CITY Staff

Professor William Jenkins

Interim Director of the City Institute

William Jenkins is an associate professor in the Department of History in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies. A Dubliner by birth, he completed a PhD at the University of Toronto on Irish immigrant experiences in Buffalo, USA, and Toronto, Canada, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He has also published on issues of social and economic transformation in rural Ireland in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and more than twenty articles on his research on Ireland and the Irish diaspora in the United States and Canada have appeared in edited collections and journals such as the Journal of Urban History, Immigrants & Minorities, and the Journal of Historical Geography. In 2013, his book Between Raid and Rebellion: the Irish in Buffalo and Toronto 1867-1916 was published by McGill-Queen’s University Press and has since received awards by four scholarly bodies. He is currently editing a volume of essays on Canada and the Great Irish Famine and is preparing a manuscript on the transatlantic dimensions of the famine as they relate to the evolution of Toronto between the early 1840s and early 1880s.

Previous CITY Staff

Ellen Spencer

Coordinator (2020) 

Ellen is a seasoned Executive Assistant with over 20 years of experience in the resource industry. She also spent time as the Operations Manager at the Toronto location of a for-profit Academy. Ellen recently worked with York’s Schulich School of Business, where she was responsible for the execution of the Inaugural Virtual Celebration for the IMBA graduates of 2020. She studied Accounting at the University of Toronto, during which time she received her Mutual Fund and Canadian Securities licenses. She also studied Business Administration at Georgian College

Francesca D’Amico-Cuthbert

Coordinator (2018 - 2020)

Francesca D’Amico-Cuthbert is the Coordinator at the City Institute. She took on the role in January 2018. Francesca has a Masters degree in History, and is currently nearing the completion of her PhD studies in American History at York University. Her research interests include the history of urban popular music forms in the United States and Canada, feminist readings of popular culture, and the relationship of racialized artists to social justice movements and state apparatuses and discourses. Francesca is also a filmmaker currently working on two documentary projects (and accompanying film curriculums) that focus on mixed race identities and the history of Caribbean-Canadian social and cultural contributions to the city of Toronto. To contact Francesca, please email her at or

Sara Macdonald

Coordinator (2006-2017)

Sara Macdonald is the former Coordinator of the City Institute and the previous Project Coordinator of the MCRI "Global Suburbanisms" research project. She is currently working on her PhD at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Sara has her Master's in Environmental Studies from York University and her research interests include urban and regional planning, suburban growth and development and greenbelts. She has been with the City Institute since 2006.

Urbanization, Gender, and the Global South (GenUrb) - Staff

Leeann Bennett

Grant Manager
Leeann Bennett is the Grant Manager of the new SSHRC Partnership Grant, Urbanization, Gender, and the Global South: a transformative knowledge network, with Dr. Linda Peake, at the City Institute. She took on this role in November 2017. Leeann has been the coordinator of the CITY Institute since April 2017, but has worked at CITY in various roles since 2013.  Leeann has a Master's degree in Women's Studies from York University. Her research interests include Sexuality Studies, particularly sex work and LGBTQ activism, Caribbean Studies, transnational feminism, feminist methods and methodologies, and popular culture. To contact Leeann, please email her at