Creative Impulse (co-authored by Gerard Choy)


Positioning modernism as rooted in Euro-American centres of cultural power is untenable and disconnects it from current globalizing realities. Ming Tiampo's "Decentering Paris" (2014) cites transnational encounters of post-war Paris as critical to modernism's development, and Lost in Space (2005) engages Mieke Bal's concept of migratory aesthetics where "accented" English contains enriched meaning through localization. These lines of decentering underpin our suspicion that far from the telephone being broken, acts of translation are, in fact, their own impulses--sites of creative authenticity vested in the authority of the moment. Such moments form the points of departure that frame our interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary projects The Hundred-Eyed Satellite (2014), How to Say (2015), and The Phrase Book of Migrant Sounds vol. 1 and 4 (2010 and 2016). Individually and collaboratively we question the authority of English and examine tensions between unique voices and the congruence they seek with each other.


2016 Conference of the Universities Art Association of Canada (UAAC), UQÀM, Montreal, Canada 

Not so Tacit: Interdisciplinary Design in the Development of Academic Writing Skills


Acquisition of academic writing skills was once seen as belonging to the realm of tacit knowledge. A desire for greater social inclusion and attention to student academic success has created an appetite for more explicit teaching of these skills in university educational contexts. In spite of laudable efforts by many faculty to incorporate writing process more directly in assignments, however, there remains no singular approach or set of best practices to ensure academic writing success for students. How can tutors and university instructors build on the idiosyncratic and diverse abilities students bring to the table? How does a student’s comfort level in English influence the processes in which they engage as they write?

This session will explore the relationships among English language fluency, academic essay-writing, and creative processes associated with interdisciplinary design practice. Anchored by Dong’s The Language of Design (2009), hooks’ Teaching to Transgress (1994), and Halliday’s An Introduction to Functional Grammar (2004), essay-writing process will be discussed as a matter of design.

My experience teaching international post-baccalaureate design students who use English as an Additional Language (EAL) places me at the nexus of EAL, interdisciplinary design education, and academic writing skills. Thinkers such as Donald Schôn have already linked the fields of learning and design through theory. Interdisciplinary design methodologies, however, may offer more specific strategies for leveraging students’ capacities to make meaning multimodally. This foregrounds the creative in academic writing and builds upon Dong’s notion that language production, in and of itself, is an act of design. 


2016 Academic Writing and English Language Learning Conference at Saint Mary's University, Global Methods--Local Practice

Multiliteracies and Global Englishes in Art and Design Education


Linguistic and cultural diversity increasingly define today’s Canadian University classrooms. Rigorous admissions standards and English-language bridging programs are important for helping students who self-identify as “EAL,” but they cannot completely erase the linguistic and cultural barriers that threaten to jeopardize these students’ academic success. Canagarajah (2005), hooks (1994), and Pennycook (2007) call into question the formalized and standardized English rooted in colonialism and modernism that privileges some students while marginalizing others.

At the same time, an increasing number of university faculty are incorporating information communication technologies (ICTs) or blended learning into their syllabi in formal and informal ways, diversifying the modes for teacher-student and student-student dialogue.
Such practices, according to Luke (2003), offer “collaborative learning possibilities and deterritorialized meaning making and knowledge configuration” (p. 398), effectively enacting a pedagogy of multiliteracies (New London Group, 1996).

The interactive presentation proposed here will reflect on Pennycook’s concept of ‘global Englishes’ (2007) and the New London Group’s pedagogy of multiliteracies as they intersect in different types of online social and educational spaces created, used, and/or inhabited by linguistically- and culturally-diverse groups of students at NSCAD University. An arts-centred university is the ideal situation for a thorough reflection on this topic, as the creation of meaning drawn from a wide variety of semiotic modes is not only the ‘how,’ but the ‘what’ of much of the curricula. The verbal articulation of creative processes are also often foregrounded in NSCAD’s studio courses, promoting the development of students’ metaknowledge and active engagement in peer critique.

Narratives drawn from my experiences as an instructor in the foundation, design, and media arts divisions at NSCAD will offer a useful platform in this presentation for discussing the development of students’ Englishes, contributing to a greater understanding of the development of academic literacies for the 21st century.


2016 Dalhousie Conference on University Teaching and Learning, Exploring Change and Resilience in University Teaching and Learning

Keep English Weird: What Studio Practice Can Teach us about Academic English


Participation in academic discourse, in its broadest sense, is rooted in words and their uses to name and critically reframe phenomena of our world(s). Academic writing is no less a creative pursuit than painting, sculpture, or film; as with other creative forms, many of us learn how to write well only with practice, experimentation, and personal investment. Filtered through Universal Design for Learning, a pedagogy of multiliteracies, and narrative inquiry, this presentation explores ways in which academic writing can be approached as a 'studio' pursuit for undergraduate students.


2014 Academic Writing & English Language Learners' ConferencePractice in Place

Media Art-Making for Multiliteracies and Language Learning


Linguistic and cultural diversity are hallmarks of the 21st century Canadian classroom, and at the same time, electronically-mediated communication is a prevalent reality in students' social lives. Media art-making in the classroom creates a focused space where students can critically engage with the processes of production behind the images and messages surrounding them in their daily lives, fostering language skills, cultural awareness, and critical thinking. Such practices also aid in the development and use of metalanguage for discussing media. With one foot in high art and the other in popular culture, media art practices are the ideal locus for such engagement. Animation, videomaking, and the creative writing associated with both demonstrate the importance of how we represent ourselves and others to the world, what we leave out of the frame, and how we strive to communicate the meanings we intend.


2013 Canadian Society of Education through Art/Canadian Art Gallery Educators' National Conference, Interconnections

Comparing Online Social Networks in an EFL Learning Context


This study compared how different online social networking platforms affect English language learner identity investment and speakers’ pragmatic competence in English. Participants, drawn from a university English conversation class in South Korea, were assigned to use online social networking sites or a class blog for weekly practice. Quantitative analyses of corpora generated from students’ online interactions in each site yielded significant differences among students’ investment in L2 learner identity, but not in their rates of improvement in target language items. The results of this study imply a strong, direct connection between learner investment in L2 identity and multimodal expression online, and reinforce the widely-accepted notion that increased target language practice helps learners develop socio-pragmatic competence.


2012 TESL Canada National ConferenceTESL Interiors: Landscapes of Literacies and Language

2010 PAC-KOTESOL (Pan-Asia Conference and Korea TESOL International Conference XVIII), Advancing ELT in a Global Context