Kathleen Vaughan, PhD, MFA

Concordia University Research Chair in Art + Education for Sustainable and Just Futures (Tier 1)
Professor, Art Education
Co-Director, Textiles and Materiality cluster, Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology
Member of the College of the Royal Society of Canada

Kathleen Vaughan, PhD, MFA
Artist's talk for students at the Centre culturel Georges Vanier
Photo: David Ward, Concordia University
Office: S-EV 2.619 
Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex,
1515 St. Catherine W.
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 4677
Email: Kathleen.Vaughan@concordia.ca
Website(s): Kathleen Vaughan
Studio Re-Imagine

"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. 


Selected publications

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



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