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Elaine Cheasley Paterson, PhD

Associate Dean, Academic Affairs, Fine Arts
Associate Professor , Art History
Member, School of Irish Studies

Elaine Cheasley Paterson, PhD
© Jack Paterson
Office: S-EV 2735 
Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex,
1515 St. Catherine W.
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 4604


Dr. Elaine Cheasley Paterson is Associate Dean, Academic Affairs and Associate 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 funded 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 the current resurgence in Do-it-yourself, maker culture and craftivist practices. 


Her writing and teaching are focused on the relationships between material culture and feminist theory, with an emphasis on the decorative arts and craft history. 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 Sloppy Craft: Postdisciplinarity and the Crafts (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015), with Susan Surette; ‘Crafting Empire: Intersections of Irish and Canadian Women’s History,’ Journal of Canadian Art History (2014);co-editor with Gloria Hickey of a special issue of Cahiers métiers d'art - Craft Journal on Craft and Social Development (2012); 'Judy Chicago's Rainbow Shabbat at the MMAQ,' in Chicago in Glass - en Verre, ed. Pierre Wilson (2010); 'Gender and Canadian Ceramics: Women's Networks' in On the Table: 100 Years of Functional Ceramics in Canada(Gardiner Museum catalogue, 2006);‘Decoration and Desire in the Watts Chapel’ in Gender and History (2005); ‘Crafting a National Identity' in The Irish Revival Reappraised (2004). 


Upcoming publication projects include her work co-editing a special issue on Identity, Craft, Marketing of the Journal of Canadian Art History (2018), Craft and Heritage: Intersections in Critical Studies and Practice (2019) and The Craft Studies Handbook for Bloomsbury Academic in 2020.Her most recent publication “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 (2018) emerges from her initial forays into a new line of research concerned with education, settlement, social benevolence and imperial philanthropy (through the migration of people, craft practices and objects) in early twentieth-century Britain and Canada.


She is on the editorial board of Cahiers métiers d'art - Craft Journal (Montréal), 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.

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

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, 1880-19252011
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

Teaching activities

Undergraduate Courses

Since 2000

  • ARTH 400 Advanced Seminar in Art Historical Methods - Special Topic: Curating Craft
  • ARTH 450 Advanced Seminar in the History of Art & Architecture - Special Topic: Arts and Crafts Ethics and Contemporary Craft
  • ARTH 400 Advanced Seminar in Art Historical Methods - Special Topic: Arts and Crafts Ideology and Contemporary Craft Practice
  • ARTH 398 Special Topics in Art and Society: "Beauty in everyday life" - The Social Reforms of the Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain, Europe and North America, 1850-1925
  • ARTH 368 Contemporary Craft – A Global Community? Studies in Contemporary 
  • ARTH 368 Craftivism from the Studio Movement to the DIY Movement: Studies in Contemporary Art/Architecture 
  • ARTH 357 Studies in the History of Craft and the Decorative Arts
  • ARTH 352 Studies in the History of Fibre Art
  • ARTH 350 Aspects of the History of Ceramic Art
  • ARTH 266 Aspects of the History of Fibre Art
  • ARTH 264 Aspects of the History of Ceramics
  • ARTH 200 Perspectives of Art History

Graduate Courses

  • ARTH 614 Examining the Artisan Tradition in North America: The Arts and Crafts Movement in North America 
  • ARTH 614 Examining the Artisan Tradition in North America: Current debates and historical craft
  • ARTH 614 Examining the Artisan Tradition in North America: Institutionalising Craft in Quebec
  • ARTH 647 Master's-level independent study on historical trends in contemporary Irish art
  • ARTH 647 Master's-level independent study in Art History on Quebec glass history
  • ARTH 647 Master's-level independent study for the Department of Religion on the decorative arts in Canadian synagogues
  • ARTH 648 Aspects of Museum and Curatorial Studies: Curatorial Strategies for Craft
  • Doctoral-level independent study in Art History on Berlin Wool Work

Thesis Supervision

Christine May (in progress)
Craftivism in Canada: Exploring Identity Through Politically Charged Textiles

