Creative Humanities is a platform for applied research and innovation at Sheridan College. In 2016, the Creative Humanities was founded by Dr. Brandon McFarlane with the ambition of inspiring new approaches grounded in creative inquiry and critical innovation. We imagine optimistic futures for the humanities and higher education, and engage in the struggle work necessary to manifest those utopian visions in our everyday lives.This website features our projects, celebrates the accomplishments of student researchers, and invites community members to reach out to explore opportunities for collaboration.
We’re mobilizing our expertise in creative problem solving, innovation management, and the humanities to solve pertinent challenges in higher education and the creative industries.
Canadian Literary Censorship Project
We’re trying to discover and document the extent of banned and challenged books in Canada. Insofar as literary works communicate the values, aspirations, and anxieties of a society, the censorship of those texts might be taken as a bellwether for the overall health of that society, a measure of its citizens’ willingness to engage in unorthodox ideas or even their complicity in inequitable systems of power.
Data from the American Library Association show that literary censorship disproportionately targets authors and audiences of systemically marginalized groups: people of colour and those who identify within the LGBTQ2S community are, historically, much more likely to have their literary works censored. In Canada, however, there is currently no comprehensive, systematic, or readily-searchable compilation of censored literary works. Led by Prof. Alexander Hollenberg (Principal Investigator) with support from Dr. Brandon McFarlane (Co-investigator), and Dr. Owen Percy (Co-Investigator), we seek to remedy this knowledge gap.Learn More
Children’s Book Jam 2021-22
A partnership between the School of Humanities and Creativity & School of Visual and Creative Arts which pilots a new model for the creation of illustrated children’s books that explore themes of social justice. Breaking from current industry practices, the publisher, author, and illustrator collaborate throughout the creative and publishing process.
Sheridan: Everybody’s Got a Story 2021-22
Inspired by the Covid-19 lockdown and the desire to foster a sense of community, this project asks Sheridan community members open-ended, emotion-driven questions to get to the heart of their stories. The narratives will be published in an online, interactive map which shows how people from around the world converge at Sheridan College to explore their creativity. Once campus reopens, the stories may also be shared in an installation at the Creative Campus Galleries.
Remaking Critical Theory 2020-21
A partnership between the School of Humanities and Creativity & the School of Visual and Creative Arts that synthesized innovation management and artistic practices to help undergraduates better understand critical theory, and apply insights to solve challenges pertaining to equity, diversity, and inclusivity in their industries.Learn More
Mobilizing Social Innovation to Train the Next Generation of Theatre Entrepreneurs 2018-21
Partnered with the Toronto Fringe Festival to enhance and expand its Theatre Entrepreneurs’ Networking and Training (TENT) program. Researched and formalized curriculum to provide year-to-year efficiencies and enhance rigor. Applied Creative Problem Solving to eliminate factors that were preventing equity-seeking communities from participating in TENT programming and recommended models for long-term fiscal sustainability.LEARN MORE
Breaking Through Barriers to Gender Equity in Canadian Film 2018-19
Synthesized existing research to identify key obstacles to gender equity in the North American film and television sector. Three undergraduate researchers facilitated CPS sessions with Breakthroughs Film Festival’s Board of Directors to create the organization’s first strategic plan which reimagined the not-for-profit’s mandate from the perspective of intersectional feminism.LEARN MORE
Creative Humanities is an experiment in talent-orientated research. We’ve created new models that boost the career development of undergraduate students, regardless of their area of practice. Most humanities projects make ideas; we make talent.
Community & Collaboration in the Time of Social Distancing
Taylor Zantingh wanted to be part of something bigger than herself. Find out how her humanities research provided community and empowerment.
Faizal Eidoo is applying his creativity to make Toronto’s art sector more inclusive.
Choosing My Own Adventure
Sometimes the perfect opportunity doesn’t rush up to meet your while you’re looking for it. Robyn Miller shares how her humanities research experience helped her create her own opportunities.
Making Friends While Making a Difference
Lynne Li was looking to make friends after transferring to Sheridan. Learn how her new community is making a difference in Toronto’s theatre sector.
Leap of Faith
Victoria Webb’s professors and friends encouraged her to apply for a humanities research position. Find out how her leap of faith transformed her career.
