Presenters 2018

 Lightning talks!

We will be starting our day with a series of “Lighting talks”.  Each presenter will have a 15 min. intro to their work, or something special to share, above and beyond their workshop sessions. Lighting talk speakers are…

9:30 9:50 10:10 10:30

Meghan Parker

Andrea Kantrowitz

Doug Cooper

Armin Mortazavi

Featured Presenter:  Dr. Andrea Kantrowitz & Dr. Kathryn Ricketts

Dr. Andrea Kantrowitz, EdD., is an artist, researcher, and educator who has lectured and given workshops internationally on art and cognition. She is the graduate program coordinator and assistant professor in Art Education at the State University of New York @ New Paltz.

Dr. Kathryn Ricketts Assistant Professor Arts Education at the University of Regina work explores spectatorship and the culturally-inscripted body within our ever-growing world of fluid borders and hybrid identities with a focus on inclusive education.

Session title: Marks, Movement and Meaning (moment by moment)

Session information:

This interactive presentation explores the capture of spontaneous impulses in drawing, voicing and performing. Accessing the classic framework of call and response in storying, the presenters are interested in the fusion of impulses in collaboration whereby the leader and follower become indeterminable.

The presentation is set into 3 modules allowing for the participants to witness the concepts in performance, to understand the ancestry and theoretical and methodological contexts of the work and then to build capacities through doing and making and finally to explore a collaborative structure enabling an experiential understanding of these capacities and concepts applied within a collective of impulses.

Featured Presenter:  Fredrik (Fred) Thorsen & Katarina (Kat) Thorsen

Brother-sister team—Fred Thorsen, filmmaker, and Kat Thorsen, artist—use simple visual and digital media projects to engage their students through unique, experience-based activities such as storytelling, screenwriting, videography, photography, and editing.

Session title: “Empower YOUth” (a creative engagement and an interdisciplinary approach)

Session information:

The Empower YOUth closing plenary at SKiP 2018 will include an overview of specialized programming, a discussion of outcomes and success stories, a drawing session in which participants experience the power of creative engagement followed by a viewing of powerful short animations created by vulnerable youth entitled “Message to Younger Self.” The presentation will end with a surprise for SKiP participants.

Jessica Motherwell McFarlane Ph.D.

Jessica Motherwell McFarlane, Ph.D.
Research Associate, Justice Institute of British Columbia Director, Life Outside the Box: A graphic narrative project, Education consultant in private practice.
Office: 604-980-0160

Session title: “It’s Good to Be Seen: Taking stick figures on a journey to the heart.”

Session information:

Simple stick figures can provide us with an easy literacy tool — visual alphabet — that can help us better see and tell stories about our own and others’ truth. Once we hop over the “I can’t draw!” barrier, we can use these comics to deepen our analysis of personal and social dynamics, visualize how we might create change, and upstand (rather than bystand) to social injustices.

In this workshop we will create stick figure comics in various styles and with different media to achieve a range of outcomes that could be used by educators, counsellors, and social activist. We also will take a peek at some brain science and psychology that is relevant to the success of the humble stick figure comic. To finish, we will highlight media that encourage storytelling about People of Colour as central characters.

Our journey begins with fun warm ups and proceeds along a path that circles in closer to our truth, our heart and the ability to tell stories that help us we can truly be seen.

Come be surprise by the super powers of humble stick figures.


Sandra Seekins

Sandra Seekins has been a faculty member at Capilano University since 2001, teaching Art History and Women’s and Gender Studies courses. Her research areas of interest include art and trauma, art and activism, and the art of graphic novels and memoirs. In her spare time she walks her two greyhounds or plays and sings with a local ukulele club.

Session title: Making a Mark! Drawing as a Form of Thinking for Non-Artists

Session information: The presentation will include a short twenty minute introduction explaining how I came to this research and why I incorporate drawing in some of my classes. It will outline the benefits of drawing for non-artists utilizing current neuroscience as well as more popular accounts of how drawing facilitates problem solving. The benefits are not contingent on being good at drawing, but rather derive from the unfolding process of mark-making itself. The audience will participate in two to three drawing exercises.

Chris Lanier

Chris Lanier is an artist with a background in both traditional and digital media, and a demonstrated interest in hybrid forms, having worked in multimedia performance, digital animation, web production, and comics. His animation has screened at Sundance and won awards at several international festivals, including the Grand Prize for Internet Animation at the Ottawa International Animation Festival. He is currently the Associate Professor of Digital Art at Sierra Nevada College.

Session title:  Stories That Draw Themselves: Using Narrative Maps To Overcome The Blank Page

Session information: This workshop combines drawing and reflection to examine how images can accrue an associative momentum that invents narrative.

The process starts with quick drawing exercises, with participants making three 3-minute sketches on specific prompts, such as: draw an object that was very important to you in your childhood – or, draw a picture of something that made you sad in the last six months.

