Karin Cope holds a BA in Literature from Yale University and a PhD in Comparative Literature with a concentration in Art History from Johns Hopkins University. Prior to her appointment at NSCAD, Dr. Cope held a postdoctoral fellowship dedicated to the study of Multiculturalism and the Arts with the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women at Brown University, and then an Assistant Professorship in the Department of English at McGill, where she taught courses in Queer Theory, Feminist Theory, Postcolonial Studies and African American and African diasporic literatures. A poet, photographer, activist and scholar, Dr. Cope is currently the Acting Chair of Art History and Contemporary Culture and the Director of the Master of Fine Arts Program at NSCAD. Courses taught at NSCAD include Art Action and Environment; Queer Theory; Poetry as Social Action; Pedagogy; Strategic Fictions; Topics in Contemporary Art Education (Art and Environment).
Dr. Cope frequently works collaboratively, and has co-created numerous research, activist and arts collectives and projects, including the Wild Art Shore Project, the Dimensional Poetry Project, the Rural Coastal Communities Project and the Art + Activism Collective, a NSCAD-based interdisciplinary group designed to explore and develop relationships between art practice, scholarship, activism and social justice.
With her partner, Marike Finlay, Cope has logged months at sea in remote coastal communities in Central America, Maritime Canada, British Columbia, the Arctic and the Baja California, while conducting collaborative research and developing poetic, scholarly and socially engaged bodies of work. Records of some of their voyages may be seen here: https://quoddysrun.ca/
Making use of the materials and media of poetry, installation, performance and photography, much of Cope’s work uses critical decolonial and environmental lenses to explore liminal states and the frayed and permeable boundaries between self and other, past and present, human and non-human. She is currently completing a poetry and performance-based trilogy about seafaring, globalization and ruptured relationships entitled Ex votos for a broken world. Cope also joins colleagues at NSCAD and Kings College as a researcher and arts-based collaborator in a recently awarded $235,000 SSHRC grant dedicated to memory activism.
Substantial solo publications include a scholarly monograph written in dialogue and concluding with a play, Passionate Collaborations: Learning to Live with Gertrude Stein (University of Victoria, 2005), a poetry collection entitled What We’re Doing to Stay Afloat (Pottersfield, 2015), and, since 2009, a photo/poetry blog entitled Visible Poetry: Aesthetic Acts in Progress. (More information on many of Cope’s projects may be seen here: https://visiblepoetry.wordpress.com/about/).
Collaborations with Marike Finlay include numerous policy research and documents on arts, culture and the environment, an illustrated history of the Lunenburg Foundry–Casting a Legend: The Story of the Lunenburg Foundry (Nimbus 2002), as well as a variety of journalistic pieces and the sailing blog, West by East.