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Creative Responses to Crisis – Innovating, Experimenting, Imagining

March 18, 2021

The Interdisciplinary Dialogue is an annual campus-wide teaching and learning project that invites students, faculty, staff and the public to explore social justice issues together across the Winter term. This year, the project topic is COVID-19’s Calls to Reimagine Relations. Our third and final educational forum will explore different approaches to and experiences of creating during times of crisis.

This forum is a collaboration with MacEwan’s Ukrainian Resource and Development Centre (URDC) and the Faculty of Fine Arts and Communications.


Featured speakers:

  • Dr. Christina Battle
    (Disaster as Framework for Social Change)

  • Fernando Villa Proal
    (Imagining Theatrical Practice in Confinement)

  • Dr. Joanne Lemieux
    (Discovering Anti-COVID Drugs)

  • Oksana Zhelisko and Theodora Harasymiw
    (Creating during COVID-19) 

MacEwan moderators: 

  • Dr. Erin Cowling (Spanish)

  • Dr. Heather Fitzsimmons Frey (Arts and Cultural Management)



Dr. Christina Battle

Christina BattleDr. Christina Battle’s (Amiskwacîwâskahikan / Edmonton) artistic practice and research imagine how disaster could be utilized as a tactic for social change and as a tool for reimagining how dominant systems might radically shift. This work and research are situated around her recently completed PhD dissertation: Disaster as a Framework for Social Change: Searching for new patterns across plant ecology and online networks (2020).



Dr. Joanne Lemieux

Joanne LemieuxDr. Joanne Lemieux obtained her BSc in Biochemistry and MSc in Biochemistry/Neuroscience at Dalhousie University (Canada). She completed her PhD at New York University (USA). She joined the University of Alberta in 2002 as a postdoctoral fellow with a research focus on structural studies of proteases. In 2007 was hired as an Assistant Professor at the University of Alberta. She is currently a Full Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Alberta, and leads a multidisciplinary research program focused on enzyme structure and function. She is also the Director of the Membrane Protein Disease Research group, a team of research labs focused on studying proteins in disease and health.

Dr. Lemieux’s research interests focus on molecular studies of proteins. Her work includes research towards the development of antiviral therapeutics against Coronavirus infections. Working with an Interdisciplinary team, her recent protease inhibitor research is currently being explored for use in clinical trials to treat COVID19. With their roles in human health and disease, these studies will have direct outcomes to human health.


Fernando Villa Proal

Fernando Villa ProalFernando Villa Proal is an actor, director and learning process facilitator. He is the Artistic Director in the Festival International de Teatro Clasico, MX (International Festival of Classical Theatre, MX); a founding member of the theatre company EFE TRES TEATRO; an instructor with Theatre Studies at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM); and a member of Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, NYC.

As an actor, Proal has participated in over 30 plays, acting on the most prestigious stages of México as well as along with stages in Buenos Aires, Madrid, Mallorca, Frankfurt, Mühlberg, New York, and Los Angeles. He co-directed with Fernando Memije El Merolico: Entremeses Bululuados, adapted from Cervantes interludes, and Lope de Vega’s El Principe Ynocente. Proal theatrically adapted and directed the children’s show The Lost String Quartet in collaboration with the string quartet, Momenta Quartet, in New York, USA. In 2012, he was invited to direct the musical ¿Y quién es ese señor ...? based on songs from Cri-Cri. He also co-directed and co-produced the Festival Internacional de Impro en México (FIIMEX) and directed the American Dream by Edward Albee thanks to the UNAM and the program “Manos a la Obra para jóvenes directores” (Hands-on for young directors). (With thanks to Ana Karen Rodas Garza for translating this speaker biography.)


Oksana Zhelisko

Oksana ZheliskoClassically trained in Eastern Europe, Oksana began her art career in L’viv, Ukraine. Oksana studied at the Ivan Trush College of Decorative Arts. She chose to make painting, especially of murals, her specialty. In 2001, she held her first solo exhibition at the L’viv University of Ivan Franko. Oksana brings her training, skill, and passion to her painting, and she is versatile in expressive styles. She is adept at many genres, including portraiture, still life, and landscape.



Theodora Harasymiw

TheodoraTheodora Harasymiw is best known for her large murals which are found all over Edmonton. They are colourful, graphic, and often whimsical. Theodora works both in mosaic and with paint and each medium allows her to express herself differently. Mosaic allows her to play with many types of materials, adhesives, and tools. Constructing mosaics is all about the material and trying to figure out how to make all these pieces work together as a whole.  Many sources inspire Theodora’s work—the fantastic works of Gaudi in Spain, the textiles/patterns of Ukraine, and the brilliant colours of Latin America, just to name a few. Her career as an artist is punctuated with frequent travels abroad which nurture and inspire her work.

Theodora graduated from the University of Alberta in 1996 with a degree in Fine Arts, majoring in painting. Residing in Edmonton, she works as a visual artist and art educator. Working as an Artist in Residence for the last 20 years  has allowed her to facilitate the creation of over 85 murals in schools throughout Edmonton. Painting has been her focus for 25 years, but in the last 10 years she has also worked in the medium of mosaic. In 2007 she was given her first large mosaic commission at Father Michael Troy Junior High School. Other large mosaics followed and can be found at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, the Glenrose Hospital, Giovanni Caboto Park, the downtown Italian Centre, St. John’s Institute, and the Victoria School for the Arts, to name a few. These works help revitalize parts of Edmonton and bring art out into the public.


Meredith Bratland

Meredith BratlandGraphic Recorder
Meredith Bratland is a communications professional by day and a creative freelancer by night. She is a former student of Grant MacEwan and currently working at the University of Alberta Library. She dabbles in various creative pursuits from comics to podcasting, linocut to watercolours, and now live sketchnoting. She is a snack connoisseur and promoter of curiosity. Her website is





Register to attend


Interdisciplinary Dialogue Project

Faculty of Fine Arts and Communications

Ukrainian Resource and Development Centre

Event Details

Date March 18, 2021
Start Time 5:00 p.m.
End Time 6:30 p.m.
Location Online
Event Type Lecture/speaker/presentation
Contact Person Larisa Hayduk
Contact Phone 780-497-4373
Contact Email
Event Website Visit Site