Research as Advocacy: Collaborative Inquiry Meets Material Practice

March 26, 2021

About the panel

As the current pandemic propels educational institutions to reconsider teaching and learning processes to reaffirm core curricular and pedagogical values, community-engaged research and participatory action methodology not only recentre connection and collaboration in academic inquiry during distanced and suspended times, but also hold space for advocacy, service, and support at the heart of socially relevant and politically meaningful research endeavours. 

Research as Advocacy highlights collaborative inquiry as a multivocal, interdisciplinary, reflexive, and community-centered research method by studying its intentions and impacts in the Artist in Residence Studio programme (AIRS) at the Vancouver School Board, with specific focus on the activities and outcomes achieved and the ethos and relationships fostered in partnership with Emily Carr University of Art + Design at Mount Pleasant Elementary.  

Initiated in 2015, AIRS collaborates with educational and financial partners to reclaim space for art-making within public elementary schools in Vancouver to support long-term, socially-engaged studio residencies for children.  In gathering ongoing action research through a collaboration inquiry process, AIRS has been tracking the impact of sustained engagement in the visual arts of academic achievement and social emotional learning in schools.  By demonstrating the vital role of the arts in child development, this research seeks to ensure that arts education is protected and funded within public schools for the benefit of future generations and economies.  AIRS also gathers data to determine best practices for collaboration between artists and school teachers to maintain successful, flexible, and innovative residencies that strengthen student learning and meet the core competency goals of the BC K-12 curriculum as revised in 2016.

This media project and panel discussion address the role of research in strategies, partnerships, and community engagements to mobilise and re-envision arts education from primary to tertiary institutions, towards equitable access and attentiveness to place-based material practices.


Date: March 26, 2021
Panel Time: 3:00 - 3:50pm PT


Online via Zoom
Note: This event is held via Zoom Webinar and will be recorded. A link to the Webinar will be distributed via email to registrants prior to the event.


Maggie Milne Martens is a Vancouver artist/printmaker and long-time art educator. She holds a BFA and an MA in Art History and is working towards a PhD in Arts Education at Simon Fraser University. Maggie is co-founder and Director of AIRS, the Artist in Residence Studio programme at the Vancouver School Board, which is both an intervention and a living inquiry into the ways in which access to and participation in the arts might be newly imagined in public elementary schools. She twins her art engagement, currently with students at the Art and Discovery Studio at Nightingale Elementary, with political advocacy for funding and protecting equitable access to the visual arts in schools.

Cissie Fu (AB Harvard; MSt, MSc, DPhil Oxford) is a political theorist and Dean of the Faculty of Culture + Community at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. She is co-founder of the Political Arts Initiative, which invites 21st-century political imag-e-nations through digital media and the creative and performing arts, and serves on the editorial board of Krisis, an international journal for contemporary philosophy based in Europe. Cissie’s research in participatory aesthetics and decolonial action complements her experiments in collective unknowing to reframe institution-building as a critical, cultural, and communal practice.

Adiba Muzaffar is a writer and media artist interested in touch, embodiment, immersion and most recently the social evolution of art in virtual reality. A filmmaker and multimedia journalist in a past life, she takes forward an interest in critiquing media culture by writing for the Museum of Other Realities, among other things that pertain to her role of a Content Strategist. She is an alumna of Emily Carr University of Art + Design where she completed her MFA in 2018 and will be an AIRS artist-in-residence starting March 2021.

Yeonoo Park is an interdisciplinary artist with a focus in painting. Her recent works reconsider everyday moments and movements, often depicted through repetitive images translated into animation frames. Her public art commission by the City of Vancouver, Wanna Go For A Walk?, compiled remembered, imagined, and photographed imageries for an animation installation Downtown in Summer 2020. She is interested in the fluidity of memory and energized by communal aesthetics. She will be completing her BFA at Emily Carr University of Art + Design in May 2021.


The project and media teams thank:

  • Linh Liu, Teala Mackowetsky, Jonathan Weresch and the wondrously creative students and supportive teachers at Mount Pleasant Elementary.
  • Jaymie Johnson, Aaniya Asrani and Annie Canto, the Emily Carr alumnae who brought art to life as AIRS artists-in-residence at Mount Pleasant Elementary and contributed to this media project.
  • Eric Tkaczyk, whose camera equipment made this media project possible.
  • Suzanne Hoffman and David Nelson, respectively Superintendent and Deputy Superintendent of Schools at the Vancouver School Board, for enabling innovative arts educational opportunities for students through community partnerships.
  • Gillian Siddall, whose support as President of Emily Carr sponsors and sustains this community-engaged partnership between the university and the Vancouver School Board. 
  • Stuart Poyntz, whose careful and caring stewardship of this project opportunity is a model for community engagement in itself.