Joshua M Ferguson
Where and what is your current position?
I develop, produce and direct short and feature-length films with my partner, Florian Halbedl, under our Turbid Lake Pictures banner. I also freelance as a writer and some of my work has been featured in HuffPost, BuzzFeed and OUT Magazine.
Is your current career path as you originally intended?
Yes, my hybrid career path as a filmmaker, writer, and artist making a positive impact on society meets up with my initial intentions.
How does this job relate to your graduate degree?
My education has, in part, allowed me to realize who I am as a non-binary trans person, but it also opens a space for critical thinking that complicates and sets me off on a path of never-ending learning about my research interests in relation to my identity. I am my most important research interest and I think that this type of feminist positionality or what can be best understood as an empathic feminist fusing of the self as a text in uniting forces with the texts that compose our areas of research enable a disruptive force against grand narratives that constrain diversity. My research at UBC enriched who I am, the art that I create as a filmmaker and the words that I continue to write in the activist interventions that I make both on the page and on-the-screen.
What motivated you to pursue graduate work at UBC?
I moved to Vancouver from Ontario to live in a city with a stable film industry while doing my the M.A. in the Department of Theatre and Film. UBC was my top choice for my M.A. program because I wanted to be close to the creative energy of the industry while embarking on my theoretical journey with graduate work.
What are key things you did that contributed to your success?
I think it's important to realize that embarking on an MA or PhD program (especially the latter), requires a collaborative effort. You are in charge of your research, but it's crucial to work well with your committee. In particular, I invested time into my professional relationship with my supervisor and this makes such a difference in the process. Your supervisor is one of the keys to your success. A good mentor, like mine, can enrich your work, be supportive in the process and help to guide your committee. I was grateful to have key mentors throughout my academic work, so I would encourage others to understand how these relationships can contribute to overall success.
What is your best piece of advice for current graduate students preparing for their future careers?
In my Ph.D. work, I realized that my research area was beginning to parallel my process of exploring my non-binary trans subjectivity. I knew that pursuing a Ph.D. would provide me with the necessary time and the tools to think out my complex trans identity and to finally be free within and without my own skin. I reflect on these early times, particularly in the first year of my program, and I now realize that academia can be a process of multifaceted learning. I would encourage a potential applicant and/or a new grad student to consider how their own research interests relate to your identity - how you can learn more about yourself in the process of learning within your discipline(s).
How are jobs normally posted and filled in your organization or industry?
There are a few public forums where people can find employment in Vancouver's film industry. We often find people to work with on our projects from our experiences on set.
What do you like and what do you find challenging about your current position?
The constant shifting nature of the film industry is exciting. Each experience on a film project is unique because the cast, crews and narratives are never the exact same. I find that this change is a challenge, but also a gift as it enriches learning.