Sonya Ocampo Gooding, SIP (in progress)
The Sheelah-na-gig in Contemporary Irish Art

Danielle Lewis (in progress)
Technology and Domestic Design in the 20th Century

Jason Klimock  (in progress)
Beauty Beyond Function: A Philosophical Inquiry into Crafting Knowledge in Victorian Atlantic Salmon Flies

Akycha Surette (in progress)
A History of the One of a Kind Show, Toronto

Myriam Asselin (in progress)
A History of Craft and the Cercle des Fermières in Quebec

Nicole Burisch
The Dematerialization of the Craft Object: Performance Art and Contemporary Craft
Convocation: Fall 2011

Laurie Filgiano
Fashion in the Fine Art Museum
Convocation: Fall 2011

Valérie Coté, MA
Le bijou-sculpture au Québec durant les années 1950-70: le cas de Walter Schluep
Convocation: Fall 2011

Geneviève Pelletier, MA
Intérieurs montréalais, immigration et identité: la domesticité en transition
Convocation: Spring 2011

Katharine Brayley, MA
A Unique Ambition: The Maritime Art Association's Annual Exhibitions 1935-1945
Convocation: Fall 2010

Judith Penney Burton, MA (SIP)
Going With the Flow: The Work and Lives of Contemporary Canadian Fibre Artists
Convocation: Spring 2008

Cinzia Colella, MA
A New Space in Canadian Art: Liminality in the Work of Three Glass Artists: Kevin Lockau, Susan Edgerley, and Brad Copping
Convocation: Spring 2006

Susan Surette (in progress)
Canadian Ceramic History

Chinatsu Kobayashi, UQAM (in progress)
Co-supervisor with Dominic Hardy

Rosika Desnoyers, Humanities (in progress)
Member of supervisory committee

Marie-Ève Marchand, Université de Montréal (in progress)
Member of Supervisory Committee

Research activities

Current Research

My current research is focussed on late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century crafts through a comparative analysis of objects made and exhibited as part of the home arts and industries movement in Britain, Ireland and Canada. I am particularly interested in establishing connections among the main umbrella organisations for craft revival in each of these countries, specifically between the internationally known Home Arts and Industries Association, London (1884) and both the Irish Industries Association, Dublin (1886) and the Canadian Handicrafts Guild, Montreal (1905). The home arts movement was organised through the London-based Home Arts and Industries Association, inspired by British art-critic John Ruskin, and supported by William Morris and his followers in both Ireland and Canada (among others).

One objective of this new research is to integrate material devoted to the Canadian craft revival with that from Europe and the United States in order to situate it within a broader context and introduce it to a wider audience. I am also concerned for issues of ethnicity, as they were expressed in such international venues as the world's fairs, as well as for presenting the peasant and working-class experience of the home arts movement and of its social and aesthetic ideals. My aim is to establish the home arts and industries as an international movement, traced through the migration of ideas, of people and of exquisite craft objects.


  • '"Meet me in St. Louis": Emigration and Craft Revival in nineteenth-century Ireland and Canada' Canadian Journal of Irish Studies (forthcoming 2012).
  • Co-editor with Gloria Hickey of a special issue of Cahiers métiers d'art - Craft Journal on Craft and Social Development (forthcoming 2012).
  • "Judy Chicago's Rainbow Shabbat at the MMAQ," in Chicago in Glass - en Verre, ed. Pierre Wilson (Musée des maîtres et artisans du Québec, September 2010).
  • Introductory essay to the inaugural issue of Cahiers métiers d'art - Craft Journal (with Denis Longchamps, 2007).
  • "Gender and Canadian Ceramics: Women's Networks," in On the Table: 100 Years of Functional Ceramics in Canada, eds. R. Gotlieb and S. Alfoldy (Toronto: Gardiner Museum, 2006).
  • Re-Crafting Tradition/Savoir re-faire la tradition, exhibition catalogue with Denis Longchamps (Cahiers metiers d'art - Craft Journal and Musée des maîtres et artisans du Québec, 2006).
  • "Decoration and Desire in the Watts Chapel, Compton: Narratives of Gender, Class and Colonialism," Gender & History 17:3 (2005).
  • "Crafting a National Identity: The Dun Emer Guild, 1902-1908," in The Irish Revival Reappraised, ed. J. Murphy and B. FitzSimon (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2003), 106-118.
  • "Crafting Identity: The Development of Professional Fine Craft in Canada," book review. Saskatchewan Craft Council Journal (2005).
  • "The Arts and Crafts Movement in the North West of England," book review. The Journal of Stained Glass (2006).
  • "John Butler Yeats: Prodigal Father," book review. The Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, 29, 1 (Spring 2003): 216-217.
  • "Material Matters: The Art and Culture of Contemporary Textiles," book review. RACAR XXV (1998): 123-125

