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MELISSA SHIFF

Highlights

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Endowed Lecture

The Virtual Archive: Imagining I.N. Steinberg's Jewish Refuge in the Kimberley

Center for Jewish History, New York, NY

November 13, 2017

This presentation reviews an exciting collaborative project that constructs a virtual world to image and imagine I. N. Steinberg’s plans for a Jewish refugee settlement in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. This virtual world takes shape by mobilizing thousands of digitized documents from the Steinberg collection at the YIVO archives in an innovative and informative way.

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Grant Winner

SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada)

2015

SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada) has awarded Melissa Shiff a major grant for the research and creation of her collaborative project: Mapping Ararat: An Imaginary Jewish Homelands Project.

This project will utilize the cutting edge technology of augmented reality to imagine an alternative history for Grand Island New York creating an on site walking tour for this Jewish homeland originally proposed by Major Mordecai Noah in 1825.

Shiff's collaborators are new media artist, Professor John Craig Freeman of Emerson College in Boston and photography and new media historian, Professor Louis Kaplan of University of Toronto.

Stay tuned as the project progresses...

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Lecture

Mapping Ararat: Augmented Reality and the Imagining of a Jewish Homeland

Mahindra Humanities Centre at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

April 6, 2013

Professors Melissa Shiff and Louis Kaplan have been invited to present "Mapping Ararat: Augmented Reality and the Imagining of a Jewish Homeland" as part of the workshop "Mining Imagination: Ethnographic Approaches Beyond Knowledge Production" to be held at the Mahindra Humanites Center, Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The workshop is on April 6th and it is organized by Dr. Michaela Schäuble (Post-Doctoral Fellow, Visual Anthropology). Other participants include Professors Lisa Cartwright, Andrew Irving, Kathryn Ramey and Paul Stoller.

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Appointment

Research Associate at Sensorium: Centre for Digital Arts and Technology

York University, North York, ON

Fall 2014 - Present

In fall 2014, Shiff was appointed as a Research Associate at the Sensorium. In April 2015, she was awarded a SSHRC Research/Creation Insight Grant to take Imaginary Jewish Homelands global. Shiff and her team will be creating augmented reality walking tours in Port Davey, Tasmania; Kimberley, Western Australia; and the Saramacca district of Suriname.

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Seminar

Mapping Ararat: Remembering an Imagined Jewish Homeland

Columbia University, New York, NY

February 3, 2014

We have been invited by Professor Marianne Hirsch to present Mapping Ararat at one of the most prestigious University seminar series in North America.

We will speak for 45 minutes and screen our video: Mapping Ararat: Globally Positioned Sites. This will be followed by a second hour of discussion.

This event is free and open to the public.

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Workshop

Mapping Ararat: Reanimating History

Center for Jewish History, New York, NY

January 29, 2014

Mapping Ararat has been selected as one of four projects that will be featured at a workshop at The Center for Jewish History on January 29, 2014. The workshop explores case studies that transform visual and material culture drawn from the archive into public history and, in our case, into art as well.

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Endowed Lecture

Samuel and Bettie Roberts Lecture in Jewish Art

Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT

November 13, 2009

Melissa Shiff has been invited to give the biannual endowed Samuel and Bettie Roberts Lecture in Jewish Art in the spring semester of 2009. More details to follow.

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Workshop

Association for Jewish Studies Conference: Mapping Ararat Roundtable

Sheraton Hotel, Boston, MA

December 16, 2013

Session Participants: Moderator: Jeffrey Shandler, (Rutgers University) Discussants: Jennifer Glaser (University of Cincinnati), Shelley Hornstein (York University), Todd Presner ( University of California, Los Angeles), Gavriel Rosenfeld (Fairfield University), Melissa Shiff (University of Toronto), Louis Kaplan (University of Toronto).

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Lecture

Reanimating Ararat: Two Perspectives on Mordecai Noah's Jewish Homeland

Jackman Humanities Institute, Toronto, ON

April 16, 2012

Appointment

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Assistant Professor in Department of Jewish Studies

University of Toronto, Toronto, ON

July 1, 2011

Melissa Shiff has been appointed to a three year term in the Department of Art at the University of Toronto. Her title is Assistant Professor. During her tenure, her research will be focused on the SSHRC Insight Development Grant "Mapping Ararat."

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Grant Winner

SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada)

2011

SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada) has awarded Melissa Shiff a major grant for the research and creation of her collaborative project: Mapping Ararat: An Imaginary Jewish Homelands Project.

This project will utilize the cutting edge technology of augmented reality to imagine an alternative history for Grand Island New York creating an on site walking tour for this Jewish homeland originally proposed by Major Mordecai Noah in 1825.

Shiff's collaborators are new media artist, Professor John Craig Freeman of Emerson College in Boston and photography and new media historian, Professor Louis Kaplan of University of Toronto.

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Grant Winner

Jewish Community Foundation of Montreal

2011

Melissa Shiff has been awarded a significant grant to mount The Medium is the Matzo in Montreal, Passover 2011, Concordia University. 

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Cover Art

Jews, God and Videotape

By Jeffrey Shandler

NYU Press, 2010

Excerpt, Page 172: " On occasion, a bride and groom conceptualize their wedding as an original work of art of their own making, in which mediation defines the structure of the celebration as forthrightly as religious protocol. Such was the case when media installation artist Melissa Shiff and her husband, art historian Louis Kaplan, planned their wedding, which took place in Toronto on 12 October 2003. Shiff describes the ceremony as a reinvented ritual, using "postmodern artistic strategies" that negotiate "between contemporary performance art and the customs of the traditional Jewish wedding."

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In the Canon

Making Art Form and Meaning

By Terry Barrett

McGraw-Hill, 2010

Her work appears in the chapter: Postmodern Strategies for Making Art, other artists included in this chapter are Grand Fury, Cindy Sherman, Guillermo Gomez-Peña

Appointment

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Adjunct Professor in Department of Jewish Studies

University of Toronto, Toronto, ON

Fall 2008

Melissa Shiff has recently been appointed Adjunct Professor in the Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto for a three year term. The appointment of Adjunct Professor is given only to distinguished individuals who have special expertise needed to complement academic programs.

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Endowed Lecture

Objects of Affection: The Jewish Wedding in Media and Material Culture

Center for Jewish History, New York, NY

April 13, 2008

Melissa Shiff has been invited to give the biannual endowed Samuel and Bettie Roberts Lecture in Jewish Art in the spring semester of 2009. More details to follow.

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Conference

Association for Jewish Studies Conference: Jewish Museums and Displays: New Directions, Obstacles and Opportunities

Toronto, ON

December 16 - 18, 2007

Displaying Judaica: Secularizing the Sacred

Reesa Greenberg lectures on ARK in her paper entitled:

Panel Chair: James E. Young

Engaging Contemporary Art in Jewish Studies: A Scholar's Rountable with Three Contemporary Toronto Artists.

Organized by Professor Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett and Professor Jeffrey Shandler . Melissa Shiff will present her work and two scholars will also present on Shiff's projects --Shelley Hornstein and Chava Weissler

Chair:  Jeffrey Shandler

Artists:  Melissa Shiff, Rafael Goldchain, and Meyer Kirshenblatt (with Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett)

Panelists: Jonathan Boyarin, John Efron, Shelley Hornstein, Olga Litvak, Chava Weissler, and Carol Zemel

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