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Art, healing, discovery and the marrow of longing

July 27, 2021
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By Heather Sanders. Full article via SFU Research

Scholar, dancer and poet Celeste Nazeli Snowber fully understands the restorative and transformative power of art. For over two decades, as a professor of arts education at SFU she has used her proficiency as a performance artist and researcher to inspire other artist-educators to use the arts as a place of discovery, and to express their research in artistic ways.

“We can have scholarship that is deeply alive and beautiful,” says Snowber. “Using my expertise in embodied inquiry, we find out what really matters, what’s visceral and important. I want to break down the barriers of what scholarship can be.”

Snowber’s research interests converge within curriculum theory, arts-based research, dance, somatics, spirituality, poetic inquiry, contemplative and holistic education and embodied ways of knowing. Her work informs the growing field of ecopoetics and arts-based environmental education. In 2016, she was recognized with the Ted T. Aoki Award for Distinguished Service, acknowledging the importance of integrating critical cultural exploration into curriculum, and exploring lived curriculum alongside planned curriculum.

“My work focuses on arts-based research and integrating the arts, in particular poetic inquiry and embodied ways of research and scholarship,” says Snowber, “I don’t separate my identity as a poet from my identity as a scholar, artist or performer. At the heart of my work is the integration between body and mind, physicality and spirituality, and an emphasis on connecting the personal and universal. Poetry is one way of discovering what we know and don’t know.”