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Professor Kay Armatage is jointly appointed to the Institute of Women’s Studies and Gender Studies and Innis College Cinema Studies. She is seen as a key founder in both disciplines. In 1971, while still a graduate student in the Department of English, she was part of collective that organized and taught the first inter-disciplinary course in Women Studies - FSW 200: Women in Society. By 1974, she had her Ph.D. in English at the same time the University began offering a minor in Women Studies. As a Lecturer, Prof. Armatage helped develop and co- taught NEW 260 : Introduction to Women’s Studies, along with colleagues Sylvia Van Kirk and Kathryn Morgan. Around the same time, the study of cinema was developing and Prof. Armatage, along with colleagues Joe Medjuck and Bart Testa, developed INI/NEW 212, Introduction to Cinema Studies. Throughout her career, Prof. Armatage has continued to develop and teach over a dozen new courses in both disciplines, often combining the two, such as in Women’s Film and Literature, Women’s Cinema and Women and Representation.
Her academic writing, again, reflects both her interest in film and feminism. Her book, The Girl from God’s Country: Nell Shipman and the Silent Cinema, celebrates an early Canadian actor and director. In 1999 she co-edited Gendering the Nation: Canadian Women’s Cinema. She has published extensively in refereed journals, contributed articles to books and given over fifty lectures on her areas of interest which include women filmmakers, feminist theory and Canadian cinema.
Along with her academic work, Prof. Armatage has undertaken activities in a more public forum. Between 1975 and 1987, she produced seven experimental narrative and documentary films. Her last film on artist Joyce Wieland, Artist on Fire (1987) earned her a Gemini nomination for Best Television Documentary. From 1983-2004, she was one of the senior international programmers of the Toronto International Film Festival. It was due in part to these endeavours that she was seen as having made a major contribution to the study of women and film. For all of her work, she has been recognized with several awards including YWCA Woman of Distinction 1989 and Toronto Women in Film in Video Special Award for Contribution to Women’s Film Culture 1988. She has also been awarded several research and arts grants throughout her career including a Canada Council Senior Artist’s Grant (1992) and a SSHRC research grant (1995).