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Headshot of Iain Gillis. Photo by Ryan Parker.

I’m a generalist at heart.

I started actively pursuing a career that is more tech-focused and data-analytical about five years ago, moving away from my arts/academia path. I thought about doing so as early as 2012. (Should’ve done it sooner, but here we are.)

I’ve had a lot of success applying scripting to jobs that didn’t nominally require them, and my humanities training and innate curiosity have been a big help in picking up new skills quickly.


I’ve worked mainly in the government, not-for-profit (arts and health), and academic sectors. I’ve also done a fair bit of freelancing work covering web development and design, some graphic design and print layout work (including music notation), copywriting, and project management.


Social network analysis and graph analytics were the only parts of my dissertation that had any lasting interest for me, and working with TEI markup and Python have proven valuable skills elsewhere. I developed those skills as part of the first cohort of NAIT’s data science certificate program.

I sharpened my JavaScript skills in the super niche domain of developing dynamic XFA-PDF forms, during which time I wrote some nifty JavaScript modules for repeating subforms and using higher-order functions in XFA development, ported big.js & Day.js for use in XFA-PDF forms, and did some custom UI work taking advantage of the Acrobat JS API. I also learned a lot about accessibility in that role.

Over the years, I’ve used R, SQL, and VBA quite extensively, with a smattering of PowerShell and AutoHotKey for process automation, for myself, for freelance clients, and for my employers. I managed a Windows Server and Office 365 instance for a year, and have managed a Linux server of my own since . I’ve mostly used PHP for backend development, starting out with WordPress theme tweaking before moving to Grav.


I fairly recently changed my career focus; it’ll take a little while for my writing here to reflect that change. (Imposter syndrome hinders output.)

Most of my writing has been in the form of research papers, program annotations, grants, and technical documentation. Some of my program annotations are available on this site.

I’ve had musicological essays published in the peer-reviewed IKS Bulletin (ISSN 0133-8749) and Musicological Exploration (ISSN 1711-9235). I also served as managing editor at the latter.


It’ll take a little while for my speaking portfolio to reflect my career change, too.

I gave a talk at the Edmonton Tableau User Group in , which is available on YouTube , which includes a couple of tips for how to use Tableau for reproducible pseudorandom sampling, complexity management for power search, and no-code dashboard user guides in Tableau à la shepherd.js.

I’ve presented some of my research at a number of conferences, including the LGBTQ+ Music Study Group symposium (Vienna ), the American Comparative Literature Association’s annual meeting (Los Angeles & Toronto ), the International Kodály Society’s biannual symposium (Camrose, AB ), the Royal Music Association’s annual meeting (Cardiff ), and the Laboratoire international de recherche sur l’imaginaire du Nord, de l’hiver et de l’Arctique (Montreal ).

I have additionally designed and taught two courses at the University of Alberta, and have delivered a number of lectures there, at the University of Victoria, and Vancouver Island University (Nanaimo, BC). While in Victoria, I also gave occasional pre-concert lectures for Pacific Opera Victoria.


I believe that presentations are a kind of performance.

That said, I’ve also done a fair bit of musical-theatrical work in the past, primarily choral. As a tenor, I’ve done a couple of solo recitals, and the solos from the Bach Magnificat; requiems by Mozart, Salieri, and Biber; the first British Columbian performance of Ivan Moody’s Passion and Resurrection; and the role of the Priest in Rachmaninov’s Vespers.

I’ve also produced new music as a performer & conductor, working up and premiering student works and workshopping the Pacific Opera Victoria commission Mary’s Wedding.


My name is “Iain.”

Yes, it is spelled with two I’s. If phonetic alphabets are your cup of tea: India–Alfa–India–November.

No, it is not spelled incorrectly: it’s from the Scottish Gaelic. If eytmology is your cup of tea, here’s a neat little read concerning the names Iain, Ian, and Eoin.

It is pronounced the same as the slightly more recent, and now more common, “Ian”. If IPA is your cup of tea, it’s ˈiːən.

Video: how to pronounce “Iain”

My name is not “Lain”, although I get that a lot. Arial is used too frequently and does a terrible job of distinguishing between uppercase I’s and lowercase l’s: