University of Calgary

Jennifer Eiserman

  • Associate Professor


I am fascinated by how people learn through engagement with art and with each. This has engaged me in teaching and research about community based art and collaborative practice. The importance of making together, learning together, and understanding together have been the driving force of my research and my teaching practice. This has resulted in two bodies of work:

First, I have been exploring the nature of learning through art. My work is inspired by the pedagogy of the early childhood educators in Reggio Emilia. This practice understands that at each stage of our development, we humans are equipped with problem solving and inquiry skills appropriate to that particular context, from that of early childhood to post-graduate studies. It also is based on a constructivist, learner-centred, negotiated, generative approach that requires that teacher and student collaborate in the co-creation of knowledge. Learning what this means, and how best to support learning through art, has been the work of my students and myself in the university classroom and within early childhood, elementary and community settings in Calgary, Alberta.

A second area of interest is multiculturalism in art and art education. This definition includes issues with ethnicity and identity in art/art education as well dialogue between different academic disciplines. Work in this area has included: research into the nature of the contribution of Canadian artists of Chinese decent to Canadian art; the interrelationship between the fine arts and sciences, especially within digital technologies; and most recently, contemporary Jewish art and community based Jewish art in North America.

Relevant Research Contributions Over The Past 6 Years (2009-2015)

Papers in Peer Reviewed Journals

Eiserman, J., Lai, H. & Rushton, C. (April, 2015). Drawing out understanding: Arts based learning and gifted children. Gifted Education International. content/early/2015/03/31/

Eiserman, J. and Blatter, J. (2015). Understanding through storyboarding: A study of multi-modal literacy. Canadian Review of Art Education 41(2), 169-184.

Eiserman, J. and Hushlak, G. (2014) Reclaiming The Image: The Cross-Breeding Project. The International Journal of Visual Design 7(3), 11-29.

Eiserman, J. and Hushlak, G.(2013). Keeping interactive art interactive. The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, 6(2) 183-196

. _____________________  (2013). Watching clouds: Observing the shifting nature of digital art. The International Journal of the Image. 3(1) 13-24.

 _____________________  (2013). BreederArt: Using symmetry in digital design. The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, 8(6), 31-44.

 _____________________  (2011). The mistake: The importance of errors in computer-generated images. The International Journal of the Image, 1, (2) 93-102.

_____________________ (2010). Creating art in the Twenty-First Century: I sort, therefore I am. The International Journal on Design Principles and Practices 4(4), 45-56.

Eiserman, J. (2009). They can still act Chinese and be canadian at the same time: Reflections on the multicultural act and Canadian arts institutions. Canadian Review of Art Education, 36, 67-82.

Eiserman, J., Hushlak, G., Hushlak M. A.  (2009). A model for exploring Anyville: Using dialogical collaboration to create art about place. International Journal on Society and the Arts, 4(4) 211-228

Blatter, J. and Eiserman, J. (2013). Story boarding as instruction and documentation in the classroom. The International Journal of the Image, 3(3), 59-73.

Book Chapters

Eiserman, J. (2012). Learning in the art gallery: Essential not enrichment! [3rd Edition]. In Kit Grauer, Rita Irwin and Michael Emme (Editors) StArting With… Kingston, ON: Canadian Society For Education Through The Arts.

Art Catalogue Essays

Eiserman, J. (2010). Drawing in the edges of chaos. Essay for Bred, catalogue accompanying exhibition by the same name (work by Gerald Hushlak). Two Rivers Gallery, Prince George, BC.

Peer Reviewed Conference Presentations

Eiserman, J. (2014). Creative midrash. Paper presented to the University Art Association of Canada conference, Toronto, ON.

Eiserman, J, Lai, H., Rushton, C. (2014). Drawing out understanding. Paper presented to the Dubrowskin International Conference, Canmore, AB.

Eiserman, J. and Lai, H. (2014). When Fisher went to Skyland. Paper presented at the National Art Education Association convention, San Diego, CA.

 Eiserman, J. & Blatter, J. (2013a). Story boarding as collaborative problem-solving in the classroom. Paper presented to the Canadian Society Through Art Annual Conference. Montreal, QC.

Edited Conference Proceedings

Eiserman, J. and Hushlak, G. (2012). The Digital Printshop, Intersections and Counterpoints: Proceedings of Impact 7, an International Multi-Disciplinary Printmaking Conference, Luke Morgan (Ed.), Monash University Publishing, Melbourne, Australia.

Blatter, J. and Eiserman, J. and (2013). Making Apart Together: Distributed Collaboration in Art Education, in Collaborating for Learning, Mary Jane Leeder (Ed.), University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta.

Most Significant Career Contributions

2010-2013       A sustained study of the aesthetics of digital art through the work of artist Gerald Hushlak, RCA, Canadian pioneer in digital art. This during this time I was engaged in observing the work of Canadian pioneer digital artist Gerald Hushlak, RCA. During this study I was able to identify some key aesthetic elements of indigenous to digital art.

2006-2010       Chinese Canadian Art: Embracing Diversity within the Canadian Art Canon

This study, funded by a University of Calgary Research Grant, built a data base of Chinese Canadian artists’ work and gathered information, through survey questionnaires and interviews, about the experience of being an artist of Chinese descent in Canada.

2004-2005       Including All The Pieces: The Chinese Calgarian Tessarae in the Canadian Cultural Kaleidoscope.

This SSRC funded study provided important insight into Canadian art from non-European traditions. The dissemination of this knowledge nationally and internationally through published papers and conference presentations has brought some level awareness of the diversity that contemporary Canadian art involves, recognizing contributing traditions beyond European antecedents.


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