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Portrait of Cyrus Sundar Singh

Cyrus Sundar Singh

EducationMFA, Ryerson University. PhD (ABD), Ryerson-York University.
Areas of ExpertiseDigital storytelling research, documentary media, creative mentorship, multiculturalism, community liaison, multimedia writer/producer/director/composer

Cyrus is an AcademiCreActivist, external link: a Gemini Award-winning filmmaker, scholar, songwriter, composer, poet, and change-maker, who continues to expand and find cracks in conventional boundaries through his research, films and music. 

His research and productions have taken him around the world including India, Israel, Spain, Haiti, Jamaica, and Sri Lanka.  His documentary/storytelling career began with his award-winning debut Film Club, external link (2001), which was followed by a site-specific, hybrid, live-documentary world premiere of Brothers In The Kitchen, external link (2016) and his MFA thesis project Africville in Black and White, external link (2017/18).

Cyrus's ongoing practice-based scholarship examines two distinct communities of refugees that reflect Canada’s duality of sanctuary and betrayal, and which have become symbolic bookends of identity, displacement and belonging: Tamil Sri Lankans who fled a brutal civil war and found refuge in Canada; and former residents of Africville who were forcefully evicted and became refugees in their own country of citizenship. Most recently, Cyrus successfully produced, and mentored the i am… storytelling project: 28 short-films by 28 graduate students from across Canada exploring identity and belonging—all produced from within their individual pandemic bubbles.

Cyrus has written, produced and directed work in a range of genres including documentary, reality, food, and lifestyle for various international broadcasters including BellMedia, CBC, VisionTV, Smithsonian Channel, Discovery Channel, and MuchMusic. Recognition for his work includes a Genie Award for Moving Day, a Gemini-Award nomination for Twisted Sheets, external link and Film Club, external link, and 1st Prize, International Jewish Video Competition for Salaam Shalom: The Jews of India. His musical scores for CBC Radio Drama have premiered to national and international audiences, and his singer/songwriter work includes the critically acclaimed CD Sun to Star, external link. His writings have been published in poetry anthologies, academic journals, including peer-reviewed medical journals. 

Cyrus serves on numerous boards and steering committees within Toronto’s Community Housing neighbourhoods including Regent Park, St. James Town and Thorncliffe Park.  

Recent publications

(2021) Floating to the Lure of the Promised Land in  Refuge in Canada: Narratives of Dislocation, external link (2021  Athabasca University Press

(2020) How We See: The Colourization of Race., external link, opens in new window  Gnois, Graduate Journal of Philosophy (18.1)

Recent photo and video installations

(2019)  Emancipation2Africville, external link, as part of Africville: A Spirit that Lives On-A Reflection Project,  , external linkat the MSVU Art Gallery in Nova Scotia.  

(2018) foot[age] at WC2 Symposium Toronto and at the Bata Shoe Museum (2015/17).


Photo credit: Jae Yang