Shannon Leddy

"Having worked with the PDP program, I was aware of Simon Fraser University's excellent reputation in the field of education.  So much innovative thinking has come out of this faculty and it is a true honor to be a part of it."

Year Graduated: 2018
Program/Degree: Arts Education PhD

I am a mother, a writer, an artist and former Vancouver Arts and Social Studies teacher.  Drawing on my background in Art History and Anthropology, and on my Metis ancestry, I am interested in helping teachers integrate Indigenous education into school curriculum. My practice is focused on introducing teachers to the works of contemporary critical Indigenous artists as a mechanism of examining colonial narratives and assumptions in conventional curriculum.  Through phenomenological inquiry, we can enter a dialog with the artist through the lens of their work.  This point of intersection between artist and viewer later becomes the locus for transformative change, for the development of third space thinking than can refocus our work as educators.  At the root of my interest in this work is decolonizing education so that Indigenous ways of understanding and knowing are as honored within the academy as western ways of thinking and knowing.

Please tell us how you first discovered your program.

I first noticed the Arts Education program while working as a Faculty Associate with PDP.

Please tell us why you chose the Faculty of Education at SFU for your studies.

Having worked with the Professional Development Program, I knew of Simon Fraser University's excellent reputation in education.  So much innovative study has come out of this faculty and it is a true honor to be a part of it.

Who is a faculty member you have enjoyed working with and why?

I have enjoyed working with Dr. Susan O'Neill, whose expertise in arts education and qualitative research has been an enormous part of my educational journey.  Dr. Dolores van der Wey and Dr. Vicki Kelly have also been influential through their work in Indigenous teaching and learning, and their leadership as Indigenous faculty members.

What inspires you to learn and continue your education?

I am motivated to change the face of education to include more Indigenous voices, values, and stories, to eliminate colonial stereotypes in education, and to contribute to a citizenry that both recognizes and honors the contributions of Indigenous people to the development of our contemporary sense of what it means to be Canadian.   

What would you say to prospective students who are considering graduate school in the Faculty of Education?

Just do it!! Follow your heart and your path will be revealed as you walk it.