Emerging from the Background
Aura Torres shares how humanities research helped her become a more confident and assertive filmmaker.
Using Art to Inspire
By using art to inspire those around her, Sarah is giving back to her community, one project at a time. Sarah gives her take on professional illustration.
Thinking Outside the Box
Creative thinking is possible in every field, and Ayesha Qamar is the perfect example. Even in computer coding, there is still room for imagination!
TENT Spotlight: Mike Rugo
Mike Rugo shares his take on UX design, and what its takes to succeed in the industry. Click to learn more about his journey in the field.
Call for Possibilities
What would you do if you had unlimited time and resources for a scholarly, research, or creative activity? Wield up to 2,500 words to pitch, imagine, or dramatize your most daring, creative, and/or ambitious idea via a special research cluster to be published in English Studies in Canada. Guest edited by Brandon McFarlane and Sarah Banting, you can find full details by clicking ‘learn more.’LEARN MORE
Special Issue of University of Toronto Quarterly
The University of Toronto Quarterly published a special issue on the Creative Humanities guest edited by Brandon McFarlane. Authors include Andrea Charise, Stefan Krecsy, Glenn Clifton, Edmund Martin Nolan, Dale Tracy, David Gauntlett, and Mary Kay Culpepper. Click ‘learn more’ to find out how humanities scholars are transforming higher education in Canada.LEARN MORE
To celebrate the first five years of the Creative Humanities initiative we created a little report showcasing how our projects impacted students, Sheridan College, and creative communities in the Greater Toronto Area.
Special thanks to Jacquelyn Ferguson (Managing Editor), Faizal Eidoo (Layout & Design), and Sarah Whang (Illustrator) who collaborated with Dr. Brandon McFarlane to create the document.LEARN MORE
Seeking New Perspectives
Over the course of her career as an artist and professor, Hyein Lee has learned the importance of being exposed to diverse perspectives. Find out how contributing to Remaking Critical Theory transformed how Prof. Lee approaches art and education.LEARN MORE
Opening Up to New Experiences
Learning to take risks has brought Melodie Downey to a year of fulfilling social, academic, and professional growth. Find out how serving as a Research Assistant for Remaking Critical Theory helped Melodie thrive during lockdown.LEARN MORE
At the Crossroads of Critical Theory and Creative Practice
With Covid-19 turning the digital age into the virtual age, students and professors everywhere are adjusting to new ways of learning and engaging with education. Amidst this struggle, Dr. Alexander Hollenberg (Professor of Storytelling & Narrativity) wants to introduce new ways of approaching critical theory, content that typically feels “impenetrable”.Learn More
Student Success Award
Congrats to Dr. Glenn Clifton (Professor of Literary Studies and Creative Writing) who received the 2020 Student Success Award for his outstanding contributions to undergraduate learning on the TENT project. Dr. Clifton facilitated debrief sessions with undergraduate researchers and helped them share their learnings through blog posts.
Jacquelyn Ferguson (BA, Creative Writing & Publishing) helped us develop curriculum for TENT. She transformed the 12 units into a blog series that introduces the basics of art-based entrepreneurship. Are you ready to unleash your inner artrepreneur?LEARN MORE
Sheridan Students Take Centre Stage at Toronto Fringe
Oavkille News featured our project work at this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival. “Sheridan College research students have a front row seat at this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival, which kicks off July 3. Sheridan students are generating a buzz in Toronto’s theatre industry for their pioneering work in expanding Toronto Fringe’s Theatre Entrepreneurs’ Networking and Training (TENT) program.”LEARN MORE
Taking Care of Business
The Toronto Raptors aren’t the only ones bringing home hardware this spring: Victoria Webb (BBA Marketing Management) and Karly-Anna O’Brien (BBA Supply Chain Management 2019) won two major awards for their outstanding research. The Pilon School of Business all-stars have been applying their creativity and entrepreneurial know-how to train emerging producers in Toronto’s theatre community. These two exceptional women are slam dunking their way to success!LEARN MORE
Creative Humanities Featured in Curiosities
Find out how an ecceltic team of undergraduate researchers at Sheridan College are collaborating with Toronto Fringe to bring new ideas to the Theatre Entrepreneurs’ Networking & Training program. Together, they’re helping emerging producers thrive in the theatre business.LEARN MORE
New Opportunities for Toronto Artists
We designed and instructed innovation workshops for TENT & Toronto Fringe in July 2018. Find out what we did and what’s in store for fall 2018!LEARN MORE
TENT Collaboration Featured in Alchemy
The word spreads thanks to Brittany German’s pen. The collaboration’s lead wordsmith, German (BA, Creative Writing & Publishing) is raising awareness about the impact we’re bringing to Sheridan students and Toronto’s theatre community.LEARN MORE
Creative Problem Solving at the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals
Who doesn’t love a road trip? The mere suggestion invokes the idea of an adventure: discoveries to be unearthed, friendships formed, strengthened, deepened. All of this is exactly what happened when we took our collaboration with Toronto Fringe on the road one grey day in early November and headed west to the town of Windsor.LEARN MORE
We are building upon our track-record of impact by forging an alliance of community partners. Our goal is to mobilize Sheridan’s expertise in creativity, innovation, and culture in partnership with private, public, and not-for-profit organizations to bring transformative change to creative communities and industries.
