Raey Costain

Raey Costain

PhD student


Andrea N. Walsh


Visual anthropology and materiality

I am a settler living with gratitude on Lekwungen territory. My pronouns are they/them.

I have been pursuing my studies at UVic since 2017, completing first a BA (2020) and then an MA (2022) in anthropology. I am now embarking on a PhD under the supervision of Dr Andrea Walsh.

Through my SSHRC-funded MA research, I took up comic drawing as a means of exploring nonbinary experiences with visuality and the dynamics of being seen. I conducted this research primarily through social media, connecting with nonbinary individuals throughout Canada and the US.

As the Smyth Chair Fellow working in the Visual Stories Lab (Visual Research Lab) in the anthropology department, I have had the pleasure of learning from Dr Andrea Walsh and Dr Jennifer Robinson as part of their curatorial team. Assisting in exhibition design, digital communications development, and archiving has allowed me to pursue another area of interest: creative applications of digital technology to visual anthropology. 

In pursuing a PhD, I am interested in further developing my drawing methodology in all stages of research, including research communications and knowledge mobilization for the purpose of advocacy and education. I am grateful for the opportunity to pursue this goal in an interdisciplinary way through a research assistantship with Dr Charlotte Schallié (Germanic and Slavic Studies) on the Narrative Art & Visual Storytelling project (SSHRC Connections Grant).

My research interests involve queer creative research, alternative archives, life story drawing, and social justice research. My non-research interests involve playing piano, baking, writing sci-fi, and picking up shiny rocks on the beach.

Website: https://nbvisualnarratives.ca/