Dismantling “rape culture” on campuses: A $2.5 million research project
Creative Arts Therapies Professor Sandra Curtis is serving as a co-investigator in a multidisciplinary research partnership which has just been awarded a $2.5 million Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Partnership Grant to address sexual violence against women on university campuses across Canada and internationally.
Curtis will be working on the project’s research team tasked with examining the role and influence of arts and pop culture/music. She brings 20 years’ experience to the team as a music therapist and researcher who works with women survivors of male violence.
“I am thrilled to be a part of this unique, interdisciplinary team with its very important focus on dismantling rape culture on campuses and the culture of violence against women in our society at large which supports it," says Curtis. "While there is research documenting how pop music can reflect and normalize violence against women, it is very exciting to be researching how it can be used to challenge the status quo."
Curtis points to the incredible potential for change right now, be it through examining the works of well-known performing artists such as Lady Gaga with her “Til it Happens to You” or by working with women survivors of violence to re-claim their lives.
Under the leadership of McGill University’s Associate Professor Shaheen Shariff, this unique and timely research partnership involves 24 academic investigators, 14 community partners, 13 collaborators, and 9 universities (including Concordia University’s Faculty of Fine Arts and its Arts in Health Research Collective).
The research project is for a term of seven years and will take a broad-based approach looking at the culture of violence against women both on campus and in society as a whole and the role of universities, of the arts/pop culture, and of news/social media.