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Concordia’s new Trudeau Fellow

Jason Edward Lewis recognized for research achievements in digital media and aboriginal communities
September 16, 2014
By Christian Durand

Whether he’s creating digital media workshops for aboriginal youths or developing a residency program for artists, Jason Edward Lewis strives to empower aboriginal communities to tell their own stories. Lewis, a professor in Concordia University’s Design and Computation Arts, creates new ways of getting indigenous people involved in producing digital media. Now, his many successes have been rewarded on the national stage.

Jason-Lewis-trudeau-fellow-Christie-Vuong-310 Jason Edward Lewis becomes Concordia’s second Trudeau Fellow. | Photo by Christie Vuong

The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation announced that Jason Edward Lewis was chosen to be a 2014 Trudeau Fellow. This national distinction recognizes outstanding scholars based on their productivity, innovation and social engagement.

As an academic, digital media artists and software designer, Lewis’s research aims to enable indigenous people to tell their stories and control how they are represented. His project entitled What IIF? Initiative for Indigenous Futures embodies the Trudeau Foundation’s four key themes: human rights and dignity; responsible citizenship; Canada in the world; and people and their natural environment.

The project has four main components:

  • Digital media workshops for aboriginal youth that focus on community storytelling
  • A residency program for Aboriginal artists to explore integrating new media into their creative practices, and to provide them access to the rich infrastructure at Hexagram Concordia.
  • The development of new aboriginal media art database archive
  • A symposia series that will examine the concept of The Future Imaginary from an Indigenous perspective.

“I’m very proud that the Trudeau Foundation has recognized Professor Lewis’s integrated approach to engaging aboriginal youth,” says Catherine Wild, dean of Fine Arts. “Jason’s Trudeau project will bring together aboriginal communities to imagine aboriginal futures through the transformative powers of arts-based research.”

For Lewis, becoming a Trudeau Fellow means that people are paying attention to aboriginal issues. “The work we’re doing is getting out there and entering a larger conversation,” he says. “This designation will connect me to academics in other intellectual domains and hopefully help broaden the scope of my work.”

Lewis joins Ronald Rudin, appointed in 2011 as Concordia’s second Trudeau Fellow.

Each year the Trudeau Foundation selects up to five Fellows. Chosen by an independent jury, Trudeau Fellows receive $225,000 over three years to propel their research.

Watch Lewis’ TedEx talk:


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