Simon TurnerPhD English student Simon Turner investigates aesthetic experimentation across media. Their current research focuses on the pandemic as a cultural crisis point: how it has restructured our lives, our social relations, our media intake, and how we engage with that media.

Turner, who has a performance background, says they are most interested in media experimentation. “It’s not just about this novel or that film, but under what conditions was this novel written or that film shot?” they suggest.

They share that this research is important because: “It’s not just about taking a cultural snapshot, but also saying okay, if all this is true, what can we do from here? Do we put our energies into police abolitionism? How can we collectively tackle implementing the calls to action of the final report on murdered and missing Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQIA people? When we recognize that true change needs to come on a structural level, how do we orient our lives towards deconstructing current oppressive power frameworks, and still feel like we’re building better lives?”

The grad student continues: “I would hope that my research will give people the tools to at least start asking and thinking about these questions. More practically, my research investigates some cool artists that you may not have heard of, and are worth hearing about. Whether or not you agree with their ethics, these are artists whose bodies of work are used to project an ethos – a way of being in the world. And it’s not an easy time to ‘be in the world’ – not if you’re Black, or Muslim, or a woman, or trans, or Asian, or Indigenous, or crippled (I say, as a disabled person) – which is exactly the time when we need to be re-questioning our own ethics.”

Turner is being supervised  by English Prof. Jodie Medd. “Prof. Medd is a great supervisor; I even had another professor tell me they look up to Prof. Medd as their supervisory role model! She gives structure to my methodological chaos, which is why it’s good to have her to bounce ideas off. I also have a lot of support from Prof. Stuart J. Murray, who’s on my supervisory committee, and Prof. Jan Schroeder has been a key mentor, too. Also, none of us would still be standing without the tireless efforts of the Graduate Administrator, priya kumar.”

In spite of COVID, Turner has some fond memories of Carleton – “Going to Mike’s with my MA cohort; getting to know people over the class break; everyone complaining about the Dunton Tower elevators when really, I never thought they were that bad!”

They emphasize faculty support: “2020 was a really rough year – on everyone – but of all the places to spend the first year of a PhD during a pandemic, I’m glad I got to spend it at Carleton.”

Friday, May 14, 2021 in ,
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