Director at Good Shepherd Hamilton. Her caring and dedicated advocacy for those who are often found in the margins has helped shape the face of Hamilton’s social services and transformed emergency housing. Building a city that includes, supports and assists all of its citizens is Katherine’s life work and lasting legacy.

Contact: kkalinowski@gsch.ca

Katherine Kalinowski

Katherine Kalinowski

Assistant Executive Director at Good Shepherd Hamilton

Patti McNaney

Patti McNaney is the Associate Executive Director at the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton. Her work focuses on project development and management in the areas of the healthy development of children and youth and housing and homelessness. Patti holds an appointment as an Adjunct Lecturer in the School of Social Work at McMaster and actively participates in their field instruction program.

Contact: pmcnaney@sprc.hamilton.on.ca

Elysée Nouvet

Elysée Nouvet is an Assistant Professor in Global Health at Western University in London, Ontario. Trained as a cultural and medical anthropologist, her research explores how cultural norms, values, and power relations shape representations of and responses to disease and suffering.

Contact: enouvet@uwo.ca

Jennie Vengris

Jennie Vengris is an instructor in McMaster’s School of Social Work. Jennie’s research experience and interests revolve primarily around housing and homelessness – especially the complex intersection of personal and structural risk and protective factors in individuals’ and communities experiences’ of homelessness. As the newest member of the School of Social Work’s Field Education team, she is developing opportunities for undergraduate students in the areas of community development, community-based research, social justice, and grassroots advocacy.

Jennie Vengris


Instructor and Field Education Development

Sarah Glen

Sarah Glen is the Manager of Community Initiatives at the Hamilton Community Foundation.

Contact: s.glen@hamiltoncommunityfoundation.ca

Postdoctoral Fellow and Project Coordinator

J. Adam Perry

J. Adam Perry obtained his Ph.D. at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto (OISE/UT), where he utilized a participatory and performance-oriented research methodology with migrant farm workers to explore social problems emerging from policies and practices related to state-managed labour migration in Ontario’s agricultural industry. He is also an active community-based theatre artist and has been the co-artistic director of Toronto’s In Forma Theatre since 2007.

J. Adam Perry


Postdoctoral Fellow and Project Coordinator

Production Coordinators

Melanie Skene

Melanie Skene is an artist and puppeteer who creates and performs with puppets and masks that are frequently seen in various parades, marches, festivals and theatrical productions throughout Hamilton. In 2010, she founded Many Hands Art, a community arts organization through which she created a community-based annual summer solstice festival in downtown Hamilton. Much of her art has been aimed at exploring issues of environmental and social justice with the goal of helping citizens engage with their environment through art, creativity and celebration. Since 2014, she has been lending her artistic skills to Transforming Stories, Driving Change. She has an Honours BA from McMaster University in Peace Studies and Religious Studies and received her Masters of Environmental Studies from York University.

Research Assistants

Lori Chambers

Lori Chambers is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Social Work. She received her B.S.W. from York University and her M.S.W. from the University of Toronto. In 2016, Lori was awarded the Ontario Women’s Health Scholars Award. She was a recipient of the Vanier Canada Graduate scholarship in 2013 and the Harry Lyman Hooker Senior Fellowship in 2012.

Community Support

Cassandra Roach

Cassandra Roach is an adult educator and community development worker living and working in the Hamilton community. For the past 5 years she has created and facilitated workshops with populations on the margins utilizing popular education methodologies. She seeks to empower participants to actively  work for change leading to greater community capacity. Most recently she was the Program Coordinator for The [Dis]placement Project providing tools for tenant rights training for service providers and community leaders. 

Cassandra Roach

Cassandra Roach

Adult Educator and Community Development Worker