Skip to main content

Elaine Cheasley Paterson, PhD

Professor of Craft Studies, Art History
Associate Dean, Academic Programmes and Pedagogy, Fine Arts

Elaine Cheasley Paterson, PhD
© Jack Paterson


Dr Elaine Cheasley Paterson is Professor of Craft Studies in the Department of Art History at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Concordia University in Montréal, Canada. She holds a PhD from Queen's University (Kingston, 2004), where she was a recipient of the Bader Fellowship in Art History. 


Her research concerns women's cultural philanthropy in early twentieth-century British, Irish and Canadian craft guilds of the home arts movement and for tracing a lineage from this historical material to current resurgences in Do-it-yourself, maker culture and craftivist practices. A new line of her research focusses on education, settlement, social benevolence and imperial philanthropy (through the migration of people, craft practices and objects) in early twentieth-century Britain and Canada.


Her writing and teaching are focused on the relationships between material culture and feminist theory, with an emphasis on craft history, critical heritage studies and the decorative arts. Another significant stream of her research, emerging from her teaching, is centred around questions of skill, hybridity, and pedagogy within a contemporary craft milieu. 


Some of her publications include Craft and Heritage: Intersections in Critical Studies and Practice (2021), a special issue on Identity, Craft, Marketing of the Journal of Canadian Art History (2018), and Sloppy Craft: Postdisciplinarity and the Crafts (2015) with Susan Surette. Recent essays of note: “Our Lady of the Snows : Settlement, empire and ‘the children of Canada’ in the needlework of Mary Seton Watts” in L. Binkley and J. Amos, eds. Stitching the Self (2020); “Gifted Design: Imperial Benevolence in the Needlework of Mary Seton Watts” in Design and Agency, eds J. Potvin and M. Marchand (2020); and “Tracing Craft — Labour, creativity, and sustainability in the Home Arts Movement” Journal of Canadian Art History (Fall 2019).


She is a member of the Centre for the Study of Canadian Women Artists and the Quebec Quilt Registry Project at Concordia, a Research Fellow of the Institute for Studies in Canadian Art and a member of the Advisory Board of the Canadian Craft Biennial. She is the series editor, with Susan Surette, for Bloomsbury Academic’s Critical Craft Studies Series (launched in 2022).

Research & Teaching Interests

  • Critical Craft Studies
  • History of Craft, Decorative Arts, and Design
  • Women's Art and Social History
  • Material Culture 
  • 19th Century Arts and Crafts Movement
  • Victorian child migration and skill training
  • Studio Craft, Indie Craft, DIY and Craftivist Movements
  • Craft and the Museum, Curating Craft

Distinctions & Awards

Aide to Research Related Events (ARRE), Concordia University: Home/Making: a multidisciplinary symposium, awarded but not taken due to the COVID 19 lockdown.

Concordia Undergraduate Student Research Award (CUSRA): Student research in preparation for interviews with makers, writers and organizers and writing/making workshop participation at the inaugural Canadian Craft Biennial, August - October 2017.


FQRSC grant: Résurgence des métiers d'art en Grande-Bretagne, en Irlande et au Canada, 1890-1925

SSHRC grant: The Home Arts and Industries as International Movement: The British, Irish and Canadian Instance, 1880-1925


Participant in the SSHRC-funded workshop Cut on the Bias led by Dr. Kirsty Robertson (University of Western Ontario) and Dr. Kelly Thompson (Fibres, Concordia University), June 2011

Member of team awarded a Concordia University Grant to establish the Centre for the Study of Canadian Women Artists at Concordia University

Faculty Research and Development Program Award from Concordia University

Doctoral Fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)

Bader Fellowship in Art History from Queen's University

Research Scholarship from the Fonds pour la Formation de Chercheurs et l'Aide à la Recherche (FCAR)

Sloppy Craft 2015
Photo credit: Bloomsbury Academic
500 Internal Server Error

Internal Server Error

Cannot serve request to /content/shared/faculty.html on this server

Apache Sling