Cease Wyss 

Indigenous Plant Diva, wild tea crafter, artist

T'uy't'tanat-Cease Wyss is an indigenous plant educator and interdisciplinary artist. She is Skwxwu7mesh, Sto:lo, Metis, Hawaiian and Swiss. She has lived a rich cultural life in her traditional lands and waters, working, learning, teaching, living, gathering medicines, creating art, building communities and striving towards cultural minded living. Cease works in media and plant technologies. She loves to find ways to weave these elements together. Recently Cease hired a mentor to teach her traditional Coast Salish weaving styles in Cedar and Wool. Her grandmother was a weaver and her earliest memories are witnessing the creative process of ancient weaving techniques and the beauty of traditional cultural knowledge transfer. Cease is a beekeeper and a community gardener. She stays connected to the spirits through touching the earth and protecting species at risk.

Cecily Nicholson


2017 Ellen and Warren Tallman Writer in Residence at Simon Fraser University, Cecily Nicholson is the administrator of the artist-run centre Gallery Gachet and has worked since 2000 in the downtown eastside neighbourhood of Vancouver, on Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh territories. She belongs to the Joint Effort prison abolitionist group and is a member of the Research Ethics Board for Emily Carr University. Cecily is the author of Triage and From the Poplars, winner of the 2015 Dorothy Livesay prize for poetry.

Celine Hong

Emily Carr student, designer, curious human

Studying at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Celine Hong is in the third year of her industrial design bachelor’s degree. With a background in athletics, she is a rowing coach at University of British Columbia for the John MS Lecky Boathouse community programs. She has done design work as a Research Assistant for the Emily Carr Health Design Lab, collaborating with partners like the BC Ministry of Health, the Provincial Health Services Authority, and the Canadian Produce Marketing Association. She participated in Emily Carr’s Liminal Labs at the Triennale di Milano, and their explorations into relocation and collaboration. Celine is currently working on a concept for redesigning the city of Vancouver's transportation system for 2035, basing the entire downtown core on human-powered mobility and refining ideas around rail systems using pedal powered pods.

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Chris Jones

Philosophy, photography

Chris Jones' PhD research at University of Westminster, London theorized the experience of new media in art. His interests extend from the histories of the image as an aesthetic and political discourse. He writes and lectures on the concept of methodology in art as a step toward a non-disciplinary epistemology that recognizes art knowledge. Chris’ art practice is rooted in photography. Addressing the medium as a primary form of technical image-making, he explores its inherent questions about time and space by composing performative lectures that guide audiences through a sequence of “deep-res” pictures. Vignettes of video, music, and spoken word are combined in a narrative form that appeals to poem, essay, and film. His work has been exhibited internationally. He led the development of the Low Residency graduate program at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, and is now Director of Graduate Studies.

Christine Schreyer

Linguistic anthropology

Christine Schreyer is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan campus, where she teaches a range of courses in linguistic anthropology. Her research focuses on language revitalization and documentation, in Canada and in Papua New Guinea, as well as the relationship between endangered language communities and created language communities. She has conducted research with the Na’vi speech community (from the movie Avatar) and she is the creator of the Kryptonian language from Man of Steel (2013). Recently, she was co-producer of the documentary film Kala Language Project: Kala Walo Nuã about her community-based work with Kala speakers. She is also an executive producer for the documentary film Conlanging: The Art of Crafting Tongues, which will be completed in 2016.

Eric Merkley

Public opinion, political psychology, media and politics, U.S. and Canadian elections

Eric Merkley is a Ph.D. candidate at UBC’s Department of Political Science and a Joseph-Armand Bombardier Scholar. His research focuses on how citizens make judgments on public policy in the context of limited information and motivation. His recent ongoing projects explore why American voters polarized on climate change, and more broadly on the conditions under which public preferences may diverge from expert opinion, such as on free trade, and genetically modified foods. Eric has provided expert commentary on U.S. elections, polling and public opinion, and campaign strategy for outlets such as the CBC, Breakfast Television, Roundhouse Radio, and News 1130. He has also recently worked as a Research Associate at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, specializing in agriculture policy. Eric holds a Master of Arts degree in Political Science and Social Statistics from McGill University.


