Margaret Jean Mather Westby is an artist and researcher currently pursuing her PhD at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada with advisors Dr. Christopher Salter, Dr. Krista Geneviève Lynes, and Dr. Mark Sussman. She is the recipient of the Concordia University Full Tuition Recruitment Award and Concordia University Faculty of Fine Arts Graduate Fellowship. She has created and collaborated in art performances, installations, and films throughout Canada, Europe, United Kingdom, and United States.
Her PhD thesis, Empowering the Female Machine: Remapping Gender Dynamics in Technologically Augmented Dance Performance, makes a “mess” of dance through the framework of feminist Science and Technology Studies (STS). Briefly defined, the practice and performance of technologically augmented dance combines human and machine-based actions, where a feedback loop occurs between technical apparatuses and a body in motion in real-time. Her research question asks: in collaborative projects involving dance and technology, how do issues of agency, materiality, and gendered subjectivity arise, operate, and govern both research and development and the production processes? She argues for a historical account of gender, technology, and dance and question the very terms of relationality by articulating these dynamics that occur through particular modern and postmodern epistemic regimes. As a female dancer and technologist, her experience produces a unique form of situated knowledge and kinesthetic sense that serves as her foundation of analysis.
Hailing from Detroit, Michigan, she has been involved in dance from a young age and received professional training in ballet, modern, and contemporary dance. She attended Interlochen Arts Academy as a dance major and the independent study program at the Ailey School in New York City. She received a BA in dance and communication arts, magna cum laude, from Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. At Brunel University in London, England, she completed her Masters of Art in Contemporary Performance Making with her sonic performative practical dissertation work Ricochet.
She has been engaged with technology in corporate environments in her employment history and in collaborative art projects in interactive installations, films, and sound projects throughout her academic and artistic career. She has worked for such companies as Fuse Television, Universal Motown Records Group, and AOL Television. In addition to her personal film projects, she has also participated in the Ripfest Film Festival, worked as the Digital Imaging Technician for the short film, "The Waiting Man", competed in 60secondsdance.dk 2011, and participated in Globe Trot, a collaboration with filmmaker Mitchell Rose and choreographer Bebe Miller.
She has presented work at numerous international conferences including the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) Conference,AdaCamp, The Congress of Research in Dance, and Digital Resources for the Humanities and Arts (DRHA), to name a few. She is a Hexagram student member and part of the Feminist Media Studio in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
She currently resides in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.