I began teaching shortly after completion of my MA in Architecture & Design (RCA) in 1989, and since that time have taught many different types of students from a variety of disciplines. Consistently my teaching has been recognized for challenging students by pushing the boundaries of their imagination and helping them produce highly creative work that surpasses their expectations. My programming underscores the social and environmental urgency of the real issues that frequently underpin a creative practice, thus bringing to life topics that may initially seem abstract or secondary to the curriculum. My pedagogy enables individuals from many disciplines (artists, designers, social scientists, researchers, and citizens) to engage with different creative strategies, develop their own skills, minds and imaginations, and thereby assume responsibility for their own education.
During my previous appointment at the University of Dundee, I helped develop an internationally recognized practice-led PhD program. This experience has provided valuable baseline information for developing research creation across the arts and humanities at the University of Alberta throughout my CRC, particularly now that SSHRC recognizes research-creation. My extensive graduate supervision allows for research through design, as opposed to research about design. It assumes that action is primary to design and that reflection upon that action constitutes research. I have recruited students both nationally and internationally and was responsible for expanding the student demographic in the Department of Art & Design. My PhD students have included an anthropologist, archeologist, architect, designer/animator, visual communication designer, psychologist, critic/ author, journalist and First Nations lands claim negotiator. They are a unique interdisciplinary group of students that share methodological principles that facilitate reflection and translate decades of experience into transferable knowledge.
Since commencing my CRC at the University of Alberta in 2011, I have supervised five M.Des students and seven Ph.D. students, many of whom have received SSHRC funding, All students are fully integrated into my research program, with several fully dedicated to working with various First Nation communities. Classes are taught using a mix of design theory, practice-based methods and live projects. Community participation and training is fundamental to my work and teaching. Each class/thesis project usually develops out of a direct invitation and subsequently evolves during the course of an extended dialogue.