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NSCAD welcomes six new faculty members as part of 2023 cohort hire

NSCAD University is pleased to introduce six new faculty members who joined our community this summer: Associate Professor Jordan Bennett, Associate Professor Lucie Chan, Assistant Professor Leesa Hamilton, Assistant Professor Anton Lee, Assistant Professor Huschang Pourian and Assistant Professor Vajdon Sohaili.

These new faculty came to NSCAD through a 2023 cohort hire program, which was available to applicants who identify as Black, Indigenous, or as a person of colour, as part of the university’s ongoing development of anti-racist practices and dismantling of oppressive/colonial institutional structures.

These positions, in addition to a 2022 cohort hire that brought Assistant Professor Marissa Alexander, Assistant Professor Nicole Lee, Assistant Professor Haeahn Kwon, and Assistant Professor Joshua Schwab-Cartas to NSCAD, have added a total of 10 new faculty whose practice, research-creation and teaching will support programmatic missions of equity, inclusion, social justice, decolonization, anti-racism, human development, belonging and well-being. 

Jordan Bennett

Associate Professor, Division of Media Arts (Expanded Media)

Jordan’s ongoing practice utilizes painting, sculpture, video, installation and sound to explore land, language, the act of visiting, familial histories and challenging colonial perceptions of Indigenous histories, stereotypes and presence with a focus on exploring Mi’kmaq and Beothuk visual culture of Ktaqmkuk. In the past 10 years Jordan has participated in over 100 group and solo exhibitions nationally and internationally. Most notably he has been long listed for the 2015 and 2016 Sobey Art Award, was shortlisted for the 2018 Awards and was a long list winner in 2020. The artist is partnered with IOTA StudioGallery and has completed large-scale public art commissions including Zatzman Sportsplex (Dartmouth, NS), OCAD University (Toronto, ON), and Beaverbrook Art Gallery (Fredericton, NB). His 100-foot installation “Tepkik,” highlighted in the National Art Gallery of Canada for the 2019 exhibition “Àbadakone,” was the 2020 winner of the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award.

Lucie Chan

Associate Professor of Drawing, Division of Fine Art

Guyana-born Lucie Chan creates multi-layered drawings result from working with voluntary participants from the public to discover potentially connected cross-cultural narratives between seemingly disparate lives. Her recent work frequently involves one on one interviews, in order to gain depth into race-related, immigrant experiences, which are often rooted in misunderstandings and wrongful accusations in the public realm, and aim to provide more answers than answer questions through the translation of stories. She has participated in several solo, duo and group exhibitions across Canada such as Centre For Asian Arts, National Art Gallery, Museum London, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, and Richmond Art Gallery to name a few, and participated in several international residencies in Spain, Italy, Portugal, and France. In addition to receiving numerous provincial and national grants, she has been long-listed twice for the Sobey Art Award in and received the VIVA Award in 2020.

Leesa Hamilton

Assistant Professor, Three-Year Limited Term Sessional, Division of Craft, Textile/Fashion

Leesa has been teaching at NSCAD University in Textiles/Fashion since 2007 and held the roll of Fashion Technician for many years, prior to this was a part-time faculty with Dalhousie University, Costume Studies. Leesa holds a Master of Education from OISE/UT in Adult Education, Counselling, Community Development, a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Diploma in Costume Studies from Dalhousie University and studied fashion with George Brown College.

Leesa is also an award-winning Costume Designer for Theatre with over 25 design credits with productions touring locally and internationally. Much of her current theatre focus is mentoring emerging BIPOC costume designers.

Leesa has an extensive background developing and delivering community engaged arts programming in Toronto and Halifax. With NSCAD Extended Studies she initiated and developed the NSCAD Art Factory which she has been coordinating since 2016. The NSCAD Art Factory trains and supports NSCAD students to share their practice and provide accessible arts programming to communities who face barriers to arts education. The NSCAD Art Factory continues to provide relevant training and employment to NSCAD students and has developed partnerships with organizations that include Phoenix Youth Programs, ISANS, MacPhee Centre for Creative Learning, Wonder’neath Art Society and Laing House.

