Creative Cities: Cultural Growth in Complex Adaptive Cities

Picture of James Lannigan.

James Lannigan

Program of Study: PhD in Sociology

Project Title: Surviving the Pandemic: Specialty Coffee Retail Operational Strategies and the Impact of COVID-19

James Lannigan is a current PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology exploring the intersection of culture and networks through the case of retail specialty coffee in Toronto, ON, and Hamilton, ON. His dissertation work focuses on the underlying network structure organizing the field of retail specialty coffee, interactions and discourse between owners and consumers, and how COVID-19 has impacted the specialty coffee industry. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, his current research seeks to explain how retailers have operated during this challenging time and describe their pressing concerns for the near and distant future.


Picture of Sanna Wani.

Sanna Wani

Program of Study: Master's of Anthropology

Project Title: Gesture: Creative Kinship and Communal Dialogue as Transnational Portal

Sanna Wani lives between Srinagar and Mississauga. She is currently an MA candidate in sociocultural anthropology at the University of Toronto. Her research looks into regenerating notions of kinship, grief and poetry with a special interest in translation, anti-coloniality and multi-species ethnography. Her creative writing is published or forthcoming in TIME, Best Canadian Poetry 2020, Brick, and Poem-a-Day among others.



Picture of Tyler Cunningham.

Tyler Cunningham

Program of Study: Master's of Music

Project Title: My Narrative Falters: Empathy and Self-Constitution in the Emergence of the Subject-Object

A native of the D.C. Metro Area, Tyler Cunningham is a Toronto-based percussionist, researcher, and performance artist. Tyler’s performance practice and research locates intersections between performance studies, new media, critical theory, and music history. He has upcoming presentations at the University of Toronto’s FOOT Conference 2021, Centro Studi Opera Omnia Luigi Boccherini, French Association for American Studies, the 6th International Conference on Technologies for Music Notation and Representation (TENOR), and at the University of Belgrade. He is the cofounder of the PROMPTUS Collective, a NYC-based performance collective that focuses on researching and cultivating a transdisciplinary practice.


Picture of Stephanie Tai.

Stephanie Tai

Program of Study: Bachelor's of Arts in City Studies, International Development, and Anthropology

Project Title: Re-defining Exploration: Urban Approach to Travel

Stephanie is a 4th year student studying City Studies, International Development, and Anthropology at the University of Toronto. Through her curiosity of global processes and international influences, she has deepened her interest in observing the modern lifestyle through different mediums and live-in experiences in cities including as Vancouver, Toronto, Taipei, and Copenhagen. Through working with creative agencies such as the Culinaria Research Kitchen and Metro Vancouver Water, her passion for connecting with a wider global community has propelled her towards challenging cities as we know it, pushing for a collective effort on building and creating spaces that celebrate individualistic thinking and creative living.


Picture of Ruth Masuka.

Ruth Masuka

Program of Study: Bachelor's of Arts in Peace, Conflict, & Justice, Diaspora & Transnational Studies, and Music History & Culture

Project Title: The Art of Recovery: Creativity in Crisis

Ruth Masuka is a 3rd year student studying the intersections of peace and justice practices and art. Her research focuses mainly on diasporic and transnational groups and the use of non-institutional agencies and informal community spaces as catalysts for group consciousness and civil organization. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, she explores how culture is fostered through the means of music, food, humour, and other traditionally non-academic fields. Along with her academic interests, Ruth remains deeply involved as a community member working to achieve food and housing security, art education, and bridging the gap between bureaucracies and disenfranchised populations.


Picture of Christeen Salik.

Christeen Salik

Program of Study: Bachelor's of Arts in Critical Studies in Equity & Solidarity, Visual Studies, and Buddhism, Psychology, & Mental Health

Project Title: Creating Colourful Cities with BIPOC Youth Muralists

As an art-ivist and mindfulness facilitator, Christeen (she/they) is immensely interested in arts-based wellness and solidarity work. Through her role as the Founder & Creative Director of Healing Hearts Through Art (h2art), Christeen nurtures a community of art-makers and art-lovers who hone their skills together to engage in art-ivism. Her passion is to make the arts accessible to diverse and historically excluded communities (i.e. impoverished, BIPOC, queer, disabled, and neurodiverse folx, among others).


Picture of Mahaksh Malhotra.

Mahaksh Malhotra

Program of Study: Bachelor's of Science in Statistical Science and Economics

Project Title: Demystifying a Mental Enigma: Talking About Mental Health with Art

Mahaksh is a fourth year student double majoring in Economics and Statistics. He is passionate about art and cinema. He seeks to support students struggling with mental health. You can find Mahaksh volunteering across schools in Toronto to raise awareness about mental health. He is an active student leader.