Current Student Profiles

Originally from London, Ontario, Rebecca Draisey-Collishaw began her post-secondary study of music at Western University where she obtained a bachelor's degree in music education and master's in performance (oboe). With the support of a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship, Rebecca began her doctoral studies in 2009. Her research focuses on the relationship between public policy, arts broadcasting at the CBC, and intercultural communications between musicians. Rebecca currently lives in Dublin where she is completing work on her dissertation and performing with the contemporary classical trio, Sióga.

Marc Finch's interests include urban development, scenes and musical networks, and alternative histories of popular music. His doctoral research explores the history of bluegrass in Toronto and examines how individuals make sense of urban life through musical practices. Portions of this research have been published in the journal MUSICultures, as well as in Canadian Folk Music. Mark is a recipient of a Canada Graduate Scholarship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Joshua Green grew up in northwestern New Brunswick. He has been playing the guitar since early childhood, later adding the banjo. Before commencing his PhD studies at Memorial, Joshua studied Anthropology at St. Thomas University where he completed an Honours Bachelor's thesis on the a cappella singing tradition of the Miramichi region. His Master's research, at the University of Alberta, focused on popular music of the Faroe Islands, particularly on the construction of Faroese musical identities and meaning in genres such as heavy metal and country music. In his doctoral work, Josh will pick up this thread, examining music in relation to broad-scale social changes in Faroese society.

In 2013, Josh published Music-making in the Faroes. Based on three months of research in Tórshavn and around the rest of the Faroes, this book examines contemporary Faroese popular music and focuses particularly on the experience of being a musician in the Faroes. Josh also explores the relationship between aspects of the islands' musical history and more recent developments in the Faroes' music scene. Drawing on extensive interviews with prominent and up-and-coming figures in a variety of genres from country music to heavy metal, this book presents a snapshot and analysis of several areas of Faroese musical life as it existed in late 2011. It is currently available as a physical book on the Sprotin website.

Jennifer Hartmann comes from Nova Scotia and holds a BMus from Dalhousie and an MA (Musicology) from McGill. She is currently completing her Ph.D. dissertation, which is an ethnographic look at the marketing of wedding string quartets. Her interests also include cultural sustainability, occupational folklife, and the relationship between music and social capital. While living and studying in St. John's, Jennifer was the manager of the Terra Nova String Quartet (which she also founded) and played viola with the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra.

Since arriving in St. John's from Peterborough, Ontario, Mathias Kom has been a busy participant in the city's independent music and arts scene. His Ph.D. work examines the do-it-yourself networks in New York and Berlin's "anti-folk" scenes. Mathias is interested in how the transnational relationships of participants in this scene affect their music and their understandings of place. When he's not wrapped up in books, Mathias performs with the band The Burning Hell. 

Aubrey Maks has been playing the guitar since the age of twelve, and has been singing in choirs since her school years in Pennsylvania. While pursuing a Bachelor's in Music Education and Composition at the Westminster Choir College, she performed as a chorister with both national and international orchestras in New York City and Philadelphia. During a year of studies in Graz, Austria, she had the opportunity to sing with KUG Kammerchor as well as hone her German skills. Aubrey decided to continue her studies in the Master's program in Ethnomusicology at Memorial, shifting the focus of her research from Balinese gamelan to Maori popular music.

Toshio Tatsu Oki started taking violin lessons under the Suzuki method at the age of four, and has been playing the piano since he was ten. He attended an Engineering program at the University of Western Ontario for three years. After discovering the world of social sciences, he undertook an Honours Bachelor's degree in International Development at York University. It was not until he moved to Japan that he discovered Irish music and started playing his violin again with more passion. The desire to pursue his passion for Irish music led him to the Master's program in Ethnomusicology at Memorial. His research interests lie in hybrid musical processes with a focus on the phenomenon of Irish music in Japan.

Glenn Patterson picked up his first instrument, the electric guitar, at the age of seven. As his interest in bluegrass and traditional fiddle music grew, Glenn started playing the old-time banjo and fiddle—this while pursuing an undergraduate degree at Queen's University (Canada). While pursuing a Master's in Electrical Engineering at Concordia, he hosted a weekly bluegrass and old-time jam session and organized square dances. His passion for fiddling encouraged him to pursue a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology at Memorial with a focus on the traditional musics of English-speaking Quebeckers.

Alongside his studies, Glenn keeps a blog documenting fiddle repertoires and is working on a CD project of archival recordings of Gaspesian fiddlers with local collaborators in the Gaspé region of Quebec. Listen here to a radio documentary Glenn produced in June 2013, featuring the voices of local Gaspesian musicians.

Leila Qashu is interested in ethnomusicological intersections with women’s rights, human rights, African studies, dispute/conflict resolution, law, restorative justice and spirituality/belief. Her research focuses on music and the oral expressive arts and women’s and human rights in local, national and international settings and in relation to vernacular justice practices. For her PhD she is looking at a sung ritual used by Arsi Oromo women in Ethiopia for dispute resolution and to defend women’s rights. She has been working on Arsi Oromo music in Ethiopia and conducting fieldwork since 2002, independently and in conjunction with a French research team and the UNESCO – Norway funds-in-trust project on Ethiopian instruments, music and dance (2005-2009). She is currently a Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation doctoral scholar ( and a student member of the SSHRC – MCRI project, Advancing Interdisciplinary Research in Singing. Since her arrival in Newfoundland in 2008, she has been actively performing music with the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra and other ensembles, and working to promote culture and heritage, particularly with refugees and immigrants, as a volunteer and assistant at the Association for New Canadians, the Women’s Multicultural Organization of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Refugee and Immigrant Advisory Council.

Michelle Robertson is from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her musical life began with piano duets played alongside her mother, and by the age of seven, she was composing her own songs. During her high school years, she started learning the clarinet and later the alto saxophone. In 2003, Michelle received a joint diploma in Music Industry and Performance and Recording Arts at the College of North Atlantic in Stephenville, Newfoundland. In 2010, she entered Memorial University to complete her Bachelor's in Folklore with a minor in Music and Culture. Among her many research interests are North American popular music, the music industry, sound production and identity, urban ethnomusicology, women and song, and Canadiana.

Damien Laframboise is a PhD student in ethnomusicology at Memorial University. He holds a double-concentration honours BA from Laurentian University in music and Italian studies and an MMus from Western University in solo piano performance and literature. His present research interests include the role of music in relation to issues of cultural identity and authenticity, and the uses of music in ethnic integration and dissemination of Canada's immigrant groups, with specific interest in Ontario's Italian-Canadian communities.

Vanessa Shalton is from Timmins, Ontario. She has completed a BA in humanities with concentration in music at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario. Her studies focused primarily on piano performance, folklore, and religious studies. Currently a first-year MA student in ethnomusicology, her research interests include French-Canadian folk music, specifically the state of transmission of the Franco-Ontarian folk song.

Before making his way to Memorial University Dave Ewenson played an active role in Halifax, Nova Scotia's vibrant music scene as a performer, radio show host, and recording engineer. His research interests stem from recent work with neo-traditional musicians in northern Ghana and north African asylum seekers in south Tel Aviv, Israel. Dave wants to continue exploring the potential for music in development and empowerment projects while also focusing on the recording studio's place in the music making process.

Hailing from Philadelphia, Daniel Hawkins works with fiddle music, folk craft, and political theory. He’s the co-founder and artistic director of the Ottsville Traditional Arts Center in eastern Pennsylvania, and also plays cello in a number of contradance and roots music ensembles. He enjoys beer and wings, not falling off his bicycle, and jumping in natural bodies of water between the months of January and March. You can visit his website here.