Executive Members

Ashwani Kumar, President
Mount Saint Vincent University

Ashwani Kumar is an Associate Professor of Education at Mount Saint Vincent University. His teaching and research focus upon meditative inquiry which is a self-reflective and aesthetic approach to teaching, learning, and living. He has conceptualized several key curricular and pedagogical concepts, namely, curriculum as meditative inquiry, teaching as meditative inquiry, and music as meditative inquiry. He has also developed a contemplative research methodology called dialogical meditative inquiry to conduct subjective and inter-subjective qualitative research. He plays the harmonium and sings and composes Indian classical music. His current project focuses on researching the theory and practice of Indian classical music and their implications for the field of education. He is the author of two scholarly books: Curriculum As Meditative Inquiry (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) and Curriculum in International Contexts: Understanding Colonial, Ideological, and Neoliberal Influences (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019)


Laurel Hart, Past President
Simon Fraser University

Laurel Hart is a post-doctoral fellow at McGill’s Department of Integrated Studies in Education under Dr. Claudia Mitchell. She holds a Doctorate in Art Education at Concordia University, and BA and BEd degrees from UBC. She’s a BC certified teacher, having taught in public schools, community, post-secondary, and international settings, (recently Kyoto and Tokyo).

Hart’s work explores urban community development through the arts (notably participatory and collaborative art forms), social media, and community and arts-based research. Her interests include: place making, educational technologies, informal education, new media arts and photography, and interdisciplinary research. Hart’s doctoral research involved the creation of the women’s mobile photography community, Her Mind's Eye. Through social media and in-person meetings, the group explored women’s experiences of urban life, highlighting women’s voices through local exhibitions and online presence. Details about laurel’s art and background can be found at www.laurelhart.net; documentation of her participatory artworks are at: www.participatorycreation.com.


Roula Kteily-Hawa, Co-Vice President
Thompson Rivers University       

Roula Kteily-Hawa is an Assistant Professor in Education at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia. She teaches in the Master of Education and the Bachelor of Education programs and has taught courses in educational leadership and diverse research methods. Roula brings a wealth of expertise in teacher education, having taught in the area of Family Studies in Continuing Teacher Education at Queen’s University for several years. In the K-12 public education system in Ontario, Roula taught family studies courses, including fashion arts and textile artistry. Roula has extensive curriculum writing experience and was a lead writer for the Revised Ontario Social Sciences and Humanities--Family Studies curriculum released in 2013 and at the postsecondary level at Ryerson University. Dr. Hawa’s research is community-engaged with a focus on health equity of vulnerable populations, using arts-based and arts-informed methodologies and critical feminist, anti-colonial frameworks. A long-time advocate for youth and women in school settings and the community, Roula has expertise in community-based research using storytelling as arts-informed inquiry. She is currently the Principal Investigator of a CIHR funded research study focusing on sexual health and HIV prevention in youth from Middle Eastern and North African communities living in Ontario. Roula has served on the editorial team for The Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education in 2019-2020 and on the planning committee for the annual conference of the Ontario Family Studies and Home Economics Educators’ Association (OFSHEEA) in 2019.

Sarah Hennessy, Co-Vice President
Western University

PhD Candidate, Curriculum Studies stream with Dr. Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw.  I am using research-creation as a methodology in my work in early childhood education. I am also an artist and Faculty instructor.


Michelle Buckle, Pre-conference co-chair
University of Alberta

Michelle J. Buckle is a registered psychologist and dramatherapist of Jamaican origin. With over 24 years’ experience as a dramatherapist, Michelle runs a psychological practice in Edmonton, Alberta. She uses the performing arts—embodied ways of being and knowing—to encourage students and clients of all ages to critically engage in new ways of learning both within institutions and unconventional learning spaces. 
Professional associations with North American Drama Therapy Association, Canadian Register of Health Service Psychologists, and the College of Alberta Psychologists, along with certifications in Eating Psychology, Accelerated Resolution Therapy, and over 60 professional development activities are just some of the ways in which Michelle is constantly learning new ways to integrate drama, play, and the expressive arts into trauma-informed therapies. 
Recognized as an expert in the dramatherapy field, Michelle has published a book review on the topic in the Canadian Art Therapy Association Journal and has presented on the use of dramatherapy and theatre processes in schools, workplaces, and at international conferences. Michelle continues to expand her scholarship through the University of Alberta’s Department of Secondary Education, where she has begun an academic exploration of a topic that she has been passionate about investigating as a practitioner: the experiences of Black youth homicide survivors. Michelle further shares her passion for using performance to inspire healing, conflict transformation, community building, and creative solutions to social and racial justice issues as a member of Third Space Edmonton..

Bonnie Petersen, Pre-conference co-chair
Mount Saint Vincent University

PhD (Education) student, with a special interest in experiential and spiritual education, the philosophy of education, and learning in English as an additional language (including all learners new to English for academic purposes). I spent many years in the UK, working in colleges for at-risk youth. I am also an artist and musician.

Giang Nguyen Hoang Le (Kevin), Grad Student Rep
Brock University

Giang Nguyen Hoang Le, also known as Nguyen Le, Le Nguyen, Giang Le, is currently a Ph.D. student in Educational Studies at Brock University, ON, Canada. Giang-Le’s research interest centers around social justice education, Photovoice as a visual art form in educational research, Photo-Story as an arts-based research method, and English language teaching in an era of globalization and neoliberalism. He has published his articles and book chapters with some journals and for book collections of Routledge, Brill/Sense. He has presented at many international conferences on education and research such as the American Educational Research Association and Canadian Society for the Study of Education.


Tatiana Zakharova, Grad Student Rep
Western University

As a PhD student at the Faculty of Education, Western University (London, Ontario), working with Dr. Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw, Tatiana’s research focuses on the entanglement of pedagogy and design (of outdoor spaces for children). In her multidisciplinary work, Tatiana thinks with feminist, post-human scholars to trouble the notion of play as a means of progress, and playgrounds as institutionalized spaces devoid of ethical encounters, imagining instead (as Loveless (2019) imagines universities) relationship-attuned ways of inhabiting playgrounds as vibrant locations of worlding and “pedagogical mattering” (original emphasis). Tatiana’s work is a collaborative experimentation, as it wishes to reimagine play/grounding potentialities with educators, children, human and more than human communities. Labouring with ethnographic practices of pedagogical narrations, following, and research-creation, Tatiana draws on connections between materiality, art, design, research, and pedagogy to inform her research. A playground designer with Ontario-based Earthscape Play, Tatiana is a puzzler of anthropomorphic landscapes, and holds a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from the University of Guelph. She lives, walks, plays and writes on the traditional territories of the Anishnabek, Haudenosaunee (Iroquois), and Ojibway/Chippewa peoples.

Tashya Orasi, Grad Student Rep
Lakehead University

Tashya is a PhD student in the Faculty of Education at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario. As an emerging arts-integrated researcher with a focus on leadership and policy studies, Tashya’s interests as an artist-teacher-researcher focus on strengths-based leadership and learning pedagogies and the intersection of creativity, engagement, innovation, meaning-making, mastery and organizational behaviour. This past year Tashya has integrated mixed media, virtual reality sketching and 3D modelling to explore themes on teacher creativity, and is interested in exploring the potentiality of these modalities to expand and evolve understandings of creative literacies, creative agency and understandings of the learning space.

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