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Three Questions

28 short films, exploring 3 questions

Films can be viewed on the interactive platform at

i am... Lesson Plans for Grade 9-12


In fall 2020, CERC Migration invited graduate students from across Canada to submit proposals to be part of an exciting opportunity to capture their creative reflection in a three-minute video exploring their sense of identity and belonging or not belonging.   

A cohort of 28 graduate students was selected.  Participants undertook a six-month journey where they received mentorship and support to produce an engaging and creative video that conveyed their unique story.  

Works are now complete and were unveiled at a premiere on June 10, 2021.  A video of the premiere can be found here.

i am is a Digital Storytelling Research Project of the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Migration and Integration program, led by CERC Migration Chair Anna Triandafyllidou and Gemini Award-winning filmmaker Cyrus Sundar Singh.


The i am cohort:

Steven Aeng, Master of Public Service, University of Waterloo

Tenzin Butsang, PhD, Social and Behaviour Health, University of Toronto

Kaylee Downey, Master of Social Work, University of Windsor

Arij Elmi, Social Justice Education, University of Toronto

Danah Elsayed, Family Relations and Human Development, University of Guelph

Donovan Hayden, Theatre and Performance Studies, York University

Karina Hincapié, PhD Spanish, University of Calgary

Nooreen Hussain, Immigration and Settlement Studies, Ryerson University

Viveka Ichikawa, PhD Social Work, University of Toronto

Hussein Janmohamed, PhD Music Education, ABD, University of Toronto

Neomi Jayaratne, Master of Environmental Studies, Wilfrid Laurier

Marycarmen Lara Villanueva, PhD in Social Justice Education, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto 

Nicole Lee, MSc Kinesiology, Lakehead University

Amelia Merhar, PhD Human Geography, University of Waterloo

Soo Kyung Min, Educational Leadership and Policy, OISE, University of Toronto

Nazanin Mirzadeh, Master of Education, Adult Education and Community Development, OISE University of Toronto

Zehra Palta, Language and Literacies Education, University of Toronto

Sana Patel, PhD, Classics and Religious Studies, University of Ottawa

Temi Phillips, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, University of Calgary

Yasmine Rabia,  MBA, Laurentian University

Samita Sarwan, Master of Social Work, University of Windsor

Philip Semple, PhD, Higher Education, OSIE, University of Toronto

Devon Sereda Goldie, Master of Arts, Applied Theatre, University of Victoria

Chelsea Thomas, PhD in Educational Studies, University of Victoria

Kadija Tulloch, Criminology & Sociolegal Studies, University of Toronto

Bruno Vompean, MEd Social Justice Education, University of Toronto

Eddy Wang, Master in Cinema and Media Studies, University of Toronto

Joel Zhang, Master in One Health, Western/George Brown


Identity is foundational in nurturing a sense of self, belonging, and culture. It also serves as a point of reference towards (mis)understanding the world around us locally and globally. Throughout our lives, how we are identified, individually or as a group, impedes or advances access and opportunity. Adding to this subjective mix are colonial ideologies of race, skin colour, and ethnicity that serve to enslave, subjugate, and disenfranchise individuals or groups along racial lines. Thus, identity is intrinsically biased. Therefore, how we choose to be seen (identify) or how we are seen (identified) is critical to not only the quality of our lives but in extreme moments of bigotry, racism, and fear, may also become the difference between living and dying.

CERC Migration is undertaking the i am... project to take a closer look at the stories that young Canadians can tell us about who we are and who we want to be. Narratives are important to policy making as they tell stories, create legitimacy or provide justification for a means to an end. This is particularly so in the case of migration and diversity issues as those narratives tell stories about who belongs and who does not and make explicit hidden barriers in society. The need for a better understanding of matters of identity and belonging has become even more urgent in the current context of pandemic vulnerabilities, border closures and mobilization against anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism in Canada (and internationally).

Related News

50 years of multiculturalism: Who is gate-keeping Canadianness? (external link)  essay by Anna Triandafyllidou

Starting Out by Bruno Vompean at Festival du nouveau cinéma de Montréal (FNC)

Angie Seth from "Realities of Racism (external link) " segment on CTV interviewed co-lead Cyrus Sundar Singh and cohort Philip Semple on his film F.I.N.E. and confronting the Canadian identity.

50 years after Canada adopted multiculturalism, a new film project is checking on our progress (external link)  an article published in the Toronto Star written by Nicholas Keung. 

In collaboration with