Arts & Popular Culture


Millennials and the GenZ generations that attend universities are the largest consumers of popular culture and the arts. Our preliminary research indicates that a significant amount of discrimination and misogyny, sexist jokes, intersecting with racist and offensive forms of communications online are endemic in popular culture through television sitcoms, comedy shows, reality shows, androcentric and hegemenous ways of speaking, thinking and seeing the world. If we are to make an impact in effecting a sea change to these social norms which Shariff’s (2015) research shows provide an increasingly higher threshold for sexual violence and offensive forms of communication including non-consensual distribution of intimate images, online sexist extortion; trolling; violent and sexist gaming endorsed by most of the gaming industry, we need to engage partners from the arts and entertainment world to work with universities to mobilize a realization and shift towards improved respect and social inclusion, more peaceful and less violent or misogynist forms of communication.

Engaging students with arts-sector partners in theatre, arts and music we believe will cause a ripple effect in learning both within the university and in the arts and entertainment sectors. We will encourage public dialogues, art exhibits and dramas, theatre productions and workshops to effect sustainable change. How are we doing this?

Developing Guides and Toolkits

This initiative aims to produce publicly accessible online resources listing best practice tips and training models for researchers and advocates of rape survivors.

Digital Archive

This project aims to build an archive that creates resources for and by students, and that identifies the labour, creativity, and concrete actions that constitute campus via student-based advocacy.

Facilitating Social Change - Using Media and Art to Transform Rape Culture

This is a two-part project that consists of training researchers to conduct survivor-centered, ethical research across the project, and developing our own series of workshops and workshop methodologies that aim to support, educate and empower students with the tools to promote social change through different arts-based initiatives.

Arts-Based Initiatives and Outreach

One of the key objectives of the project is to forge opportunities for dialogue through art. To this end, we have created interactive, arts-based initiatives to encourage a meaningful dialogue about sexual violence in universities, and the meaningful ways we can address it. 

The Mural Project

This three-part mural (pictured above) was conceptualized by the research team, especially student research assistants Chloe Garcia and France Courtemanche, and created by Jimmy Baptiste. The mural offers an artistic rendering of how sexual violence is normalized and perpetuated in our society, and outlines some of the meaningful ways we can create social change.

We would love to hear from you about what you think about this mural and the story it tells.

    •  What do you think this mural represents?

    •  Do you agree or disagree with its message?

    •  What is your utopian vision for a campus free of sexual violence?

Please visit our social media pages to share your thoughts: |

Promoting Consent Project

The Promoting Consent project is a collaboration of three national and international research projects that focus on preventing and addressing gender-based violence. The three projects, based in the Faculty of Education, include:

  • IMPACTS: Collaborations to Address Sexual Violence on Campus is a 7-year project to address sexual violence on university campuses across Canada and internationally. Led by Dr. Shaheen Shariff, this SSHRC-funded interdisciplinary project brings together 13 community partners and several co-applicants from 12 universities in Canada (including 5 faculties at McGill), the UK and the US.
  • Networks for Change and Well-being: Girl (and Young Women)-Led ‘From the Ground up’ Policy Making to Address Sexual Violence in Canada and South Africa (2014-2020), is a SSHRC-IDRC Partnership grant co-led by Claudia Mitchell (McGill) and Relebohile Moletsane (South Africa) focusing on participatory interventions at university, community and school level.
  • ATTSVE (Agricultural Training Through Stronger Vocational Education (2014-2019). A research project led by Claudia Mitchell and Lisa Starr seeks to understand how young women in Ethiopia can empower themselves to protect their human rights and to benefit equitably from development in the country.

Stepping Out: Encounters on the way

If you are in British Columbia, make sure to check out this wonderful exhibition of ceramic sculpture by Debra Sloan, one of our project collaborators!

A Mary Daniel + Debra Sloan Exhibition

Join us this Thursday October 5th from 5-7pm for the opening reception.

Exhibition Dates: October 5-28, 2017