Assistant Professor of Contemporary Scenography

Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada

Tenure-Track Faculty Position in Theatre Production and Design

The School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University invites applications for a tenure-track position in Theatre Production and Design, at the Assistant Professor level, starting July 1, 2021.

We acknowledge the Squamish (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw), Musqueam (xʷməθkʷəy̓əm), Tsleil-Waututh (səlil̓ w̓ətaʔɬ), Katzie, and Kwikwetlem (kʷikʷəƛ̓əm) peoples, on whose traditional territories Simon Fraser University’s three campuses stand. By recognizing the Unceded Traditional Coast Salish territories, we aspire to create space for reconciliation through dialogue and decolonizing practices.

Position Title and Rank: Assistant Professor of Contemporary Scenography

We encourage applications from individuals who identify as members of communities underrepresented in professional theatre and/or academia.

We seek an artist with demonstrated significant experience in expanded scenography and/or live performance design with an emphasis on one or more of the following areas: sound design and composition, animation, extended realities, spatial practices, expanded cinema, puppetry, object performance, lighting design, and/or projection design. The ideal candidate has a vibrant and recognized artistic research practice that at once engages with contemporary aesthetic developments in the field of theatre design and thrives in an interdisciplinary environment. Additionally, they will have a demonstrated interest in design-led creation, and expanded definitions of performance and installation.

Position Minimum Requirements

  • Strongly demonstrated commitment to justice, anti-racism, equity, diversity and inclusion. Commitment to advancing safe, sustainable, and humane working practices within communities, and in personal art and teaching practices.
  • Ability to work effectively, flexibly, collaboratively, and ethically with diverse communities of artists, educators and students in the School for the Contemporary Arts, SFU, and local communities.
  • A vibrant and continuing artistic practice in scenography that reflects the latest material and aesthetic developments with an emphasis on one or more of the following areas: sound design and composition, animation, extended realities, expanded cinema, puppetry, object performance, spatial practices, lighting design, and/or projection design.
  • Capacity for excellence in teaching and mentorship across areas of research, context, process, and technique.
  • Established interest and capability in self-sufficient production, hands-on making, experiential practice, and full life-cycle creation. Expected involvement in practical hands-on technical craft and production processes, and ability to work with modest resources and labour constraints.
  • Demonstrated ability to combine creative practice with academic enquiry into critical contemporary issues. Ability to clearly articulate the theoretical and historical contexts of their area of artistic research.
  • Robust commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration.
  • MA, MFA, PhD in a field or discipline of relevance or significant professional equivalent experience.

Position Assets

  • Advanced skills in communication, critical thinking, and discourse.
  • Facility for observing and resolving conflicting values and positions.
  • Problem-solving skills across a variety of environments, relations, and media.
  • A history of building effective teams and motivating and collaborating effectively in a complex environment.
  • Investment in collaboratively building new curricula and contributing to the articulation of the future of the program.
  • Interest in contributing to and/or leading initiatives that serve the mandate of the SCA and the University within the local and international communities.
  • Competency with current software communication tools relevant to the field of expertise (e.g., Vectorworks and other CAD Programs, DAWs, Adobe Suite, Lighting Pre-visualizers, Touchdesigner and other Video Media Servers, Game Engines, Computer programming).
  • Facility with sensory observation and cultivation techniques, (e.g., drawing, active listening, tactile sculpture, etc.).
  • A history of commitment to sustainable production practices and environmental focus.
  • The candidate would bring an anti-racist and decolonial framework to design and actively challenge Western design training conventions and hierarchies of knowledge.

