Jenn Cole is a mixed-ancestry Algonquin Anishinaabe-kwe and Assistant Professor in Gender and Women’s Studies at Trent University. She researches Indigenous Performance as it intersects with settler/Indigenous relations and reciprocal relationship to the land, especially at the site of the Kiji Sibi/Ottawa River in Algonquin Territory.
Her older work focuses on the cultural history of hysteria and the hysterics’ modes of resistance to misogynist medical spectacle. Book coming soon! Her other published writing is about the political force of inarticulacy, the activist elements of intimacy created by imperfect storytelling, Indigenous feminist methodologies and feminist performance adaptations. Her current performance practice explores storytelling, autobiography and sharing food together as an expression of vulnerability and relational exchange that is pivotal as we try to cultivate a sense of who we are in relation.
In programming, curation, publication, public talks, teaching and performance, she works to create experiences that enable participants across generations to decolonize their relationships to place and one another through multi-arts practices. She is Creative Director of the Aging Activisms Research Collective; Co-Investigator in the SSHRC-funded partnership development project, Gatherings: Archival and Oral Histories of Canadian Performance; Co-Conveynor of the Indigenous Performance Research in the Americas Working Group for the American Society for Theatre Research; and editor of Gatherings, a publication for the collection and distribution of creative scholarly work in performance. She has conducted arts, workshop and performance scholarship programming for events like Precarious Festival, the national Canadian Association for Theatre Research conferences (2017, 2018); Stories of Resistance, Resurgence and Resilience in Nogojiwanong/Peterborough: Aging Activisms Intergenerational Storytelling Workshops (2018); Impossible Projects Symposia (2016, 2018); The Future of Cage: Credo conference (2012) and Polyphony (2005-7).
Select publications include:
(forthcoming) Cole, J. (2019) “Lament for Confederation, Chief Dan George [Geswanoth Slahoot]: Assertions of Sovereignty” in Canadian Plays and Performance Documents; Cole, J. (2019) “You are Enough: Love Poems for the End of the World: Review” in Muskrat Magazine; Cole, J. (2019) “Review of Julie Burelle’s Encounters on Contested Lands” in Theatre Annual; Cole, J. (2019) “The Work it Takes to Build a Home: Resource Extraction and Decolonized Return in Kiji Sibi Watershed Territory” in Canadian Theatre Review 180; Cole, J. (2018) “Relinquishing Expertise: Notes on Indigenous Feminist Performance Methodologies” in Canadian Theatre Review 178; Cole, J. (2018) “Following Nan to the Kiji Sibi” in Unsettling Activisms. Critical Interventions on Aging, Gender, and Social Change,Eds. Melissa Baldwin, May Chazan and Pat Evans. Toronto: Women’s Press/Canadian Scholars Press; Cole, J. (2018) “I am Dancing with the Ancestors and there is Joy in it,” in Feminist Space Camp ed. Tita Kyrtsakas and Jess Watkin: online; Cole, J. (2018) “Be Changed and then Don’t Stop: What 2894 Can Do” on 2894.ca; Cole, J. (2017) “Horrific Flesh, Holy Theatre” in Invisible Cultures 27; Cole, J. (2017) “Gatherings Manifesto: A Call to Performance Writers and Makers” in Gatherings. Ed Jenn Cole. Jackson’s Creek Press; Cole, J. (2015) “Good Dirt: A Performance Reflection” in Hysteria: Hysterical Feminisms:UK. Online and in print. Co-authored with Gina Brintnell and Myrto Koumarianos ; and Cole, J. (2012) “Danger Music: On the Intimacy of Screaming” inToronto Review of Books; Chirograph.
Select public talks include:
the Opening Keynote Plenary “What Can Critical Decolonial Community Based Storytelling Research Offer Aging Studies?,” North American Network of Aging Studies and European Network of Aging Studies (2019); “Manifesting Resistance, Reconceptualizing Archive: Indigenous Memory Practices,” Women’s and Gender Studies and Recherches Feministes (2019); “Methodology Is Hot Gluing Seed Beads into Nan’s Broken Necklace,” Graduate Foundations in Gender and Feminist Studies: Discovering Feminist, Decolonial Research, Trent University (2018); “My Performance as Research Practice: How Screaming, Trying to Fit Myself into a Teapot, and Drawing with Strangers Has Shifted my Knowledge Practice,” U of T PhD Seminar in Performance Research Methods (2017); “Creative Work for Social Change with Kwe in Nogojiwanong: A Conversation with Hilary Wear and Mindy Knott,” Impossible Projects Symposium (2018); “River as Archive, River as Witness: Spectacle and Ceremony in Mìwàte at Chaudière Falls,” Canadian Association for Theatre Research Performance History Working Group (2018); and “Sarah de Carlo, Images and Processes: A Public Interview” Intersections Series, Trent University
Select Performances include:
“Gitigaan: Dances for Gardens,” William Kingfisher’s Gitigaan/Enewendewin project and Artspace’s InSites Festival (2019); 2019-2021 “Jimaan,” How to approach a Canoe dance exploration series (2019-21); “Traplines,” Small Dance for Small Spaces Festival (2019); Dumoine River Art for Wilderness Residency, CPAWS-OV (2018); “Walking Our Way Here,” Canadian Association for Theatre Research Conference (2018); “Following Nan to the Kiji Sibi Part II,” Manifesting Resistance (2018); “Listening to Kashtin with my Mom,” Gatherings and Unsettling Activisms book launches; Alternating Currents Program Artist, Public Energy (2017); “Tracing Nan: A Trans-Generational Map Home,” American Society for Theatre Research, Minneapolis Marriott (2016); and “Espionage/Clairvoyance: Traipsing the Memories of Transformative Teenage Witnessing,” Capital Wayfaring: Peripatetic Explorations (2015).
She recently teaches Intro courses in Gender Studies; Gender, Race and Class; Feminist Psychologies; Introduction to Acting and Performance; and an Advanced Feminist Research Seminar with emphasis in Indigenous Feminist/Two-Spirit Artistic Activisms . She is passionate about teaching performance and creative expression as research and scholarship practices and loves when students get out of their seats. Her research interests include: Indigenous Feminist artistic activisms; the performance history of the Kiji Sibi; the force of inarticulacy; hysteria; feminist performance; autobiography and theatres of resistance. She received her PhD from the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Ontario and Ontario Graduate Scholarships. She is recent recipient of the Vice President’s Research Initiatives Grant; was twice a recipient of the Metl-Trebbin-DeBoni Endowment Award and conducted research at the Bibliothèque Charcot in Paris with support from the Canadian Association for Theatre Research’s Heather McCallum Scholarship. Her PhD thesis, Hysteria in/as Performance Potential Dramaturgies Toward Portraits of Ambiguity won the Clifford Leech prize for best thesis in English and Drama at U of T in 2016. She also received the Harcourt-Brown Research Fellowship in 2017 and an Alternating Currents Dramaturgy Residency with Public Energy. She is co-founder of the Impossible Projects Working Group out of Clarkson University, co-convenor of the Indigenous Performance Research working group for ASTR, is on the Aging Activisms Research Collective steering committee and has been Project Manager for the University of Toronto’s Theatre Documentation and Research Project for which she is now a research co-investogator as part of a SSHRC funded partnership development grant. She is also a movement, dance, dramaturgy and installation art practitioner, having worked with Marrie Mumford and Nozhem Theatre; Manifesting Resistance; Are Mechanica; Toronto Laboratory Theatre; Circadia Ingidena; Kaeja d’Dance; Stand Up Dance; Fleshy Thud Dance Collective and Public Energy dance initiatives.