Faculty Projects

Erica Mendritzki

Assistant Professor, Division of Fine Arts

Erica Mendritzki, Assistant Professor, Division of Fine Arts, NSCAD University, is the co-principal investigator of a federally funded project that examines the volatile and often uncomfortable intersection of research fields that produce different types of knowledge.

The project is funded by the Government of Canada’s New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF). Joining Mendritzki and Dr. Zurba on the research team are Dr. Andy Park from the University of Winnipeg, and Dr. Roberta Woodgate from the University of Manitoba. The team brings unique and diverse skillsets to the project, with Mendritzki leading research into fine arts, Dr. Zurba examining social science, Dr. Park investigating the ecology side of the research, and Dr. Woodgate taking a closer look at the public health aspect of climate change.

Dr. Charmaine A.
Nelson

Professor of Art History

Dr. Charmaine A. Nelson is a professor of art history, NSCAD University’s Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Transatlantic Black Diasporic Art and Community Engagement, and the founding director of The Institute for the Study of Canadian Slavery.

The Institute is a dynamic, innovative hub that supports research on the art, visual cultures, and histories of Canadian Slavery and its legacies, The Institute is the first such research establishment in the nation and only one of a handful in the world that focus on Transatlantic Slavery. It is currently being developed at NSCAD through funding from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation and the Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage.

Through a variety of archival materials, art, and artifacts, the Institute will share the stories of the lives and experiences of the enslaved in Canada that might otherwise remain hidden, misunderstood, and devalued.

Soloman Nagler

Associate Professor of Media Arts

Soloman Nagler, Associate Professor of Media Arts, is the principal investigator in the research on the study of Memory Activism. The grant, awarded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada, will involve interdisciplinary research and creation between artists, museologists, curators and scholars of genocide and memory studies. The co-applicants for the grant include Dr. Dorota Glowacka – King’s; Dr. Sarah Clift – King’s; Dr. Carla Taunton – NSCAD; and Angela Henderson – NSCAD. Dr. Karin Cope – NSCAD, is a collaborator on the project.

The research will draw on memory/genocide studies and curation methods. The team intends to host a colloquium and shows, plus produce an interdisciplinary curriculum for studio arts and contemporary studies that integrates reflexive, hands-on experiential learning with critical reflection on theories of collective memory and memorialisation. A project website will launch in September to provide broad access to the ongoing interdisciplinary research creation activities, and free webinars throughout the year will feature artists, curators and theorists from across the globe who intersect with the research in memory studies and counter-monument theory.

Dr. Leah Decter

Recipient of a tier 2 Canada Research Chair

Dr. Leah Decter is the recipient of a tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Creative Technologies and Community Engagement. Dr. Decter’s research will address meaningful questions, while providing opportunities, for the next generations of scholars to better address and correct settler colonial systems.

Dr. Decter is working with Tahltan artist, scholar and educator Peter Morin as co-director to launch a Centre for Inter-media Arts and Decolonial Expression (CiMADE) at NSCAD. The centre will support converging streams of interdisciplinary scholarship, experiential pedagogy, inter-media research-creation, arts-based activism and community engagement. Its aim is to create opportunities for diverse students, artists, scholars and communities to explore, engage and experiment with decolonial practices through innovation in inter-media arts.

Gary Markle

Associate Professor in Craft

Gary Markle, Associate Professor in Craft is part of a team leading research into protecting healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The project, Innovations in Sustainable PPE Fabric: Local Solutions for a Global Issue, is a joint endeavor with Dr. John Frampton and his team at Dalhousie University. Markle and Frampton have been awarded $50,000 from the Nova Scotia COVID-19 Health Research Coalition funding competition to investigate the prospect of a personal protective equipment (PPE) fabric that is sustainable and locally produced on demand, with a much-reduced supply chain.

The research will develop a prototype textile that can be used to locally manufacture personal protective equipment, such as surgical masks and garments, to deal with shortfalls in global supply chains, all of which can be produced in the Maritimes. This is a project with local roots and a global reach, in the time of COVID-19. Projects like this demonstrate how craft can have a significant Impact for medical, speculative and economical futures for Nova Scotia.

During normal circumstances, hospitals and clinics rely on international supply chains for supply of their PPE. However, the emergence of COVID-19 has overwhelmed the capacity of these supply chains, leaving medical professionals around the world insufficient access to PPE, such as surgical masks and N95 respirators.

Dr. April Mandrona


Assistant Professor of Art History and Director of Art Education

Dr. April Mandrona, Assistant Professor of Art History in the Division of Art History and Contemporary Culture and the Director of Art Education was awarded a Partnership Development Grant and is the principal investigator.

The research, titled Storying Transnational Knowledges: Connection through Narrative, aims to address the potential of multimodal storytelling (e.g., written and spoken language, visual, audio, etc.) and network building for the well-being and cultural “survivance” of newcomer young people and their communities in Canada and Australia. This research will be explored across four locations: Halifax, Nova Scotia; Montreal, Quebec; Darwin, Northern Territory; and Adelaide, South Australia. Each site will engage 15-20 young people and five adult knowledge keepers. This new partnership involves NSCAD University, McGill University, Charles Darwin University, the University of South Australia, Byenvini à Montréal, and the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia.

Dr. Darrell Varga

Professor Art History and Contemporary Culture

Dr. Darrell Varga’s Shooting From the East: Filmmaking on the Canadian Atlantic (McGill-Queen’s University Press) is a major work of scholarship on the history of filmmaking in the Atlantic region. The book covers the early days of art cinema, including the presence of Robert Frank at NSCAD, through to the establishment of a commercial feature film and television industry.

The NSCAD Drawing
Lab

Research group

The NSCAD Drawing Lab is a research group based in the NSCAD Academy Campus in partnership with faculty in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Dalhousie University.

The Drawing Lab was awarded a third SSHRC Grant (Insight) in April 2021. The investigators include Raymond Klein, NSCAD Associate Professor Mathew Reichertz, John Christie and Amanda Burke (Nipissing University) with collaborators Tim Fedak (Nova Scotia Museum) and retired NSCAD Associate Professor Bryan Maycock. More detailed information is available here.