Rita Irwin Scholarship

rita-irwin.jpgRita L. Irwin is a distinguished university scholar and professor of art education at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, BC, Canada. Rita received her formal education at the University of Lethbridge (BEd and diploma), the University of Victoria (MEd) and the University of British Columbia (EdD). She began her career as an arts specialist in the Lethbridge School District (Alberta) where she taught for ten years. She began her career in higher education at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, ON (1988-1992) before returning to UBC where she has been ever since. Rita has been an educational leader for a number of provincial, national and international organizations including being president of the Canadian Society for the Study of Education, Canadian Association of Curriculum Studies, Canadian Society for Education through Art, International Society for Education through Art and Chair of the World Alliance for Arts Education. At UBC she was also head of the Department of Curriculum Studies (six years) and associate dean, teacher education (10 years), among other leadership roles. A recent highlight has been her role as principal editor of the International Journal for Education Through Art.

Her research interests have spanned in-service art education, teacher education, socio-cultural issues and curriculum practices across K-12 and informal learning settings. Rita publishes widely, exhibits her artworks and has secured a range of research grants, including a number of Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada grants to support her work in Canada, Australia, Africa and Taiwan. She is best known for her work in a/r/tography that expands how we might imagine and conduct arts practice based research methodologies through collaborative and community-based collectives. Several of her edited books are widely used: Curriculum in a New Key: The Collected Works of Ted T. Aoki (co-edited with William F. Pinar), Revisions: Readings in Canadian Art Teacher Education (co-edited with Kit Grauer & Mike Emme) and Being with A/r/tography (co-edited with Stephanie Springgay, Carl Leggo & Peter Gouzouasis). Rita is an artist, researcher and teacher deeply committed to the arts, curriculum studies and education. In recognition of her many accomplishments and commitments, she has received a number of awards for her teaching, service and scholarship including the distinction of distinguished fellow of the National Art Education Association (NAEA), the Ted T. Aoki Award for Distinguished Service in Canadian Curriculum Studies, the inaugural Canadian Art Teacher of the Year Award, the Killam Award for Excellence in Mentoring from the University of British Columbia and the Elliot Eisner Lifetime Achievement (NAEA). While her life in education has offered her tremendous opportunities she is especially proud of the many research creation projects she has pursued with her arts education colleagues and graduate students. It is in this space of living inquiry through the arts, curriculum studies and education that has sustained her very being.

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