New Faces: Two new professors join AMPD this fall

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This fall, two professors will join York University’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD). The new professors are Freya Björg Olafson in the Department of Dance, and Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum in the Department of Visual Arts & Art History.

“Freya and Pamela are exciting additions to the AMPD Faculty,” said Norma Sue Fisher-Stitt, interim dean of the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design. “Their interdisciplinary art practices and research interests will ignite new collaborations and innovative activities in our on campus community, across the GTA, and beyond.”

York University Professor Freya Björg Olafson AMPD
Freya Björg Olafson

Freya Björg Olafson
Joining AMPD as Assistant Professor in the Department of Dance, Freya Björg Olafson is an intermedia artist who works with performance, video, audio and panting. Her creative practice engages with identity and the body, as informed by technology and the Internet.

She earned a BA at the School of Contemporary Dancers/University of Winnipeg, and a MFA in new media at the Transart Institute, Donau Universität, Austria.

Her work has been presented internationally, and her video work has screened widely in festivals and galleries, and is distributed by Video Pool Media Arts Centre, Winnipeg. Her artist residencies include EMPAC – The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (New York), Oboro (Montreal) and Atlantic Center for the Arts (Florida). With support from San Francisco’s CounterPulse, she is currently developing a project incorporating virtual reality, slated to premiere in 2018.

As a freelance performer Olafson has worked in dance, film and theater. Upcoming publications include a score/script of her performance work AVATAR as part of Canadian Playwrights Press’ 2021 anthology on Digital Theatre in Canada.

Olafson has served on the curatorial committee for the núna (now) festival since 2006 and as president since 2010. Since 2012, she has also served on the board of the Video Pool Media Arts Centre, and from 2013 to 2016 was a member of ISPA – International Society for Performing Arts through the Canada Council Legacy Program. She is currently a member of Projetbk/8 DAYS and a research collaborator with the Canadian Consortium for Performance and Politics in the Americas.

York University Professor Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum AMPD
Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum

Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum
Professor Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum joins AMPD’s Department of Visual Arts & Art History this fall, with a portfolio based in drawing that includes installation, animation and performance. Her current studio practice reflects an interest in finding parallels between ancient mythological cosmologies and advanced theories in mathematics and science.

She received a MFA from the Mount Royal School of Interdisciplinary Art at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. She has participated in artist residencies at the Skowhegan School for Painting and Sculpture, U.S; the Vermont Studio Center, U.S; Bag Factory Artist Studios, South Africa; the Fonds Regional d’Art Contemporain (FRAC) du Pays de la Loire, France; and the Iwalewahaus African Art Archive, Germany.

Recent exhibitions and performances include Tiwani Contemporary, London (2016), Cinematek (the Brussels Art Film Festival) at the 2016 Art Brussels, the Visual Arts Network of South Africa (VANSA) Johannesburg (2015), Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg (2015), Michaelis Gallery at the University of Cape Town (2015), the Pretoria Art Museum, South Africa (2013), the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Art + Culture, Charlotte, NC, USA (2013), FRAC Pays de Loire, France (2013), the 2012 Havana Biennial, the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Artists (MoCADA), New York (2011), and the Contemporary Art Museum of Houston.