The Nova Scotia College of Art and Design

One of Canada’s oldest independent cultural institutions, NSCAD University is regarded as a principal centre for education and research in visual culture in North America.

Participants and sponsors

Dianne Taylor-Gearing, President, NSCAD University

Dianne Taylor-Gearing


Leading with international experience, wisdom and vision with the ability to execute to achieve transformational and impactful change. Evidence based results in raising expectations, higher standards, outcomes and institutional acclaim Professor Dianne Taylor-Gearing has taken a dynamic and strategic leadership role at several international prestigious arts institutions.

Student achievement and success are at the heart of her passionate commitment to creative arts education, research and practice through a collaborative and inclusive approach to provide opportunities for all to ignite their curiosity and reach their creative potential.

She serves as Past Chair of the Council of Nova Scotia University Presidents (CONSUP); EduNova Board Chair; Director and Secretary to the Board of the Nova Scotia Research and Innovation Trust (NSRIT);  Universities Canada Board Governance Committee; and a member of the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) Board.  Internationally she serves as Treasurer to the Board of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD).

A graduate of the Slade School of Fine Art and Harvard Business School Dianne was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, London in 1990.

She was appointed President at NSCAD University in April 2014.


Ann-Barbara Graff

Vice-President, Academic & Research

Dr. Ann-Barbara Graff is Vice-President (Academic & Research) at NSCAD University. Ann-Barbara is deeply committed to academic excellence within the academy and to finding pathways for creative arts education to enliven the broader communities of which universities are a part. Arts-based universities have the opportunity to contribute significantly to the evolving definition and impact of the creative economy and the iterative approaches that are essential to art making provide a wonderful model for supporting tenacity and persistence as critical skills and practises in the broader community.

She is a member of the Nova Scotia Working Group on Arts and Culture, the Halifax Higher Education Partnership, and the Board of Directors of the Avalon Sexual Assault Centre. Ann-Barbara is a graduate of the University of Toronto and the Institute for Management and Leadership in Higher Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education (MIE). Ann- Barbara has been at NSCAD University since 2014, she is also an adjunct faculty member in the Graduate Department of English at Dalhousie University.


Ann-Barbara Graff, Vice-President, Academic & Research, NSCAD University
Catherine Allen, Manager, School of Extended Studies, NSCAD University

Catherine Allen

Manager, School of Extended Studies

Catherine Allen has a BSc from Dalhousie University and an MFA from NSCAD University. She has been working in arts education and programming for over 18 years, teaching both community arts courses as well as University-level jewellery courses at OCAD (Toronto, ON) and at NSCAD University (Halifax, NS). She is passionate about the transformative experience of art and making.

For the past six years, Catherine has been working with NSCAD University’s School of Extended Studies offering art-making courses, in all mediums, to the general public. As the manager of Extended Studies, she endeavours to make art accessible through outreach and innovation. For example, the Art Factory program provides senior level NSCAD students with employment, training and support in workshop development and delivery while opening NSCAD’s professional art studios to an underrepresented community of people, expanding the possibilities of art making and empowering future artists. Community also plays a significant role in her personal art practice, her most recent exhibition, Inflate, was a collaboration with young children drawing portraits of themselves and their families. These images were then "inflated" into a collection of three-dimensional jewellery objects capturing the unbounded imaginations of children.