Sonya de Laat (MA Anthropology) has always been curious about visual culture as it relates to human engagement with each other and the world. Greatly influenced by this curiosity, she has developed photographic skills and visual theory knowledge to apply in her academic and artistic pursuits. For the past 10 years she has worked as a research coordinator on genetic and cardiovascular health services, end-of-life decision-making, and humanitarian healthcare ethics research projects. Her areas of interest include the political, moral and cultural aspects of photography as they relate to humanitarianism, suffering, difficult knowledge, healthcare and end-of-life care. She brings her multi-disciplinary and multi-practice interests together to reach a broad range of audiences and potential audiences. Her work is focused on drawing attention to photography’s ability to ignite imagination and to spark engagement through its ability to reference the past for contemplation about the future. For Sonya, photography is not just about making snapshots in time or for rhetorical statements, rather it is a medium that quotes from all the continuums that radiate from the events it sets in motion or is implicated in. As such, it is an inherently political and social medium that implicates everyone through unequal power relations and with varying degrees of responsibilities. She is currently pursuing a PhD in the Media Studies program in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at Western University.

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Select Publications:

Nouvet E., de Laat S, Wang C., Abu-Sada C, and Schwartz L. “Opportunities and challenges of perceptions studies for humanitarian contexts.” Canadian Journal of Development Studies. Published online 17 March 2016 DOI: 10.1080/02255189.2015.1120659.

de Laat, S (2015) “Aïm Deüelle Lüski and horizontal photography.” Visual Studies, 31(2). June 2016, pages: 156-157. Published online 20 March 2015. DOI: 10.1080/1472586X.2015.1020084

de Laat S, Schwartz L, Williams-Jones B, Hunt MR, Rochon C, Okhowat A. (2012). “Combat Hospitals’ deployment of ethics and entertainment.” Canadian Medical Association Journal 184(6): 680-681.

de Laat, S (2002) “First Son: Portraits of C. D. Hoy”.  Nexus: The Canadian Student Journal of Anthropology. Volume 15.