Former Graduate Student


How do you know Emilia?

Portrait William MacGregor
Photo By @JLowphotography

I was introduced to Prof. Nielsen by a fellow graduate student while completing my MA at York University. At the time, I was developing the genesis of a performance-based research project that explored my personal experience with chronic illness, chronic pain, and disability. Emilia was friendly, helpful, and very generous with her time, giving me excellent advice on scholarly work to consult, important considerations to reflect on, as well as theoretical and practical artistic guidance.

I began work on this project a few months later, developing a documentary performance autoethnography based on my personal illness narrative, pulling from the fields of documentary theatre, the medical humanities, and performance autoethnography.

I asked Prof. Nielsen to come onboard the project as a second supervisor, and she agreed. This project marked the transition point between my MA research in Theatre and Performance Studies and into my current PhD studies in the Health Policy and Equity program at York University.

I credit Emilia with providing a model into how artistic work and personal narrative can be harnessed by researchers to create impactful scholarship that has real affective power.

– William macgregor

What have you been working on lately?

My doctoral research focuses on disability policy and its impact (for good or ill) on poverty among Persons with Disabilities in Canada. I have received a four-year SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship, beginning in September 2022, to support me with this project. The paper and play-text I wrote as part of my final MA research, with the guidance of Prof. Nielsen and other mentors, was the bridge between these two fields, and I credit Emilia with providing a model into how artistic work and personal narrative can be harnessed by researchers to create impactful scholarship that has real affective power. My ongoing goal is to conduct research and produce knowledge that emphasizes the human cost of inequitable political and policy systems, with the goal of moving my work out of the academy and into the broader social and political discourse, to promote policy reform grounded in principles of justice and equity.


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