Eury's research documents the various contributions that theatre artists of Asian descent have made to professional theatre in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto. By doing so, his work underscores the social importance of positive representations onstage and their impact on intercultural relationships. Eury will speak about his research on March 23 at the event Exploring Culture and Diversity.
My research project seeks to fill a critical gap in Canada's theatre history by analysing the work of Canadian theatre artists of Chinese and/or Japanese descent. A major component of my scholarly work entails a formal policy analysis. Beginning with The Massey Report of 1951, the federal Multiculturalism Policy of 1971, and policies which enabled the formation of Canada Council's Equity Office in 1991, I extend this research into the public domain by looking at current initiatives impacting the diverse, non-profit performing arts communities in three large Canadian cities: Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto. The second, and equally important, component of my research program will take the form of a qualitative content (performance) analysis, focusing on how Asian Canadian artists speak to issues such as belonging, identity politics, while simultaneously creating positive representations that impact intercultural relationships locally, nationally and abroad.
What does being a Public Scholar mean to you?
Public Scholarship embraces the cutting-edge of academia, in so far as interdisciplinary thinking, collaboration and social engagement are pressing issues in the field of higher education. To me, being a public scholar is about sharing knowledge and ideas and speaking widely across real or perceived borders and boundaries. The role of a public scholar feels natural to me since I am very much driven by people. Much of my work revolves around making meaning with the general public and theatre audiences.
In what ways do you think the PhD experience can be re-imagined with the Public Scholars Initiative?
The Public Scholars Initiative has the ability to re-imagine what kinds of knowledge are accepted and promoted in the University. By bringing together doctoral students from many areas and disciplines, the necessity of disciplinary walls, for example, will be tested or questioned. I look forward to meeting other public scholars and being encouraged into new ways of thinking and being. This initiative ensures that UBC scholars keep their feet planted on the ground, even as they look upwards and sky-high!
How do you envision connecting your PhD work with broader career possibilities?
Although my PhD work is directly connected to the professional theatre milieu, I look forward to an evolving career that spans the University, non-profit, and public sectors. I am also interested in small business and entrepreneurship, and think that my life-long training as an artist coupled with scholarly interests offers me unique skills that will prove invaluable as we address the needs of a complex world. I look forward to many surprises and unique challenges along the way.
How does your research engage with the larger community and social partners?
My theatre research is intrinsically linked to human relationships. As a public, social, and professional artistic practice and complex field of study, theatre is by default engaged with value-systems, politics of identity and representation. At its core, my research looks at how a particular cultural demographic (ie. Canadians of Asian descent) have found a meaningful voice within the performing arts, and how their work improves intercultural relationships through positive and progressive representation onstage.
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
I have always wanted to pursue a graduate degree, though I began working shortly after obtaining my first (bachelor's) degree. After many years in the non-profit sector, however, I desired an altogether different kind of challenge and knew that UBC would spur me into new ways of thinking and being in the world. My research is constantly informing my values as a human being, and role as an engaged citizen.
Why did you choose to come to British Columbia and study at UBC?
My family has a history with this University, and I am very attracted to the robust graduate community and critical, global outlook that UBC actively cultivates. Being born and raised in Vancouver, admittedly, I only had to look so far to find UBC Theatre, a hot-bed of creativity, both at the research and practice-based level.
To me, being a public scholar is about sharing knowledge and ideas and speaking widely across real or perceived borders and boundaries".