Artist's talk for students at the Centre culturel Georges Vanier
Photo: David Ward, Concordia University
"It's important to me to create communities of learning in my classes so that we're learning together: I have a constructivist approach to learning. I want the work I develop with students to relate to contemporary issues and events so that we look beyond the classroom walls and move out into the world in as many ways as possible. I guess the questions for art education in the 21st century are, how do we orient ourselves within our current context: towards social and environmental justice, inclusivity, diversity? How do we explore the variety of media we have, and the richness of pop culture as well as the historically traditional fine arts? How do cultivate sustainability? How do we create and teach art that has an impact, that matters?
"I have a strong orientation towards research/creation and learning through making; making is at the core of my thinking, theorizing, writing, and teaching. In the end, we're all trying to find different ways to talk about how research happens through art-making and how we want to consider that research be expressed through art, language, and other associated communicative forms."
Dr. Kathleen Vaughan is a visual artist, writer, scholar, and educator whose work reflects a trans-disciplinary orientation to questions of place and belonging and the theme of ‘home’. She aims to balance her love for post-industrial sites, urban forests and green spaces with critical engagement, and often uses walking and mapping as method and form. Kathleen uses textile practices, painting, drawing, photography, installation, audio and video. Her work comprises multiple approaches, studio-based, collaborative/participatory and community-based. Active within her Montreal neighbourhood of Pointe-St-Charles, Kathleen has worked with seniors and children in social housing, schools and community agencies. She has also developed creative projects with children, adults and seniors in Toronto, Iceland, Latvia and the Netherlands, oriented to cultivating knowledge and awareness of ‘place’ and building community.
As the Concordia University Research Chair in Art Education for Sustainable and Just Futures (Tier 1, 2021-26) and Socially Engaged Art and Public Pedagogies (Tier 2, 2016-21), Kathleen initiated Studio Re-Imagine, to create and evaluate a series of socially engaged art projects in collaboration with a variety of local stakeholders in Montreal, Canada, and elsewhere, working with graduate researchers via research-creation and oral history methods. Its mandate is to explore how socially engaged art engages public pedagogies to build impact and promote change.
These projects include:
- Walk in the Water / Marcher sur les eaux, on the environmental and social histories of the St. Lawrence River at Pointe-St-Charles, a studio-based project that integrates oral histories into textile mapping
- Black and Light / Noir éclair, a participatory project in partnership with two Montreal cultural institutions to explore the impact of art-making on museum visitors
- At Home in the City /Être chez soi dans la ville, a collaborative exploration of community building through artmaking in the dense and rapidly developing neighbourhood around Concordia's downtown campus. Earlier research projects such as Nel mezzo del cammin (2011-2015) use textile mapping (textile piecing, digital and hand embroidery) to explore the political ecologies and personal experience of walking in urban woods and greenspaces in Toronto and Montreal, with "Angell Woods" being the only Canadian artwork selected for exhibition at the International Triennial of Textile and Fibre Art in Riga, Latvia (2015). Vu d'ici: Artmaking and Storytelling with Seniors in Pointe-St-Charles (2010-12) engaged residents of social housing, taking up questions of home and belonging. For her 2012 bilingual artist's project, Dans le village.../In the village...
Kathleen Vaughan is the co-director (with Barbara Layne) of the Textiles and Materiality cluster of Milieux, Concordia's Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology. Kathleen is also an active member of the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling (COHDS) and often uses oral histories/storytelling in her research.
Kathleen holds a PhD in Education from York University (Toronto), where her multimodal PhD dissertation incorporating a visual art installation and illustrated text was the first of its kind at the university, and won four Canadian and international academic awards for innovation and excellence. Dr. Vaughan has also earned an MFA in Studio Arts from Concordia University (Montreal), a diploma in Fine Arts from the (then) Ontario College of Art (Toronto) and a BA in English and Art History from the University of Toronto. Prior to joining the Art Education faculty at Concordia in 2008, she taught in York University's Faculty of Education, at the Ontario College of Art and Design, in Concordia's Studio Arts department and through visiting artist programs in Toronto schools.
