Skip to main content
LATEST INFORMATION ABOUT COVID-19

READ MORE

Studies that stand out

From an experimental drawing lab to gay porn research, find out more about award-winning graduate projects
May 13, 2015
|
By Tracey Lindeman

Six Master’s of Fine Arts students created a summer-long drawing lab that sought to broaden people’s ideas on exactly what drawing is. Six Master’s of Fine Arts students created a summer-long drawing lab that sought to broaden people’s ideas about the visual art form. | Image courtesy of the Drawing Research Lab

Graduate students can sometimes get trapped in the grind of academia — working on very specialized projects, attending conferences, presenting papers and publishing in journals. The result being that their research is often only understandable to others in their discipline.

It’s precisely for this reason that the School of Graduate Studies rolled out its new Concordia Stand-Out Graduate Research Award last summer.

“Fifty per cent of the way we evaluate the application is by looking at the ability of the author to disseminate their research to a wider (non-specialized) audience,” says Luca Caminati, the associate dean of Recruitment and Awards for the School of Graduate Studies.

He says the Stand-Out Graduate Research Award was in part inspired by a nation-wide initiative called the Three Minute Thesis Competition (3MT), which challenges graduate students to present their academic research in a way that’s accessible to those outside of their scholarly domain.

“At its core this new award teaches students to speak about their work, which is sometimes obscure, obtuse and extremely detailed, in language more accessible to the layman,” Caminati says.

PhD engineering student Morteza Mohammadi was the first to win the Stand-out Graduate Research Award, which was presented during the summer 2014 semester.

The following are the winners for the 2014–15 fall and winter terms:

Evangelos Tziallas

After spending years labouring over it, Evangelos Tziallas published his winning submission — "The New 'Porn Wars': Representing Gay Male Sexuality in the Middle East" — in Psychology and Sexuality. The paper, which looks at the representation of Arab and Muslim men in gay male pornography, is the synthesis of his master’s thesis and an unpublished paper on the porn film Men of Israel.

Evangelos Tziallas, PhD student in film and moving image studies: “Pornography really is the conduit that connects gay men around the world.” Evangelos Tziallas, PhD student in film and moving image studies: “Pornography really is the conduit that connects gay men around the world.”

Currently a PhD student in Film and Moving Image Studies at Concordia, Tziallas wrote his master’s thesis before Men of Israel was released in 2009, and later wrote his previously unpublished study of the same film in 2012. "In a lot of ways the two talked to each other," he says. “It wasn’t until I had really looked at my master’s thesis and the unpublished version that I realized they were actually in dialogue,” Tziallas says.

To combine the two papers Tziallas decided to trim the fat and focus on one particular theme —whether 9/11 had changed the way Middle Eastern men were portrayed in gay pornography, with a strong focus on discovering if terrorism had become fetishized.

He found that Arab men were most frequently portrayed in one of two ways: as exotic representations of Orientalism with pyjama pants, turbans and lots of shots of the desert, or as citizens of the modern global world, with the pornography itself filmed in apartments or with cityscapes as backdrops.

Tziallas states that he chose pornography as his focus because of how intrinsic it is to gay male culture.

“Pornography now is pretty much the circuitry that operates global gay culture. It’s surpassed cinema and literature and even the gay bar, if you will. Pornography really is the conduit that connects gay men around the world,” Tziallas says.

Marking space: a drawing research lab

Six Master’s of Fine Arts students from different disciplines combined forces to create a summer-long drawing lab last year that sought to broaden people’s ideas about the visual art form.

“We were really approaching drawing through different ways of thinking,” says Santiago Tavera, one of the six graduate students.

Santiago Tavera, MFA student in Open Media: “We were approaching drawing through different ways of thinking.” Santiago Tavera, MFA student in Open Media: “We were approaching drawing through different ways of thinking.” | Courtesy of the Drawing Research Lab

The group, which also included Beth Frey, Cameron Forbes, Christine Garvey, Tim Messeiller and Matthew Robin-Nye, offered a series of eight week-long workshops between June 19 and August 14 in the Centre des art actuels Skol (Skol) gallery at the Belgo Building. They called the project “Marking Space: A Drawing Research Lab.”

The workshops ranged from straightforward drawing sessions to Tavera’s sensory overload of lights, sounds and visuals. All the sessions were designed with the intention of moving the act of drawing from its usual role as a preparatory or planning tool, to a subject in itself.

People were invited to show up and participate in the workshop as they pleased. Some drew with fluorescent colours under a black light, some created 3D animation, and others danced while drawing in a bid to understand the connection between movement and illustration. Tavera says the workshop series attracted more than 100 people.

“I think it really brought attention to the many possibilities of the medium of drawing across many disciplines of the arts," he reflects. "It helped those involved look at drawing critically as a form of research by going beyond the material aspect of it.”


Learn more about graduate studies at Concordia.



Back to top Back to top

© Concordia University