Rachael Van Fossen (MFA, Interdisciplinary Arts) is a theatre and interdisciplinary artist and teacher with a focus on community collaborations and socially-engaged performance. She is currently an Affiliate Associate Professor with the Department of Theatre, and Co-Investigator as part of a national team for the five-year research initiative Art for Social Change: A Research Partnership in Teaching, Evaluation and Capacity-Building (funded through the SSHRC Partmerships Program.)
Van Fossen received the Distinguished Teaching Award from Concordia's Faculty of Fine Arts in 2006. She contributed to curriculum for the then-new Theatre and Development program from 1999-2001. Her educational philosophy and teaching practice have been influenced by the thinking of John Dewey, bell hooks, and Paolo Freire.
Selected publication credits include articles and essays in Critical Perspectives on Canadian Theatre in English, Canadian Theatre Review, Theatre Research in Canada, and in Remembering Mass Violence: Oral History, New Media, and Performance, Steven High, Edward Little and Thi Ry Duong, eds. (University of Toronto Press, forthcoming in Fall 2013.) Van Fossen's research report for the Canada Council for the Arts, is available online at Opening up Space: Toward an Expansive Vision for Multidisciplinary Arts in Canada. She is currently co-editing a book titled Connect: Towards a Socially Engaged Aesthetic.
Van Fossen's creative work includes: Director and Writer, The Encounters Project (ensemble creation, slated for production in 2015); Director of Umvuayi (2013, Eclectik, Montréal, arts interculturels); Artistic Consultant for the documentary video North Side Revisited (2011); Director of the ensemble creation piece Who/Nani/Qui (Concordia University and the Collectif MOYO, 2010); Dramaturge and Director, Stories Scorched From the Desert Sun by Hourig Attarian (Teesri Duniya Theatre and Life Stories of Montrealers, 2009-2010); Director for Rights Here! / Droits devant!, a large-scale performance and international exchange project in theatre and human rights (Teesri Duniya Theatre, Concordia University Theatre and Development, and Park Extension Youth Organization, 2007); and Dramaturge and Director of promenade staging for Village de bonne espérance by Ally Ntumba (Collectif MOYO and MAI, Montréal, arts interculturels, 2007.)
Van Fossen was Founding Artistic Director of Common Weal Community Arts (1992-1999), Artistic Director of Black Theatre Workshop from 2001-2005, and Co-founder and Associate Artistic Director of the Collectif MOYO from 2007-2010. She also freelances as an arts consultant and researcher, most recently for Jumblies Theatre, and for the Interarts and Equity Offices of the Canada Council for the Arts. She has traveled across Canada and to England, Ireland, France, Greece and Australia to lead workshops and/or speak about her work. She has previously produced and directed several radio dramas for the CBC.
Van Fossen teaches in Theatre and Development at Concordia, and is a faculty member in the MFA-Interdisciplinary Arts program at Goddard College.