Kathleen has a great love of dogs, and poodles in particular, and in her leisure moments enjoys the company of her own canine companion and volunteering for poodle and pit bull rescue.
Vaughan, K., Levesque, M., Szabad-Smyth, L., Garnet, D., Fitch, S., & Sinner, A. (2017). A history of community art education at Concordia University: Educating the artist teacher through practice and collaboration. Studies in Art Education, 58(1), 28-38.
Vaughan, K., & Pyne Feinberg, P. (2017). Walking together: Shared authority and co-mentorship between two artists on the move. Visual Inquiry, 5(3), 249-261. Special Issue: From Mentorship to Intellectual Partnership.
Vaughan, K., Dufour, E., & Hammond, C. (2016). The ‘art’ of the Right to the City: Interdisciplinary teaching and learning in Pointe-St-Charles. Learning Landscapes, 10(1), 387-418. Available on-line at http://www.learninglandscapes.ca/images/documents/ll-no19/vaughan.pdf
Vaughan, K. (2016). Dog dreams: A collage reflection of love, loss, poodles, art and academia. In A. Cole (Ed.), Professorial paws: Dogs in scholars’ lives and works (pp. 176-207). Big Tancook Island, NS: Backalong Books.
Vaughan, K. (2015). A möbius paradigm for artistic research: Entwining qualitative practices and the uncanny in a further elaboration of a collage method of inquiry. In R.M. Viadel, J. Roldán, & X.M. Medina, (Eds). Fundamentos, Criterios, Contextos en Investigación basada en Artes y en Investigación Artistica/Foundations, Criteria and Contexts in Arts-based Research and Artistic Research. Vol 4: Panorama de especialidades artísticas/Landscape of Artistic Specialities (31-58). Granada, Spain: University of Granada Press. Available online at http://hdl.handle.net/10481/34215
Vaughan, K. (2014). Art, enchantment and the urban forest: A step, a stitch, a sense of self. In A. Sandberg, A. Bardekjian, & S. Butt (Eds.), Urban forests, trees, and green space: A political ecology perspective, 307-321. London: Earthscan/Routledge.
Vaughan, K. (2013). Map as theory, theory as map: Meditations from the middle of the journey. POIESIS XV: A Journal of the Arts and Communication, 174-186.
Sinner, A., Levesque, M., Vaughan, K, Szabad-Smyth, L., Garnet, D., & Fitch, S. (2012). Reviewing an archive of practice: The historical unfolding of community art education, Canadian Review of Art Education.
Sinner, A., Mastrocola, P. & Vaughan, K. (2011). The colours tell me what to do: From graffiti artist to art teacher. BCATA Journal for Art Teachers 53(1), Special issue on Art and Design 2: 28-39.
Vaughan, K. (June, 2010). Creating ruins: From image to object in making Unwearableclothing. Mosaic: A Journal for Interdisciplinary Study of Literature (Special issue: Sculpture) 43(2): 185-201.
Vaughan, K. (2009). Research creation as material thinking: Reflecting on the context of making of two doctoral students at Concordia University, Montreal. (In association with two articles by doctoral students Danut Zbarcea and Natasha Reid.) Studies in Material Thinking (3). Available on-line at http://www.materialthinking.org/resources/v3/KV.pdf
Vaughan, K. (2009, April). A home in the arts: From research-creation to practice – or The story of a dissertation in the making, in action – so far! International Journal of Education and the Arts 10(13). Available on-line at http://www.ijea.org/v10n13/index.html
Vaughan, K. (2009, April). The importance of asking the ‘right’ questions: Considering issues of interpretation in art-as-research. Working Papers in Art and Design 5: The Problem of Interpretation in Research in the Visual and Performing Arts. University of Hertfordshire, UK. Available on-line at http://sitem.herts.ac.uk/artdes_research/papers/wpades/index.html
Vaughan, K. (2009). Mariposa: The story of a work of research/creation, taking shape, taking flight. In R. Dean and H. Smith (Eds.), Practice-led research, research-led practice in the creative arts. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Vaughan, K. (2009). Finding home: A walk, a meditation, a memoir, a collage. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education 13(1): 12-24.
