IICSI Announces Dr. Eric Fillion as its new Director

Dr. Fillion will work together with IICSI’s founder and current director, Dr. Ajay Heble, over the next two months to ensure a smooth transition and to get acquainted with the institute’s day-to-day operations.

July 4, 2024 (Guelph, ON)—The International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (IICSI) at the University of Guelph is absolutely thrilled to announce that Dr. Eric Fillion will be joining the Institute as the new Director of IICSI and as an Assistant Professor in the School of Languages and Literatures at the University of Guelph, effective July 1, 2024.Dr. Fillion brings extensive research and organizational skills to IICSI’s international team. He is an accomplished historian with a PhD from Concordia University and was most recently a Buchanan postdoctoral fellow at Queen’s University. His interdisciplinary work explores the interplay between culture and politics, situating Quebec and Canada in the broader world in which this relationship unfolds. He is the author and editor of three books and has published, presented, and broadcast widely on topics such as festival culture in Canada, music and diasporas beyond the US-Canada border, cultural diplomacy, and free jazz and other forms of improvised music in Montreal. In addition, Dr. Fillion is the founder of the non-profit archival imprint Tenzier and a talented musician (a drummer on hiatus) with eight albums and several festival performances to his credit.

Dr. Fillion is already a named co-investigator on IICSI’s “Improvising Futures” grant and an editor of its peer-reviewed journal, Critical Studies in Improvisation/Études critiques en improvisation. His leadership is expected to bring fresh perspectives and new directions to IICSI’s critical work, while building on its existing strengths and successes. To that end, Dr. Fillion notes, “I have been deeply inspired by the constellation of research objects, methodologies, pedagogies, and creative outputs that IICSI’s pathbreaking approach to research, training, and arts-based community-making has made possible, and I intend to honour this legacy while also charting out new directions for the future of the Institute.”

To ensure a smooth transition, IICSI’s founding Director, Dr. Ajay Heble, will continue in his role and duties for the next two months until his retirement at the end of August, allowing Dr. Fillion to shadow Dr. Heble and get acquainted with IICSI’s day-to-day operation. About this exciting news and next step for the institute, Dr. Heble remarks, “Dr. Eric Fillion is a rising star. With him at the helm of IICSI, I feel confident not only that our Institute’s legacy will be honoured, preserved, and carried into the future, but also that the exciting new energies that inevitably come with new leadership can be productively unleashed. I know that he’ll be treasured as a colleague, friend, and team member by staff, students, faculty, and community partners alike.”

For more information about Dr. Fillion and his work, please visit his website at ericfillion.org.

We look forward to the exciting contributions Dr. Fillion will bring to IICSI and our community.

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