Fiana Kawane

Minor avant-garde poetry in North America
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

Pursuing a doctoral degree in English allows me to continue working, researching, and writing in areas that matter deeply to me at UBC. I am full of gratitude to be learning as an uninvited guest on traditional, ancestral, and unceded lands of the xwməθkwəy̓ əm, Skwxwú7mesh, Stó:lō, and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh Nations.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

The University of British Columbia was best suited for my research as a public research university in North America with its transnational and interdisciplinary outlook.

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

The research expertise of professors in affect theory, anticolonial writing, and modernist studies drew me to UBC English. The close links of UBC's Department of English to the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice (GRSJ) and Science and Technology Studies (STS) laid the foundation for interdisciplinary threads to emerge in my research.

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

I was told that it rains incessantly and I should be prepared for gloomy weather. To my surprise, it's not that bad. I've come to love hiking and kayaking with my friends.

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

I appreciate and respect the many forms and pathways of learning inside and outside of university systems. Many people, near and far, have been incredibly supportive of my desire to pursue doctoral studies. With gratitude to my professors, my prior academic experiences provided me with the foundation and critical vocabularies that opened up research directions to pursue at UBC.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

Every process of gaining an education is personal, especially a research degree, so take any advice with a grain of salt. Nevertheless, there are some elements that are transpersonal to be able to moderately thrive in university. Ask questions, allow yourself the time to learn, and think of every cul-de-sac as an opportunity to grow. Talk to other graduate students, don't be afraid to make mistakes, and advocate for your wellbeing.

Outside of your academic work, what are the ways that you engage with your local or global community? Are there projects in particular that you are proud of?

As a performing artist trained in Kathak, a syncretic Indian classical dance form, I love collaborating with artists through choreography and musical composition. I look forward to more such engagements in the future. A project that I am proud of is Nritya-Vandan, an hour-length Kathak production that premiered in Tokyo in 2016. 


Planning to do a research degree? Use our expert search to find a potential supervisor!