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Teaching

Teaching Philosophy

Students’ varied learning styles are most effectively engaged through interactive and sensory-based teaching methods. I produce engaging and accessible content in my art and design classes by employing verbal discussions; visual blackboard brainstorming; tactile in-class computer-based research; oral-visual guest presentations by creative professionals and community leaders; hands-on demos and practice sessions; visceral and conceptual engagement during critiques; and real-world tours of progressive sites and exhibitions such as CNIB Centre, Evergreen Brick Works, and AGO.

Budding artists and designers become effective and compelling by grappling with social and ecological challenges. I have students research and present on current events; infuse my lesson plans and delivery of content with knowledge I gain from my involvement in creative, technical and civic communities; and bring thought and action leaders from these communities into my classrooms to inspire students in conversation and critical thinking. The communities I have relationships with include: local and international artists, designers and teachers of various disciplines; technical engineers and inventors; city councillors; and community leaders and volunteers from organizations such as Citizens for a Healthy Toronto Waterfront, and David Susuki’s National Homegrown Park Project.

Working with organizations and real-world projects helps students build practical knowledge, problem-solving skills and teamwork before they graduate. For example, I developed and guided my Experience Design class through a five-week project that manifested into a printed guide, AODA standard accessibility recommendations for Green Communities of Canada. In my Think Tank; Awareness class, teams of students collaborated with Good Robot to invent designs that foster improved intergenerational communication between grandchildren and grandparents.

I am driven by my love for community, the natural environment, interactive and immersive technologies, inclusive design, and working with the young and creative minds who are taking forward the torch in re-imagining our world. I hold and express a genuine interest in my students’ experiences and ideas of the world. I increase the depth of discussions in the classroom through the interest and respect I hold for the young and creative minds that attend my classes. These values are infectious, build positive relationships, and foster learning.

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Teaching Experience

My teaching is rooted in my knowledge of Media Art, Installation Art, experimental photo-based mediums, and my involvement in ecological and social justice issues. My early teaching career involved several years delivering of Media Art workshops to economically and geographically disadvantaged youth in Toronto and remote northern Ontario communities. For the last five years, I have been an OCADU Sessional Instructor, teaching and developing first and second year curriculum, including Photography for Communication, Experience Design, and Think Tank; Awareness.

My teaching is informed by my multimedia art practice, which explores the human body through costume, ritual, socially inscribed objects and spaces, and inner corporeal experiences. My love for the body has drawn me into a fascinating four-years as Facilitator of Luminous Bodies art residency, whereby artists from all over the world gather for 2-weeks to reinvent the human body in most heterogeneous forms. More recently, I developed Naked State art residency, whereby the artists and myself as Facilitator live as naturists (in the nude) to create artworks about the nude human body in context of nature, culture and art. These interdisciplinary art residencies take place in Canadian and European communities through my organization, Arts Unfold.

 

Future Teaching

I am looking to teach a seminar or studio course on Politics of the Nude Body in Art (working title), which will be narrowed to a specific area of art. The course covers topics such as: nudity in art as a reflection of, and reaction to, social attitudes of time and place; differences in the representation of nudes based on gender; various forms of censorship of the nude, including censorship in social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc.). For this last topic, preparatory content on the reproduction of art in the digital age is included. As a naturist and feminist, nudity has recently made it into my practice, first as physical struggles with clothing captured as selfies, then into newer works questioning elements around class, gender, beauty ideals, and over-consumption. My interest in expression through the nude body has expanded through the Naked State art residency.  I developed, organized and will facilitate the residency on an annual basis at Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park, just north of Toronto. Out of this growing research and creation, I have delivered a guest lecture at University of Toronto on the subject of Censorship of the Nude in Western Art. This lecture has inspired me to expand its content into the proposed course, Politics of the Nude Body in Art.

Other courses I am interested in teaching are: digital photographyexperimental photographic processes; media art, installation art; and courses on the politics and experiences of the human body.