CrimSL PhD student Kadija Lodge-Tulloch is one of 28 graduate students from across Canada who created short films as part of the i am... project at Ryerson's Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Migration & Integration program. The films premiered on June 10th, and can be viewed on the project website or the CERC Migration YouTube channel.
Lead by Anna Triandafyllidou (Professor & Canada Excellence Research Chair in Migration and Integration, Ryerson University) and Gemini Award-winning filmmaker and scholar Cyrus Sundar Singh, the project marks the 50th anniversary of Canada's first multiculturalism policy: "CERC Migration set out to better understand the legacy of that idealism, particularly within the context of the Black Lives Matter movement and resistance to settler colonialism."
Graduate students from across Canada were invited to submit proposals "to capture their individual expressions of identity and belonging or not belonging into a three minute film."
Kadija saw the project as an opportunity to bring creative storytelling to her work as an academic. “As a scholar, I firmly believe that knowledge dissemination should be accessible to all. This project was an opportunity for me to do just that.”
She was one of 28 students selected to receive professional mentorship and support to produce their short films.
The i am… project was her first experience with filmmaking but, Kadija says, it was also a chance to return to the poetic writing she did before starting university. She experienced the “liberty that comes with creative writing and expression” and adopted a “less is more” approach.
“In academic writing, we are encouraged to clearly articulate and elaborate on your points to your reader. However, in this filmmaking space I learned how to use techniques like silence, imagery, tones, sounds and vocal expression to tell my story.”
The process of writing and film creation, she says, allowed her to evolve as a person and as a scholar.
“The writing process allowed me to reconcile my identity as a Christian, Black woman, advocate and scholar. Through this process, I feel confident about the approach I intend to take in my academic trajectory, as a scholar-advocate.”
The result is Light Piercing Through Darkness:
"A Christian. A Black woman. An academic advocate. In this particular order, these words capture the essence of who I am. For many years, I experienced an internal conflict between these identities. Light Piercing Through Darkness takes you on the journey of how I resolved this conflict and allowed my intersecting identities to merge as one."
“My hope is that my piece gives viewers an opportunity to draw their own conclusions and make their own impressions about identity and belonging.”