I am becoming an artist everyday through my connections, interconnections, and misconnections with my physical world(s). The dirty and noisy streets of São Paulo, the uncomfortable–comfortable Canadian way of life, and the struggles of the social movements in Latin America inform my art education practices, and for over 20 years, I’ve been exploring popular art as pedagogical tools with the ultimate goal of promoting social change.
I am currently an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba, where I research, supervise graduate students, and teach undergraduate and graduate courses on creative and critical pedagogies, curriculum, arts–based research, qualitative methodologies, and environmental adult education.
In my first postdoctoral studies, at the University of Victoria, I investigated the nonverbal ways in which children with hearing loss, access ideas and develop their understanding of 3D objects in art and mathematic classes. In my second postdoctoral research, conducted at Royal Roads University in the Research by Design Laboratory, I explore the role of graphic novels in including youth in political discourses on climate change.
In my Ph.D. research, titled: “The heART of Social Movements and Learning” and funded by both SSHRC and IDRC (International Development Research Centre), which I combined arts-based methodologies and popular education to trouble discrimination suffered by recyclers in Canada and Brazil. By working with recyclers from São Paulo, I created a traveling art gallery that aimed to: (a) monitor individual and community empowerment as an outcome of such art creation and exhibition; (b) evaluating the effectiveness of art projects to alleviate stigmatization experienced by recyclers; and (c) determining whether using art as a communication tool leads to enhanced participatory policy-making processes. My Ph.D. studies unfolded in the context of the Participatory Sustainable Waste Management (PSWM), which was an interdisciplinary partnership between the University of Victoria and Universidade de São Paulo. The PSWM is a project funded by CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) that was designed to empower and strengthen recycling co-operatives, and promote social inclusion of recyclers in urban areas of Brazil.
As an art educator, I was honoured to be the co-director of Tumbleweeds Theatre Company and Acting School for 12 years. Tumbleweeds was a non profit community theatre where we worked with youth from all ages that were within the spectrum of autism to create and perform meaningful plays with and for our local community.
In the past, I have taught drawing and painting at the Mosaic Learning Society. There, I have had the honour of meeting brilliant youth from different spectrum of autism. I’ve learned so much from them. Nowadays I do run a home base art studio where I develop new approaches to acrylics, projections, spray paint, oils, while exploring the magical world of contemporary expressionism and abstracts.