Lara Aysal

Bringing together Western and Indigenous ways of knowing through theatre for co-creation of knowledge on climate change adaptation strategies.

Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

Coming from a practice-based background and utilizing theatre for social transformation has transformed me, and I become more and more curious to learn how this happened. I became interested in exploring how dramatic arts could awaken hope and, more importantly, provide an opportunity to imagine, organize, and take action against unjust social, political, economic, and ecological issues.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

UBC offers a non-traditional environment that welcomes interdisciplinary approaches to research. I think the progressive atmosphere at UBC made me think that I would be welcome to explore my interests. When I started to live in Vancouver, I could trace UBC's existence in the social and political spirit of the city. This connectedness gave me a sense of community and made me think that UBC can open a window to further explore how meaningful action and research could be possible.

What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?

Interdisciplinary research is a path that invites various actors from society to contribute to understanding facts, co-creating knowledge, and take action for transformative futures. I believe my research resonates with ISGP due to its multi-layered structure of mixed methods and ambition to achieve a horizontal communication between disciplines and knowledge systems through arts.

What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?

The best surprise was the forest right in the city.

What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?

I collaborated and worked across borders with international theatre companies and facilitated projects in development and conflict settings with refugees, prisoners, minorities, and Indigenous communities. These experiences prepared me for my program.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

I try to see this process of my life as an adventure and enjoy it as much as I can.