Swallowtail Light

Swallowtail Light
Swallowtail Light: video still


I am a survivor. As a woman living with a disability and a single parent of a child with special needs, I have needed, as I age, to transform survival into celebration. This celebration is my learning in and through the arts and has been revealed through a passion-in-practice, in action, movement, writing, speaking and making. It is a practice in process - a praxis - in which theory is imbedded in living. It takes shape through  my teaching in studio, art history, art theory, liberal studies and interdisciplinary studies through complex relationships.
            For years I worked in various capacities as artist, actor, director, movement coach, choreographer, mime, dancer, writer, curator, academic, visual and performance artist, professor, teacher and educator. But in coming to my PhD thesis work I focussed, and became the confluence of this multiplicity. In the writing, researching, art making and performing of my thesis, I looked at my learning in/with an art educational community called the Bay Area Artists for Women’s Art. I came to see learning as embodied, dialogic, inclusive - not fixed, always open and evolving, multifaceted and complex.

            This continues to inform my pedagogical practice. I see learning as thrilling in its implications - knowledge is always so, for through questioning, thinking, looking, listening, seeing we challenge our assumptions and learn to stretch who we are, what we know and what we believe we know. A creative self reflective practice is imbedded in my teaching process. While critical, it is also informed by an impulse which is open, inclusive, generous, respectful and unassuming.

            This informs the development of a student who is self-aware, self-critical, self-directed and empowered in her own practice. My teaching is then student-centred and rooted in an understanding of the value of the individual experience and the relevance of this experience to art educational practice. It is a pleasurable, inclusive process.

            I invite student-colleagues to take on an exploration which involves rigorously and joyfully pursuing an integration in art curricula of thought and action, artist and educator.  For art education, this means we engage with the writings (historical and contemporary) of those such as Suzanne Langer, Herbert Read, John Dewey, Elliot Eisner, Howard Gardner and Roger Clark exploring potential curriculum and practices. Students then have the theoretical and practical tools to reflect on, and enact, directions and possibilities for the studio and classroom. Ah, to be a thinking, feeling individual ever expanding self and practice, teasing boundaries to open, to discover oneself and one’s studio classroom to be multi-perspectival and multi-abled - now wouldn’t that be interesting?

Faculty Bio. OCADU
Courses currently teaching:
INTR 3B05 Art & Design Education Lab (with internships at Art Gallery of Ontario)
CROS 4B02 Art & Design Education Lab- Advanced (with community internships)