Loss, Liminality, Learning

By: Pam Patterson  

This paper describes a project/event which explicates how collaborative creation research can address learning problematics and build community. We asked: How might settler/immigrant stories, both personal and collective, reveal trauma and displacement inherent in historical and cultural disruption and change? Troubled by how this might affect students’ learning, Pam Patterson (faculty) invited artists Leila Talei (staff), Vicky Talwar (graduate student) and Angie Ma (undergraduate student) to join her in research, exhibition, conversation and workshop to occupy this problematic liminal space. Explains Camille Nelson (2004): "Does anyone really have […] a habitat anymore? [...] One’s identity is attached to one’s knowledge, body and sense of home. If one is without a home, one’s identity is compromised either one is identity-less, or one is multiply constructed across time, space and location. The situation is compounded when one’s dislocation is forced or less than fully free […] Identity[’s] temporal component […] resonates over time, making historical legacy tangible and relevant today" (p. 194). Often this crisis is a result of an inherited colonial legacy. Many who came to Canada now bear the trappings of the rewards they reaped from this migration. But didn’t this acquisition of privilege and power have something to do with why they left in the first place? Reference Nelson, C. (2004). Adrift in the Diaspora. In C.A. Nelson & C.A. Nelson (Eds.), Racism, Eh? A Critical Inter-disciplinary Anthology of Race and Racism in Canada (pp. 175-205). Concord, Ont.: Captus Press.

Intergenerational Trauma, Resilience, Emigration, Embodiment, Self Identity, Arts Pedagogies, Diaspora
Arts Education
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Pam Patterson

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Art, Canada
Ontario, Canada

Pam Patterson has, for 30 years, been active in education, art, performance, and women's communities. Her research, performance and teaching have been focused on embodiment and practice, the "body" in art, disability studies, women's studies, and art education with publications in journals such as Studies in Art Education, Learning Landscapes, Canadian Art Teacher, Resources for Feminist Research, Matriarchs: A Canadian Feminist Art Journal, FUSE, Fibre Arts, with presentations in conferences such as The Feminism and Art Conference (Toronto), The Art Education Symposium (Penn State), and Moving Bodies, Embodying Movement: Exploring the Rhetoric of the Body (State University of New York, Brockport) and various Canadian Society for Education through Art (CSEA) conferences across Canada. Her book, Enacting Learning: An Arts-Informed Research with/in the Bay Area Artists for Women's Art (BAAWA) was published by Lambert Academic Publishing, Saarbruken, Germany. She was Director of Research for the Canadian Society for Educating through Art (CSEA), has acted as an ambassador for OCAD University and OISE, University of Toronto for the Canadian Association for the Study of Women in Education (CASWE) and is currently a research fellow at NSCAD University. She has taught graduate and undergraduate courses for various institutions: George Brown College, Ryerson Polytechnical University, York University, Toronto School of Art, University of Waterloo and was, for over 10 years, in education at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Patterson has been teaching and acting as coordinator for Art and Design Education at OCAD University since 2010. From 2004 to 2019, she was Associate Scholar for the Centre for Women's Studies in Education (CWSE) at the Ontario Institute for studies in Education, University of Toronto where she founded WIA projects (, an interdisciplinary program in community-based, arts-informed, feminist-inspired research. She continues, with WIAprojects@1313 to curate exhibitions, performances and events WIAprojects also publishes catalogues, documents and monographs. As a performance and visual artist, she has exhibited and performed nationally and internationally. Recently, she presented performance/video works Distended; Topographies for EdgeZones, Miami and Red Square for Torino Performance Art International. Other works include: Body as Sight/Site, presented at A&Space for 7A 11 D International Performance Festival in Toronto and she lectured and performed works from the "Body in Extremis" series for Being Uncomfortable, Brown University, Rhode Island, Towards Tomorrow at the University of Aberystwyth, and Performance as Pedagogy for the Universities Art Association, Victoria. Patterson presented new work with ARTIFACTS for Made of Walking, in La Romieu, France and at Gallery 1313 Toronto. Her current research, as academic, educator, and artist is with Hollie Kearns, a gallery educator in southern Ireland and addresses intergenerational trauma, disability, memory and language.Patterson is represented by Carbon Art and design.