Vaughan, K. (2008). Inevitable. In D.F.A. Jacobs (Ed.), The authentic dissertation: Alternative ways of knowing, research and representation (pp. 117-120. London: Routledge.
Vaughan, K. (2007). Unraveling art and language, silence and speech in the making of Unwearable clothing. In J.G. Knowles, T.C. Luciani, A.L. Cole, L. Nielsen, and T.C. Luciani (Eds.), The art of visual inquiry (pp. 89-105). Toronto, ON & Halifax, NS: Centre for Arts-Informed Research & Backalong Books.
Vaughan, K. (2005, March). Pieced together: Collage as an artist’s methodology for interdisciplinary research. International Journal of Qualitative Methods IV(1). Available on-line at http://www.ualberta.ca/~iiqm/backissues/4_1/html/vaughan.htm
November 1-30, 2015 • Nel mezzo del cammin: Textile maps and their making. Installation of three textile maps, Lachine Canal, Angell Woods and Glendon Forest, in the arteSPACE Gallery and display vitrine of the Department of Art Education,Concordia University, Montréal, QC.
September 3-27, 2015 • Tissus urbains : Cartes textiles de promenades dans la nature urbaine. Installation of four textile maps, Lachine Canal, Angell Woods, Morgan Arboretum and Glendon Forest. Centre culturel Georges-Vanier, Montréal, QC.
September 5-October 26, 2014 • Evoking Place: Pointe-St-Charles and Montreal’s South West/La poétique du quartier: Pointe-St-Charles et le Sud Ouest. Installation of Nel mezzo del cammin: Canal de Lachine textile map. Salon Laurette, Montréal, QC.
June 2011 • Finding Home. A collage installation about self, place, community, and belonging. Northern District Branch, Toronto Public Library.
February 1-29, 2008 • Finding Home. A collage installation about self, place, community, and belonging. Type Books, Toronto, ON.
November 23-26, 2006 • Finding Home. Dissertation exhibition of multi-modal creative/scholarly work. Gladstone Hotel, Toronto, ON.
November 10-December 10, 2004 • Bog Series. Municipal Hall and Arts andCulture Centre, Gemeente Assen, Netherlands, in association with the Drents Museum’s presentation of The Mysterious Bog People.
March 6-April 13, 2003• De l’esthétique des corps des tourbières et de la neurologie [Bog Series]. Galerie Montcalm, Gatineau, QC (in association with the Canadian Museum of Civilization’s international exhibition of The Mysterious Bog People).
Collaborative projects and group exhibitions
May 16-22, 2017 • Ilgiardino dell’Eden. A collaborative suite of off-Biennal art activities withCynthia Hammond and Kelly Thompson, addressing the histories and currentrealities of Venice’s largest private garden, for a generation in accessible tovisitors, and linked to thematics of local determination of the future of the tourist-overruncity. Installations at various sites on La Giudecca, Venice, and documented onthe project blog, https://giardinodelleden.wordpress.com/
October 5-10, 2016 • Glorious matter: The exhibition. Curator and participant of groupexhibition of artists in the ‘Textiles and Materiality’ cluster of Concordia’sMilieux Research Centre for Art, Culture, Technology, as part of the Conferenceof the International Visual Literacy Association, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts,Montreal, QC.
April 23-June 10, 2015 • Fifth Riga International Textile and Fibre Art Triennial. Nel mezzo del cammin: Angell Woods, walkingmap of the contested suburban Montreal green space. The only Canadian artworkselected for this important international show. Museum of Decorative Art andDesign, Riga, Latvia.
