Alumnus/Alumna profile

Renee Jackson

MA 10, PhD 16
Inspiring wonderment in students of all ages

Renee Jackson is an artist, educator and scholar, whose research interests relate to game design and game play as collaborative art forms and learning tools. Jackson has worked as an art educator at both the elementary and secondary levels, in public, private, and community settings in urban contexts.

Tell me about yourself — Who are you?

I am an artist/art educator from Hamilton Ontario. Central to my art practice is the ambition to inspire a sense of wonderment in the viewer. After completing my BFA in Visual Arts at York University, I realized that I wanted to teach people to find and grow this sense of wonderment and that I wanted to become an art teacher. I returned to school to attain a BEd with a specialization in Art Education from NSCAD. I taught at both the elementary and secondary levels for a number of years before realizing that I wanted to have an impact on the education system itself. This was my motivation to return to school, at the graduate level at Concordia University.

What are you doing right now? How does your present work relate to art and art education?

Currently I am a tenure track Assistant Professor and Program Head of Art Education in the Art Education and Community Arts Practices department at Tyler School of Art and Architecture, Temple University, in Philadelphia. We have a Master’s in Education Program (MEd), and an MEd with certification program. We also offer teaching certification programs for BFA students and BS in Education students. Similar to Concordia, we are situated in a Fine Arts context. Needless to say, my present work directly relates to art and art education, and to my experience at Concordia!

How did Concordia’s ARTE program prepare you for what you are presently doing?

My MA in Art Education from Concordia is foundational to what I am presently doing! I loved learning with my cohort of graduate students at the time. Many of us are still in touch and continue to collaborate and support one another. There were also many specific pivotal moments for me during my MA in Art Education. I remember realizing that reading critically means that you have to really interrogate the claims and supports an author attempts to make. I also came to understand what research in Art Education really is or has the potential to be. I enjoyed putting this new understanding into practice through class assignments.

Describe one of your positive formative experiences while you were in the program at Concordia

During one of our research classes, we met professor Lynn Hughes. Lynn spoke of her work creating video games with purposes beyond entertainment, using sculptural controllers that she designed, calling upon the players to interact in unexpected, collaborative ways. I was on the edge of my seat having not thought about video games since my deep love of Atari, Nintendo and Gameboy throughout my childhood and adolescence. Learning about this realm of work and research that I didn’t know existed, had a deep impact on me. What I didn’t realize at the time was that this fascination would continue to grow into my dissertation research at the doctoral level.

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