Position Responsibilities

  • Teaching and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students within and across programs at the SCA. The normal teaching load for a research faculty member is four courses (or their equivalent) annually.
  • Hands-on supervision of student production roles and creative projects at the SCA outside of class time.
  • Maintaining and developing robust artistic and research practices.
  • Under SFU policy, research responsibilities require faculty to maintain a program of research, scholarship, or artistic creativity through which they should aspire to a national or international reputation as scholars.
  • Contribute to the advancement and growth of the Production and Design area, assist in student recruitment, and academically mentor students.
  • The School is committed to an open, collegial, and inclusive style of governance. The position will contribute to this shared governance and advancement of the SCA mission through service and committee participation. Under SFU policy, service also refers to “the annual contributions that faculty make to university governance, to their profession, to the development of their discipline nationally, internationally or locally, and to the furthering of good relations between the University and the local community.”

Context of the Program

The Theatre Production and Design program has a significant emphasis on hands-on learning and contributes to the interdisciplinarity of the school through collaboration with all areas (Theatre Performance, Dance, Film, Music and Sound, Visual Art, Art Performance and Cinema Studies). Our alumni are adaptable and adventurous, often creating companies or collectives with collaborators they encounter in the program. The students have the ability to explore different disciplines and focus on their interests as they develop.

We are looking for a dynamic and visionary colleague who will join us in developing a contemporary curriculum for live performance and installation design / contemporary scenography. We seek to increase focus on consensual creative process and design across the embodied, ephemeral and spatial paradigms, engaging the full sensory imagination. We hope to inspire and empower our students to pursue their own artistic practice, creation, and collaborations beyond that of traditional hierarchical frameworks. The program will be responsive to the research of its practicing artist-instructors, maintaining a porousness to the contemporary arts ecology of the School for the Contemporary Arts and the changing political present. We seek to disrupt systems of oppression within academia and the arts and aim to develop a curriculum that promotes relational and sustainable approaches to making.

About the School for the Contemporary Arts

The School for the Contemporary Arts (SCA) is situated in one of downtown Vancouver’s most dynamic and diverse neighborhoods and is one of five separate departments within the Faculty of Communication, Art, and Technology. The SCA offers a unique curriculum with classes in Dance, Film, Music/Sound, Theatre Performance, Theatre Production and Design, Visual Art and Art, Performance and Cinema Studies that integrates the practical, historical and theoretical studies of the arts. This meeting of creative practice with academic enquiry is a core value of the school and is enhanced by our attention to critical contemporary issues as well as our commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration both within the classroom and beyond. Our context as an Art School within the top-ranked comprehensive universities in Canada is a great strength. We pride ourselves in offering the advantages of an intimate, small art school: excellent student mentorship and faculty/student interaction, a knowable community, a sense of belonging and familiarity, and a shared sense of purpose. We also have the advantages of a large university, with the vibrancy and opportunities that come from an institution with dozens of academic programs.

Application Instructions

Candidates are asked to submit:

  • a cover letter of application outlining creative and scholarly background, with indication of citizenship and/or residency status
  • a current full curriculum vitae
  • a statement of teaching and mentorship philosophy
  • links to samples of creative works
  • the names and email addresses for three confidential referees. (Letters of reference may be requested at a later date.)

Submit all applications by email to Elspeth Pratt, Director, c/o Samantha Diamond,  Review of applications will begin on April 12, 2021 and continue until the position is filled. To ensure full consideration applications should be submitted by this date. Please note that materials submitted will not be returned.

Simon Fraser University’s strength is based on our shared commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and the pursuit of decolonization, Indigenization, and reconciliation. Diversity is an underlying principle of our Strategic Vision, which pledges SFU to “foster a culture of inclusion and mutual respect, celebrating the diversity reflected among its students, faculty, staff, and our community.” SFU is committed to ensuring that no individual is denied access to employment opportunities for reasons unrelated to ability or qualifications. Consistent with this principle, SFU will advance the interests of underrepresented members of the workforce, specifically Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, visible minorities, and women; embrace gender and sexual diversity; ensure that equal opportunity is afforded to all who seek employment at the University; and treat all employees equitably. Candidates that belong to underrepresented groups are particularly encouraged to apply.

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be given priority. Under the authority of the University Act, personal information required by the University for academic appointment competitions will be collected. For further details see:

Posted On 
Monday, March 8, 2021