These drawings are taped to the wall in clusters, with participants grouping them into several “image constellations,” placing images near other images that share some quality – visual similarities, thematic or symbolic commonalities, sharp juxtapositions. We discuss both the intended meanings of the images, and the kinds of typologies images can suggest.

Each participant then connects five images on the wall with lines of tape. They can only include one drawing that they themselves made, and they must connect images across at least two “image constellations.” The five connected images are then used as the basis for a one-page comic.

We discuss the human mind’s impulse to make connections between disconnected images or moments – the way dreams or memories are made into “stories” – and review how this tendency can be turned into a game, or a narrative engine.

Erin Fields & Dr. Heather O’Brien

Session title:  Information World Mapping: Arts-Based Methods for Understanding Information Behaviour

Erin Fields is a Liaison Librarian in the humanities and social sciences and the Flexible Learning Coordinator at the University of British Columbia. Her research interests include the impact of open learning on learning pathways; community building in open education environments; the intersection of information literacies and digital literacies; emerging roles and library transformation

Heather O’Brien is Associate Professor at the iSchool, University of British Columbia. Her research focuses on user engagement with digital media. She has co-authored two books, Why Engagement Matters and Measuring User Engagement, and numerous articles, and developed a widely used questionnaire, the User Engagement Scale, for evaluating user experience.

Session information:

Arts-based methods use creative approaches (e.g., photography, sketching) to engage research participants, and are widely used in health, education, and anthropology to explore and understand human experience in non-verbal ways. These methods provide rich data about lived experiences, support open and creative expression, and may be useful when working with vulnerable groups.

Information World Mapping (IWM), developed by Dr. Devon Greyson, is a drawing activity embedded in an interview study. IWM asks people to map their “information worlds,” or the people, places and things that facilitate acquiring and using (health, academic, etc.) information. IWM shows how our information worlds are shaped by social relationships (e.g. friends, family, etc.) and larger social influences (e.g., technology, media, etc.).

Recently we adopted IWM to understand the information-related needs and preferences of student refugees during resettlement, with the goal of modifying university services and print/digital information. IWM may be of interest to attendees seeking to understand and improve information access for specific groups.

The interactive workshop will:
1)Introduce IWM through a participatory activity
2)Share examples to highlight the benefits and limitations of IWM
3)Explore how IWM may be used by workshop attendees
4)Provide further information about IWM in a handout.

Featured Presenter: Meghan Parker

Meghan Parker, a North Vancouver secondary school art teacher, is the first Canadian to complete a thesis of an autobiographical nature in comic book form.

Session information 01: Art Teacher in Process

This session presents an autobiographical comic that explores the personal experiences and reflections of a new teacher in the public school system.  Through the examination of artistic and teaching practices the work explores the important roles of the arts and visual literacy while attending to relationships and identities.
Session information 02:Visual note taking and illustrated self-portraits
This workshop will demonstrate visual note taking techniques and strategies. The skills demonstrated would be useful for both teaching contexts and personal practices. Participants will also be guided through the creation of an illustrated self-portrait. 


Louise Phillips

Louise Phillips, a Vancouver artist who draws, teaches drawing, and keeps an ongoing sketchbook practice.

Session title: Sketchbook as backbone

Session information: Drawing, my primary practice, is supported by an equally important (but rarely shown) sketchbook practice. Sketchbooks form a flexible, reliable backbone. They naturally hold together sketches, found objects, notes, and photos as a collection for review and reflection. Juxtaposition of various elements often brings together the seemingly unrelated and makes visible connections previously unconsidered. Just as the human brain is in many ways an accumulated collage, so too are sketchbooks. From sketchbooks have come greater projects. Sketchbooks are a backbone to art practice.

To illustrate the importance of sketchbooks within a drawing practice, the presentation will include both sketchbooks and related projects.
Please note: Everyone attending SKiP is invited to bring their sketchbooks for sharing and conversation after the presentation.

Doug Cooper

Andrew Mellon Professor of Architecture

Session title:  Drawing by Touch

Session information: There is a large body of research within Embodied Cognition that finds a correlation between spatial thinking and hand gestures—e.g. the kind of gestures we make when giving someone directions. With this as background, this talk will explore the spatially expressive drawing exercises of author/teacher Kimon Nicolaides: The Natural Way to Draw (1941). His pedagogy was directed squarely at the action of the hand itself in making a drawing and suggests an underlying reason why drawing by hand may still matter even in the digital age.



Armin Mortazavi

Science Cartoonist & Designer. BSc, MDM.


Session title:  Drawing Your Science as a Story

Session information: An Awesome Collision of Worlds
Using his cartoons, Armin Mortazavi will discuss the parallels between art and science. He will tell the story about his personal ventures, failures and successes in bringing the two together, and highlight how he has used art over the years to make difficult concepts more emotionally engaging to audiences. Armin will also discuss practices used in the digital media industry that that are not too different from scientific research.