September2-29, 2014 • Parallax: Landscape in Translation with artists Cynthia Hammond andKelly Thompson. Textile maps, Nel mezzodel cammin: Summit Woods and MorganArboretum exhibited at the FOFA Gallery, Montréal, QC.
May 2014 • Nel mezzo del cammin: Canal du Lachine Canal.Textile map exhibited in the group show of the international conference“De-industrialization and Its Aftermath,” Montreal, QC.
April 2013 • Midwayin the Journey. Two textile maps of walks in Summit Woods and the MorganArboretum, exhibited in a group show of "Urban Forests and PoliticalEcologies" at Hart House, University of Toronto, ON.
July 28, 2012 & October 6, 2012 • Dans le village…/In the village...Collaborative site-specific participatory artwork with artist Shauna Jannsenfor the Musée d’Histoire de Montréal’s Quartiers disparus exhibition.
September 30-October 2, 2011 • I’ll take you home again, Kathleen.Mixed media installation as part of the participatory group exhibition DarlingArcade, developed under the auspices of Urban Occupations Urbaines andpresented at the Darling Foundry, Montreal, in celebration of the Journées dela culture, Montreal, QC.
February 26, 2011 • Selected images from Made Flesh. Threegraphic novel enlargements (digital collages) at the juried neighbourhood-basedshow at Griffintown’s New City Gas, Montreal, QC. Part of the city’s NuitBlanche celebration.
February 26, 2011 • Storied Sites. A participatory communityweave collaboratively coordinated with Kelly Thompson and Lisa Vinebaum, a 3Dfibre map of the city of Montreal, telling participants’ stories of space andplace.
November, 2010 • Home Sweet. 5 minute digital storytellingcontribution to .dpi 19 – Online publication of Studio XX, a non-profit feminist organization dedicated to newmedia art. Available at http://www.studioxx.org/en/
February 27, 2010 • Map: Raglan, Map: Humewood, Map: Cedarvale at New City Gas,Montreal, QC. Part of the city’s Nuit Blanche Celebrations.
Kathleen Vaughan teaches graduate and mixed level (BFA to PhD) Studio classes, Special Topics classes in Community and Socially Engaged Art and Museum Education, undergraduate Photography (Light-based Media) and Community Art Education classes.
Kathleen often locates her Concordia University teaching within Montreal's fertile community settings, linking her courses to 'place' via various community-based experiential learning initiatives. With colleagues Steven High and Cynthia Hammond, Kathleen is part of the Right to the City, a teaching initiative that encourages students to discover how learning with the city, and across disciplines, can enrich education while giving back to the community at large. Initially consisting of tethered courses taught sited at Share the Warmth in Pointe-St-Charles (2014-16), the Right to the City also now includes sistered courses that share common experiential, community-engaged and even activist agendas in various parts of the city.
Kathleen also links her teaching to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, where under the auspices of the institutional partnership with Concordia, she and her graduate students have developed socially engaged projects for Nuit Blanche (2016, 2017) and have created and produced two audio walks that bring a 'peace' perspective to 10 artworks in the Peace Pavilion. Awarded competitive Curriculum Innovation Funding (2014, 2015, 2016) for these initiatives, Kathleen also won the Faculty of Fine Arts Distinguished Teaching Award in 2016.
A new step in experiential learning, Kathleen is currently developing a multi-level interdisciplinary course to be sited at the Icelandic Textile Centre in Blönduós, Iceland, in June of 2018. This course builds on her ongoing relationship with the Textile Centre following her artist's residency there in 2016.
Selected thesis supervision
Noel, Alex. (2020). Pulpy pedagogies: Following the paper trail in art education. Concordia, 2020. (MA, Art Education: Studio-based thesis). Thesis not on SPECTRUM.