Meet the Team

Alexandre da Costa, Conference Organizer

Dr. Alexandre Da Costa is a co-organizer of this workshop and Assistant Professor of Theoretical, Cultural, and International Studies in Education in the Department of Educational Policy Studies. He has a background in interdisciplinary sociology and cultural studies as well as a decade of research on racial and cultural politics in Brazil that has focused on cultural production, social movements and state policy. His work on Afro-Brazilians is deeply attentive to the historical role of culture in Brazilian identity and state development projects. Dr. Da Costa’s book entitled, Reimagining Black Difference and Politics in Brazil: From Racial Democracy to Multiculturalism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) is on the cultural activism and anti-racism of black social movements and their struggles for educational reforms. The book examines diverse cultural practices and forms of community organizing, including protests during carnival celebrations, hip hip, dance performance, and activist workshops, which all aim to advance the cause of equality for black Brazilians. Dr. Da Costa has also published articles on these and related topics in diverse academic journals.

Dia Da Costa, Conference Organizer


Dr. Dia Da Costa is a co-organizer of this workshop and Associate Professor of Theoretical, Cultural and International Studies in the Department of Educational Policy Studies. She is the author of Development Dramas: Reimagining Rural Political Action in Eastern India (Routledge, 2009) and Politicizing Creative Economy: Activism and a Hunger called Theatre (University of Illinois Press, 2016). She analyzes cultural politics of ‘development,’ the politics and pedagogies of activism and solidarity, and unrecognized spaces of creativity and knowledge to understand the intersecting histories of colonial-capitalist, nationalist, leftist, and neoliberal politics.



Benjamin Denga, Logistics and Planning Assitant

Benjamin Denga is both an MBA graduate and a Masters student within the  Adult, Community and Higher Education Specialization in the department of Educational policy studies at the University of Alberta. His current research interests and project are strongly oriented around the intersections between community (and social economy) education and community development. He is passionate about creating and contributing to the development of creative and practical solutions that enhance the optimization of education for local community economic (and sustainable) development purposes whilst addressing the associated challenges. Benjamin has a rich history of active involvement in skills development/ educational projects in South Africa and Nigeria and is currently participating in a two GRA projects with two different professors in the Department of Educational Policy studies. The first project is aimed at developing an Educational Framework for the Social Economy of Canada. The second is on providing logistical and other/related support for the international Workshop on Reimagining creative economy. As a UAlberta Career Centre Peer Educator, he is also involved in a university-wide project with the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research (FGSR) where he coordinates the logistics/scheduling of Professional Development/Individual Plan Development sessions for graduate students in direct liaison with departmental chairs, graduate coordinators, graduate administrators and student leaders of departmental GSAs.


Ipek Oskay, WebDesign & Communications Assistant

Ipek Oskay is a PhD student in Sociology at the University of Alberta, currently writing her thesis entitled ‘Beneath the Paving Stones- the City: On the Politics of Commons” under the supervision of Dr. Rob Shields. During and after her B.S. in Sociology, in Turkey, she worked as a freelance field researcher and consultant for several projects of national and international organizations. In Canada, she has worked as an editorial assistant to Sage Journal, Space and Culture and been coordinating the Space and Culture Research Group at the University of Alberta. She has also taken part in various urban, environmental and rural movements in Turkey as a political activist, and worked for many local community rights organizations, cooperatives, and collectives. Most of her academic work intersects the philosophical literature on knowledge, subject and aesthetics, and the themes of political sociology – particularly commons, urban movements, citizenship, and Ottoman and Turkish modernization discourse. Currently she is writing on the exchange between the works of Agamben and Derrida, a problematization of unilateral historicity in the socio-historical writings and theorization of social movements with reference to Gezi Uprising in Istanbul in 2013, and the idea of community and commons while developing an interactive sound map of the Islands of Istanbul (can be reached at


Adam Saifer, Workshop Reviewer

Adam Saifer is a PhD candidate in the Cultural Studies program at Queen’s University. His research looks at the ways in which discourses of the nation shape the policies and programs of Canadian arts-based nonprofits and charitable foundations. He is particularly interested in how young artists working within these programs engage with, resist, and negotiate dominant conceptions of what Canada “is”. Adam Saifer will be present at the workshop to act as scribe in order to write and publish a workshop review following the event.