Ajay Heble is the Director of the recently launched International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (IICSI), and Professor of English in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph. He is the author or editor of several books on improvisation including most recently The Fierce Urgency of Now: Improvisation, Rights, and the Ethics of Cocreation, co-authored with Daniel Fischlin and George Lipsitz (Duke University Press). Heble is also artistic director of the Guelph Jazz Festival and is pianist with the improvising group the Vertical Squirrels.
The International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (IICSI) is a partnered research institute established in 2013. The Institute’s research team comprises 56 scholars from 19 different institutions. Funded for seven years by the SSHRC Partnership grant program, IICSI’s partners include five academic institutions (University of Guelph, McGill University, Memorial University of Newfoundland, University of Regina, University of British Columbia), a foundation partner (Musagetes), and over 30 community-based organizations. The Institute’s mandate is to create positive social change through the confluence of improvisational arts, innovative scholarship, and collaborative action.