New faces at NSCAD
May 11, 2016

Some new and familiar faces: Dr. April Mandrona, Elena Brebenel, Jennifer Green and Marcia Connolly.
There will be some new faces at NSCAD University, starting in July.  Dr. Ann-Barbara Graff, Vice-President (Academic & Research) announced today the appointment of four new faculty members to NSCAD University.

“I am delighted to welcome NSCAD’s newest colleagues. This is a very exciting time on campus. Each of these faculty members will contribute to NSCAD’s diverse and intellectually rich community.”

Professors Elena Brebenel and Jennifer Green will join the Textiles/Fashion Department, part of the Craft Division; Dr. April Mandrona will be join the Division of Art History and Critical Studies; and, filmmaker Marcia Connolly has a sessional appointment in Film.

Elena Brebenel
joins NSCAD’s Textiles/Fashion Department with expertise in the dye, print and surface design. The Romanian-born textile artist and designer received a BA in Textiles Arts from the University of the Arts “George Enescu” in Iasi, Romania in 2006 and a MFA from the University of Kansas in 2011. She is currently a PhD candidate in design at the Textile Futures Research Centre based in Central Saint Martins in London, England. With a highly experimental and research-driven practice, Prof. Brebenel’s research interests lie at the intersection between craft and science. Using textiles and biomimicry, she is exploring the development of artifacts for the betterment of human lives, with a focus on health in the domestic environment.

“The quality of research projects undertaken by NSCAD faculty is impressive and I am very happy with the idea of joining the community,” says Prof. Brebenel.

Originally from Toronto, Jennifer Green is a textile designer currently residing in Antwerp, Belgium. After graduating with her BFA from NSCAD University, she undertook the NSCAD-Lunenburg Community Studio Residency program and then went on to pursue her Masters of Textiles in weaving at the Royal College of Art in London, England. She has worked on numerous projects in the fields of fashion, footwear and vehicle design, including collaborations with artisanal mills in Europe and Japan. Most recently, Jennifer worked as an assistant designer at Lee Jeans. Prof. Green’s research focus is on bast fibre spinning and weaving and she is particularly interested in developing these processes on a local level in Nova Scotia. Within her textile practice she is heavily influenced by both craft and design principles.

“As part of the NSCAD community, in various roles over the years, I can attest to the high quality of teaching that the university provides and am eager to work with NSCAD students again,” she says.

Adds Gary Markle, chair of the Craft Division: "On behalf of the Craft Division I offer a warm welcome to our new hires! We are looking forward to their imminent arrival.”

Art Education

Art educator Dr. April Mandrona will be teaching Visual Arts in the Classroom and Guided Methods as part of NSCAD’s Visual Arts Certificate for Teachers program.  Dr. Mandrona will also contribute to the renewal of NSCAD’s graduate program in Art Education.  She received her doctorate in Art Education from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, and most recently was SSHRC postdoctoral fellow at McGill University.

“We look forward to Dr. Mandrona’s leadership role in Art Education and in her contribution to the development of our proposed Master of Arts in Art Education, a program we intend to launch in the fall of 2017,” says Darrell Varga, Chair of the Art History and Critical Studies Division.

Dr. Mandrona has significant international experience. Her community art education research with young people focuses on the social roles of artistic production, rurality, ethical practice, and innovative approaches to youth participation. Her postdoctoral project involved the use of art-making and digital/cellphone network building as means to develop youth and community advocacy and to address issues related to poverty, rurality and a lack of opportunities in South Africa. 

As a Maritimer, she remains grounded in Eastern Canada’s creative scene. “My artistic practice and research orientation emerges from personal encounters with the people and landscapes of Eastern Canada,” she says. “My new beginning at NSCAD is in many ways a homecoming. I am thrilled to be a part of this vibrant and innovative scholarly community.”

A director and cinematographer, Marcia Connolly’s independent films and TV shows, including more than 50 episodes of shows including Street Cents, Nerve, CBC News: Sunday and Connect with Mark Kelley for CBC, have been internationally shown and broadcast. The documentary Spring & Arnaud, which she co-directed with Katherine Knight, explored the lives and work of artists Spring Hurlbut and Amaud Maggs and was awarded the Audience Top 10 at the 2013 Hot Docs Festival. Her latest documentary, Strange & Familiar: Architecture on Fogo Island, received two awards at the 2015 Atlantic Film Festival:  best Atlantic documentary and best Atlantic cinematographer. This beautiful film which she co-directed with Katherine Knight was recently screened at Halifax Central Library in association with NSCAD’s 2016 graduation festivities and the awarding of an honorary degree for architect Todd Saunders (BDes 1992), whose work is highlighted in the film.

Marcia has a BFA from NSCAD University and a MFA in Cinematography and Film/Video Production from York University.

Congratulations and welcome to Professors Brebenel, Green, Mandrona, and Connolly on their new appointments.