Anton Lee

Assistant Professor of Art History, Theory, and Philosophy, Division of Art History and Contemporary Culture

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Anton Lee specializes in the history and theory of photography, focusing on the geopolitical contexts of European and Anglo-American countries from the early 20th century to the present. This primary scope of research has been expanded to other periods and regions in the global histories of photography, including East Asia, the Caribbean, West Africa, and the Pacific Northwest. His research interests include: photographic multiples in sequential or serial forms; the epistemology of the photobook; photography’s relationship with text and narrative; critical discourse on photography circa 1970s; critical theory and poststructuralism in the global setting. Through his research and teaching, Lee reevaluates the often maligned aspects of photography, pertaining to confusion, illegibility, and fiction. This is an effort to rethink photography as a vehicle for imaginative and transgressive experiences, in anticipation of a more fluid understanding of selfhood and otherness.

Before joining NSCAD, Lee taught and advised undergraduate and graduate students at the University of British Columbia, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, McGill University, and the University of Houston. Previous course topics encompass: photography history and theory; contemporary photography and lens-based art; postmodern and contemporary art; introductions to global art history; 19th-century visual culture; Korean modern and contemporary art; and art historical methods. His classes aspire truly global, inclusive, and decolonial approaches to subject matter, and this commitment is reflected on course design, from lecture content to assignments. Lee’s most recent classes on contemporary photo theory explored such urgent issues as ecology, petrocapitalism, race and ethnicity, trans and non-binary, the posthuman, indigeneity, migration, and diaspora. His pedagogy greatly values a dynamic pursuit of criticality through in-class debates and research-creation method.

Lee is currently working on his first book, preliminarily titled New Wave of American Photography: The Rise of Photographic Sequence in the United State and France, 1968–1989. His writings have appeared or are forthcoming in various academic journals and art magazines, including Critical Inquiry, History of Photography, Canadian Art, and Afterimage.

Huschang Pourian

Assistant Professor, Division of Design


Huschang Pourian has over 25 years of international experience in brand development and communications, fashion design, product design, and spatial design. The immersive experience of living in Europe, Asia and North America – and working in interdisciplinary, multicultural collaborative teams – has given him a close personal and professional understanding of diverse cultures beyond his own mixed heritage.

Huschang’s industry expertise spans entrepreneurial contexts and multinational corporations (most recently, Philips Design and HBA / Hirsch Bedner Associates) while his academic experience includes communication design at the Beijing Normal University in Zhuhai, and entrepreneurship at Mount Saint Vincent University.

Huschang’s research focuses on technology for education and investigating the potential of the experience economy. He holds a Bachelor of Design and a Master of Technology, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation. Having majored in design and entrepreneurship, he understands how these fields are complementary and essential for driving innovative processes. To prepare students for today’s fast-changing professional environment and the rise of increasingly complex challenges, his goal is to bring real life projects into the classroom and connect students with the industry, while helping them to stay at the forefront of technology.

Vajdon Sohaili

Assistant Professor, Division of Art History and Contemporary Culture


Vajdon Sohaili is an art historian, architectural historian, and critical theorist. He completed his Ph.D. in Architectural History and Theory at Princeton University, with support from Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). Thereafter, he served as a postdoctoral research fellow in Princeton University’s School of Architecture. In addition, Vajdon holds an MA in Art History from the University of Toronto, where he also earned a graduate certificate in Sexual Diversity Studies through the Bonham Centre. Prior to entering academia, Vajdon worked as a professional actor, a commercial illustrator, and an English-as-Additional-Language (EAL) instructor. For 10 years, he worked in non-profit communications for the HIV Legal Network, a health and human rights policy institute in Toronto, and as editorial consultant for an international roster of clients, including the International Human Rights Program at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, the European Harm Reduction Network, and various UN-accredited agencies.