Jason Holt

Theoretical nuclear physicist, TRIUMF

Dr. Jason Holt is interested in slowly unraveling how the universe works and expanding the limits of human knowledge. A theoretical nuclear physicist, his work expands our understanding of the heart of matter: the nucleus of the atom. From the origin of the elements to the lifecycles of stars to the secrets of dark matter, the inner-workings of the atomic nucleus are intertwined with some of the most fascinating mysteries in our universe. An expert in the nuclear many-body problem, nuclear forces, and exotic nuclei at the limits of existence, Holt is a Research Scientist at TRIUMF – Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics and accelerator-based science. A world-leading scientific institution, TRIUMF is a multidisciplinary hub for the advancement of compelling research, ideas and innovations that benefit humanity. Holt received his PhD in physics from Stony Brook University and has held postdoctoral positions at TRIUMF, Tennessee University, and TU Darmstadt.

Jessa Alston-O'Connor

Arts educator, writer and critic

Jessa Alston-O’Connor holds a Masters in Art History from Concordia University with a concentration in Asian Canadian Art, Identity and Food Culture in Contemporary Art. Over the past ten years she has taught Art History at the University of Saskatchewan, and worked in public art galleries and collective run art spaces across Canada, developing and delivering programs for meaningful connections between art and diverse publics. She is an educator in Public Programs at the Vancouver Art Gallery and instructor at Emily Carr University of Art and Design.

Lucinda McGroarty

Designer, storyteller, healthcare advocate

Lucinda McGroarty became interested in the profound impact of storytelling during her studies at the Ryerson School of Interior Design. Shortly after, she entered the Master of Design program at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, where she was then able to put this interest into practice. Her thesis proposed the use of storytelling as a perception-shifting vehicle aimed at solving the ‘type 1 diabetes burnout’ problem faced by many of those who live with this chronic disease, including herself. Lucinda continues to focus her energies on both design and healthcare, as she is engaged in healthcare system reform under the direction of the East Toronto Sub-Region. Alongside this full-time career, she will be returning to Ryerson as a lecturer of design theory.

Marcus Johnson

Entrepreneur, JD/MBA, jazz pianist, wine expert, author, philanthropist, educator

Top 20 Billboard-ranked and NAACP Image Award-nominated Jazz pianist Marcus Johnson is Founder and CEO of FLO Brands/FLO Wine, which made USA TODAY's 10 best celebrity wines list. FLO houses several ventures including FLO Wine, which is retailed through Costco, Wal-Mart, Target, Whole Foods, Giant, and others. Previously, Marcus and Black Entertainment Television (BET) founder Robert L. Johnson formed Marimelj Entertainment Group/Three Keys Music, releasing albums by Marcus and other jazz artists. Since then he forefronts the smooth/contemporary jazz movement. He believes in self-empowerment and community development, and is involved with the Boys and Girls Club, Greater Washington Urban League, and others. Marcus has taught business-related courses at several universities. He was also named Entrepreneur of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration. His first book, For the Love Of... (Mascot Books), a collection of essays on quality of life, will be published in early 2017.

Maria Lantin

Computer science, developer, research director, educator

Granted her PhD in Computer Science by Simon Fraser University, Maria Lantin’s doctoral focus was biological visualization, particularly the development of plants at the cellular level. Her research led to the production of an extensive software project used by biologists to conduct virtual experiments with results published in Annals of Botany. Maria later served as assistant professor at TechBC, senior researcher at Mainframe Entertainment developing 3D-stereo projection software for IMAX screens, and research director at award winning IDELIX Software Inc., one of the few successful visualization companies. Lantin led Banff Centre’s Visualization Lab for 3 years and now directs Intersections Digital Studio where she helps create an inspiring and welcoming environment for interdisciplinary research at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. She also continues her collaborative visualization practice in the domains of quantum information science, human conversation and virtual reality.