A Dialogue Series on Imagination in Research & Teaching

The Possible’s Slow Fuse is a scholarly dialogue series organized by the Centre for Imagination in Research, Culture & Education (CIRCE) and the Research Hub of the Faculty of Education. Our 2019 series offers six stimulating discussions about the nature and role of imagination in research and education, facilitated by scholars from diverse fields in education - arts, indigeneity, technology, teacher education, mathematics, and aesthetics. We invite you to bring your ideas and questions, and share and celebrate learning and discovery together.


The Visceral Imagination
Dr. Celeste Snowber

February 28, 2019 | 1:30-3:00pm
SUR 5080, SFU Surrey Campus 

What is the relationship between the body and cultivating a relationship to the imagination?  In other words what would the visceral imagination mean for you?

What would it mean to bring your bodies to teaching, research and practice?  What would it mean to have your imagination infused with all your senses and connected to your teaching and research? 

Teaching and Theater
Dr. Kevin O'Neill

April 2, 2019 | 1:30-3:00pm
EDB 7608, Faculty of Education
Burnaby Campus

How is teaching similar to theatre acting, how is it different, and what implications might this have for how we teach face to face, online, and in blended modalities?

The Vital Role of Indigenous Imagination in Reconciliation
Dr. Vicki Kelly


Central to reconciliation is a revaluation of Indigenous knowledge traditions in Canadian society, and especially in our education systems. This impels us to ask: How do Indigenous knowledge holders hold knowledge? And how is that process embodied and enacted within Indigenous education? Images play a key role in the participatory pedagogies through which Indigenous knowledge systems grow and flourish, especially as they inform and guide the work of making or poesis. Artists are a vital part of those systems, because the images with which they work, and which they give concrete form, are packed with knowledge. Reconciliation can thus be seen as a profoundly imaginative and artistic educational process whose reach extends to our most everyday interactions and material realities.

“Imagination has a place because imagination IS a place, and because everything is connected to everything else, the encounter with imagination is a living communication within a sentient landscape." (Dan Longboat & Joe Sheridan)

“Images are compressed complexities” (David Hunt). 

"All the objects used in everyday life, including the simplest and most ordinary ones, are, so to speak, crystallized imagination.” (Lev Vygotsky)

"Only Beauty Can Save the Planet" 
Dr. David Jardine

May 31, 2019 | 1:30-3:00pm
Policy Room 1425, Harbour Centre
Vancouver Campus

Only beauty can save the planet. Even the strongest combination of guilty feelings, economic reasoning and scientific evidence are not enough to turn the tide so that our planet’s life may continue. Nevertheless, if you love something, you want it to stay around and stay close, and keep radiantly well. And it is precisely beauty that makes you fall in love. [It] gives you the feeling that what is here is to be treasured and not misused or harmed, and certainly not to be regarded in terms of functional usefulness or economic return, for such is to look at the world as a slave or a whore. James Hillman, from “Segregation of beauty” (p. 192). In J. Hillman (2006). City and Soul (p. 187-193). Putnam, CT: Spring Publications.

The familiar idea [is] that beauty arrests motion. You draw in your breath and stop still. This little gasp –hshshs as the Japanese draw between their teeth when the see something beautiful in a garden – this ahhhhreaction is the aesthetic response just as certain, inevitable, objective and ubiquitous as a wincing in pain and moaning in pleasure.  Moreover, this quick intake of breath is also the very root of the work aesthetics, aisthesis in Greek, meaning sense-perception. Aisthesis goes back to the Homeric aiou and aisthou which means both “I perceive” as well as “I gasp, struggle for breath,” as in aisthomai, I breath in. Does this not suggest that if beauty is to appear, we must be stopped still? James Hillman, from “The Repression of Beauty” (p. 183). In J. Hillman (2006). City and Soul (p. 172-186). Putnam, CT: Spring Publications.

Imagine That...: A Modestly Immodest Proposal for Teacher Education
Dr. Michael Ling

September 25, 2019 | 1:30-3:00pm
SFU Surrey Campus 

Can a teacher be self-taught? If you were to send a prospective teacher-to-be out into the world to think about and explore learning and teaching, what three questions would you pose for them to help guide that odyssey?

Imagining a Posthuman Education
Dr. Nathalie Sinclair

November 20, 2019 | 1:30-3:00pm
EDB 8515, Faculty of Education
SFU Burnaby Campus

Posthuman perspectives invite us to de-centre the human and thus re-think our understanding of identity, intentionality and causation. Within such a perspective, we can ask: how to imagine what it might mean to think, to be, to feel and to learn in less human-centric ways? What forms of agency are we prepared to give up? How can different disciplines, such as mathematics, help students appreciate and live in a more-than-human world? Given the environmental conditions of the Anthropocene, we might also ask, what might the world look like without humans? And as educators, we can further ask, what role does education plan in preparing students for such a world?

Cohosted by: The Centre for Imagination in Research, Culture and Education (CIRCE), Research Hub@SFU Faculty of Education