Participation activities

Conferences & Lectures


  • "Crafting Empire: Intersections of Irish and Canadian Women's History" presented for the Canadian Women Artists History Initiative conference at Concordia University, Montreal, 3-5 May 2012.
  • "Emigration and craft revival in nineteenth century Ireland and Canada" presented for CAIS conference Text and Beyond Text in Irish Studies: New Visual, Material & Spatial Perspectives held at the School of Canadian Irish Studies, Concordia University, Montreal, 6 - 9 July 2011
  • Chair, with Susan Surette, of Sloppy Craft and Post-disciplinarity: A Critical Engagement for the Universities Art Association Conference at Carleton University, October 2011
  • Chair, with Gloria Hickey, of the double session on craft, Economy, community and self-expression - Craft and Social Development, for the Universities Art Association Conference at Guelph University, 14-16 October 2010
  • "Weaving social reform with Irish revival: The hand-tufted carpets of the Dun Emer Guild, Co. Dublin" presented for the international conference Neo-Craft at NSCAD University, organised by the Canadian Craft Federation as part of the 2007 Year of Craft in Canada.
  • Co-organised the international symposium on craft history, Re-Crafting Tradition held at the Musée des maîtres et artisans du Québec, November 2006.
  • "Researching the Home Arts Movement in Britain, Ireland and Canada." Public lecture for the Queen's University Graduate Colloquium Series, Queen's University, 11 March 2005.
  • "Crafting Identity and Selling 'Irishness': Evelyn Gleeson and the Yeats sisters at the Dun Emer Guild." Public lecture for the School for Canadian Irish Studies, Concordia University, 11 November 2004.
  • "Political Fabrications: Women's Work at the Dun Emer Guild" presented at Modern Ireland: Her Arts and Culture, American Conference for Irish Studies at the University of Northern Colorado, October 2004.
  • Guest lecture on Twentieth-Century Decorative Arts, presented at a charitable function organised by the Montreal branch of the Combined Jewish Appeal, 21 October 2003.
  • "Decoration and Desire: The Crafted Space of the Watts Chapel in Compton, Surrey" presented at the Perspectives in Craft History session at the Universities Art Association Conference, November 2003.
  • "Homemade Industry: Mary Seton Watts and the Potters' Arts Guild" presented at Art for Life's Sake: A Symposium on Women, Gender, Class and Victorian Cultural Philanthropy at the Southampton Institute, England, November 2002.
  • "Enterprising Women Crafting an Irish Identity: The Dun Emer Guild, 1902-1908" presented at Women's History: Irish/Canadian Connections hosted by the Women's Education, Research and Resource Centre, University College Dublin, Ireland and Saint Mary's University, Halifax, August 2002.
  • "Crafting a National Identity: The Dun Emer Guild, 1902-1908" presented at The Irish Revival Reappraised, 10th International Conference of the Society for the Study of Nineteenth-Century Ireland, All Hallows College, Dublin, June 2002.
  • "The Women of the Dun Emer Guild: Evelyn Gleeson and the Yeats Sisters" presented at Re:Searching Irish Women at the Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool, England, March 2002.

Artistic performances


Re-Crafting Tradition, at the Musée des maîtres et artisans du Québec, Montreal, September to December 2006. This was a major collaborative project I co-organised and which involved an exhibition of contemporary Quebec craft, accompanied by a publication and two-day symposium based on the theme of tradition in craft as discussed by scholars and makers from across Canada.

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