2007. PhD. Sociology, Equity Studies, and Cultural Studies. Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. Thesis title: Shortfall: Sixties Conceptual Art and Civil Rights Movements in Halifax and the Edge of Criticism. Supervisor: Dr. Kari Dehli.
1999. MA. Fine Arts and Political Theory. Graduate Programme in Interdisciplinary Studies, York University (nominated for Programme Thesis Prize). Thesis title: Five Painters in Ottawa: The Governance of Exhibitionary Spaces. Supervisor: Dr. Renate Wickens.
1996. BFA Honours. York University. Visual Art, Creative Writing, and Women’s Studies. Major in Interdisciplinary Studies in the Fine Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts/ Minor in Women’s Studies, Faculty of Arts.
Radical Pedagogy and Art Projects
The Great Chorus. Librettist
Experimental choral work performed at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto Canada. Artistic director Bill Burns, librettist Krys Verrall, choral director Alan Gasser, student choristers from Lord Lansdowne Public School and di Vinci Alternative, scientists from ROM Education and Biodiversity departments. Research residency May to July 2015. School and museum workshops and performance residency August to December 2016. Performance Dec. 4, 2016. Funded by the Royal Ontario Museum and the Toronto Arts Council.
Dogs and Boats and Airplanes Choir. Librettist.
A 100 voice children’s choir created and performed for the Junction Arts Festival (JAF) in Launceton Australia. Artistic director Bill Burns, librettist Krys Verrall, choral director Amanda Hodder. Produced by the Junction Arts Festival. Created and performed by students from four schools. Artist residency July to mid-September 2013. Performances Sept. 6, 2013. Funded by the Canada Council for the Arts, Australian Government Festival Australia, the Tasmanian Government Community Support Levy, and Launceston City Council Kings Bridge Cottage Artist in Residence Program.
Bird Songs for Toronto, Co-producer.
Bird Songs for Toronto is a series of performance, video and audio works that feature children from the Toronto area demonstrating birdcalls. Artistic director Bill Burns, choral director Alan Gasser, choristers from Alpha Alternative School, Howard Park Public School; Lord Lansdowne Public School, Toronto. Produced by Bill Burns, Krys Verrall and Big Pond Small Fish. Bird Songs for Toronto works have appeared in exhibitions and festivals at the:
- Biennial of the Moving Image, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2014).
- Sothebeys Institute, New York; Festival International de Films sur l’Art, Montreal (2013);
- Dogs and Boats and Airplanes Choir Vinyl LP - The Toronto Concert (2012);
- Nuit Blanche Toronto (2011);
- Quebec City Biennial (2010);
- Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) London (2008)
Monster Makers, Mammalian Diving Reflex, Academic advisor and collaborator. A children’s theatre piece performed for National Arts Centre in Ottawa (March 2012), HarbourKids (Feb. 2011), World Stage at Harbourfront Centre (Oct. 2011). 2009–2012.
Visualizing Children in Contemporary Music Videos, Artistic Director. Created online resource listing children’s You Tube video interventions. Online 2009-2011.
Walking Woman-Incident Showcases. Installation Red Head Gallery, Toronto. 2002. Collaboration with architect Paula Bowley and artist Tegan Smith.
Dyeblue: Studies on Time, Identity and Creative Production. Artist, curator, writer. An online artist/curatorial project created through support from The Art Gallery of York University and the Faculty of Graduate Studies York University, Toronto. 1998-1999.
Words and Picture Projects (Selected)
“Beyond Parochialism: Telling Tales about Black Activism and Conceptual Art.” Book chapter in Towards an African-Canadian Art History: Art, Memory, and Resistance, Charmaine Nelson editor. (Concord, Ontario: Captus Press, Inc., forthcoming 2017)
“Childhood Undone: Four Contemporary Art Projects with Children.” Journal article in Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures 4, 2, 2012: 87-106.
“Childhood, Historical Trauma, and Picture Book Memoirs.” Conference presentation for Horrible Histories? Children’s Lives in Historical Contexts’, The Children’s History Society conference, King’s College London. June 2016.
“Visual Culture, Citizenship, and Political Agency.” Conference presentation for Youth, Rights, Citizenship Symposium. Association for Research in Cultures of Young People (ARCYP). York University, Toronto. January 2011.
“The Work of Photographs from 1960s Civil Rights and Contemporary Children’s Rights Movements.” Conference presentation for The Centre for Media and Culture in Education (CMCE) Works in Process Series, OISE, University of Toronto, Toronto. January 2010.
Conversations. Discussion Panel. Organized the Fine Arts Cultural Studies, speaker series. Faculty of Fine Arts, York University, Toronto. Series brought professional artists and critics together to discuss the issues and changing practices in contemporary Canadian arts and culture. 2009 and 2010.
“Small Cascade for a Large City”. Contributing essayist with Tegan Smith for Wade 2006. Sally McKay editor. Art catalogue for public art exhibition in Toronto wading pools, curated by Christie Pearson and Sandra Rechio. Toronto: YYZ Artists’ Outlet, July 7, 2006: 8 + 9.
Report to the Board of Directors of the Art Gallery of York University. Contributor. Prepared by Prof. Joyce Zemans. Toronto: York University, 1999. Report on the current state of the Art Gallery of York University’s (AGYU) art collection. My contribution: assessed the gallery’s collection of 1950s and 1960s artwork.
Director of the Board, Mammalian Diving Reflex, Toronto. 2017–
Director of the Board, Art Gallery of York University (AGYU), Toronto. 2014–present
Co-producer and co-founder of the not-for-profit arts organization Big Pond Small Fish. 2007—present.
Radical arts pedagogical initiatives with the Art Gallery of York University (AGYU). 2008–present.
As adjunct faculty at York University teaching in the humanities, education and the fine arts, developed pedagogical initiatives with the AGYU’s arts educators and curators. The aim is to foster experiential learning and arts infused social justice curriculum.
Co-founder, co-director, and co-curator of Walk Works collective. An arts/ urban design and architecture collective focusing on urban design, accessibility, and gender. 1994-2001.
Co-founder, co-director, and co-curator of two artist-led exhibitions, True to Form (1995) and Pop/eye (1997).
Grants and Awards
Junction Arts Festival, Australia (with City of Launceston and the Tasmanian Government Support Levy), 2013.
Canada Council for the Arts - Grants to Organizations (Big Pond Small Fish), 2013
Contract Faculty Research Grant, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), 2009
Faculty of Arts Research Grant, York University, 2008
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto Scholarship, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2000
Graduate Interdisciplinary Studies Programme Thesis Prize nominee, York University, 1999.
Ontario Arts Council (OAC) Special Project Grants for Organizations, 1997
Metropolitan Toronto Council Cultural Grant. 1995