Creativity & Innovation Services
CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING
Need new ideas? Craving diverse perspectives to evaluate and improve ideas? We specialize in creative problem solving (CPS), a methodology grounded in peer-reviewed research that facilitates the reliable generation of new and innovative ideas. Our CPS sessions bring together students and researchers from Sheridan’s diverse educational programs to help community partners solve challenges and explore opportunities. Whether you’re intersted in a one-off session or long-term collaboration, connect with the Creative Humanities.
Our creative approach to strategic planning incorporates diverse perspectives to imagine utopian futures and how to get there. We specialize in helping art, culture, and other organizations that may have limited resources identify how to best serve their communities and find creative ways to do so. Researchers custom-design community engagement initiatives to collect input, and quantitative and qualitative methodologies for monitoring the sometimes abstract impact of art, culture, and creativity. Reach out to the Creative Humanities to find out how we can help you research, imagine, and actualize dream-visions for the future.
Build the capacity for sustainable innovation by enhancing the creative talents of your team. We design workshops and long-term training programs grounded in scholarly research on creativity and innovation. Our training programs are hands-on, fun, and accessible. Indeed, our past collaborators reported partnerships radically transformed their everyday approach to innovation, and boosted the creative confidence, skills, and engagement of their teams. Engage the Creative Humanities for no-bullshit innovation training grounded in decades or rigorous research.
Do you want to share knowledge, research, ideas, expertise, or experience with a community? We excel at transforming knowledge into engaging and accessible outputs that are custom designed for your audience. Our knowledge mobilziation teams comprise of artist, designers, educators, and other creative practioneers who produce novel and aesthetically stunning ouputs. We’ve create novel outputs such as art installations, illustrations, zines, videos, and interactive experiences, and more traditional formats such as reports, presentations, blogs, thought leadership, and events. Partner with the Creative Humanities to enhance your organization’s impact and leadership through knowledge mobilization.
Praise from Partners
“The opportunity to work with Sheridan students over the course of the three-year partnership was invaluable. Hearing their feedback, listening to their questions and having insight to their processes of creative thinking were tangible tools we could take back into the organisation and implement at TENT. Beyond that we were also able to bring Brandon, Prof. Jennifer Phenix, and Paola Di Barbora to our CAFF conference (back in 2019, in Windsor) where they led a creative problem solving (CPS) workshop with Fringe leaders from across Canada and the US. We received such positive feedback as to how this opportunity opened their eyes to ways of problem solving that they had not considered before.”
Executive Director, Toronto Fringe Festival
“After a year, we can say the benefit and value of the strategic planning sessions has been far-reaching in the organization and the implementation of these objectives has helped Breakthroughs Film Festival move forward in a positive and sustainable direction. We wouldn’t hesitate to collaborate with the Creative Humanities again, and encourage any arts leader to learn more about the impact their expertise in creative problem solving and creative leadership can bring to your organization.”
Board of Directors
Breakthroughs Film Festival
Connect to find out how to leverage Creative Humanities talent, expertise, and national funding programs in the post-secondary sector.Connect with the Creative Humanities
We are grateful for the funding provided by Sheridan College and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.