On August 22, 2023 OCAD University announced the recipients of the 2022/2023 Teaching Awards, and I was selected for the School of Graduate Studies Teaching Award! I am so grateful for the nomination by a student, letters of support from current and former colleagues, and the opportunity to have my teaching portfolio reviewed by the awards committee.
On May 25th after I checked in to my flight to Rome, I received an email from “Favorite Chef” with a subject line that said, “Your application has been approved.” I paused, as I turned off the lights at my apartment, then felt a surge of excitement and joy for getting into this competition that would result in $25,000 for the winner, a trip to New York City, and a two page magazine spread. It all sort of felt too good to be true, and I wondered if the email was spam.
Then I felt dread, because I’m not a chef…but, didn’t need to be a chef to apply. Then I felt a sense of confidence for a new awareness that declining this opportunity is okay if it doesn’t align with my life path. So, I chose to dream about it on the flight, then make a decision after touring around one of the food capitals of the earth.
When I entered the competition, there was a simple form that asked for your name, email address, and a couple of questions about why you like cooking. Then, you had to submit some images of food that you’ve made. I submitted these collages of dishes that I prepared for friends, and myself over the past year and a half:
To create each image, I placed the photograph onto a black background of an IG story, tapped it once to crop the image into a circle, then saved the story as an image. After I accumulated so many food circle images, I took a screen pic of all of them together. It looks so cool! They actually look appetizing, and I think presentation is really key with competitions. Initially, I thought of starting an IG account to share these. Then, thought about maintaining such an account and decided to submit to a competition. Shortly after, I found “Favorite Chef” and went for it!
In Rome, over dinners with colleagues and a restaurant co-owner, I casually mentioned that I got into this competition. Their reactions were similar to mine, and then the restaurant co-owner offered a neutral response/reality check: “If you want to do this, you will need to keep doing this—for the rest of your working life—and make food at the same temperature and same timing for 40+ people, and deal with everything else, too.” (Or something like that). I thought about if I did this, and what a career shift it would be; indeed, I love cooking and making recipes that I enjoy at restaurants, or read about in books, predominantly by Yotam Ottolenghi, or Curtis Stone. Eve though I got into this competition, I realized I didn’t have to do it; my initial entry was more of an expression of interest. I did it for myself, not to meet anyone else’s expectations, so it felt great to get in. I entered it thinking that I would not even get close. As I thought about shifting my career trajectory, I felt a deep sense of knowing that the career path that I am on is where I want to be, and where work is fun, and meaningful.
As I twirled fresh pasta around my fork in Rome, I smiled and said, “No, no, that’s not for me.” The decision was made. I feel great to have been accepted for the competition with Chef Hall, and, I feel equally great to be able to make a decision not to do something that I love at that level. Food is meant to be shared with those who you love. I will continue to do that.
At the end of May, I will attend the International Visual Methods Conference in Rome, Italy to present a paper from my doctoral dissertation, “‘Visual Memoing” as a Technique in Constructivist Grounded Theory.” This work expands on two previous publications, https://www.ajkd.org/article/S0272-6386(14)00969-X/fulltext and https://criticalgerontology.com/visual-memoing/. In this presentation, I will share visual memos from my dissertation, discuss the emerging definition of this technique within constructivist grounded theory, and the value for researchers to create visual and multimodal research memos.
“Since its inaugural event in 2009, the International Visual Methods Conference has developed a reputation as a leading interdisciplinary forum for researchers, artists, visual scholars, activists and other practitioners to engage in dialogue with one another.” –IVMC2023
PeaceAR is a mobile, immersive, and augmented reality (miAR) experience designed to remind people of the universal potential and reality of the need for peace, to support people with re-socialization after a period of isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to support mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) practice.
This project emerged naturally while exploring the Adobe Aero application, which is an immersive augmented reality application for Apple and Android mobile devices.
PeaceAR is available for anyone to try on an iPhone or iPad (not available for Android…yet).
The following instructions explain how to experience the project from wherever you are.
Instructions for PeaceAR
- Open, or download the Adobe Aero application from the Apple Store . The Adobe Aero application is currently only available on Apple devices (i.e., iPhone/iPad). I will explore options for Android users soon.
- Download the PeaceAR Adobe Aero .real asset of your choice: English
- Open the “.real” asset in the Adobe Aero application, and explore.
A brief note on safe use of immersive augmented reality:
Ensure that you are using the Adobe Aero application in an open area on flat terrain. For more information about the safe use of augmented reality, please consult: https://helpx.adobe.com/ca/aero/how-to/augmented-reality-workflows-best-practices-aero.html
- Individuals and/or groups who are interested to celebrate “Peace” around the world;
- Individuals and/or groups who are interested in trying mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) in an active and deliberate way by focusing on this keyword, “Peace”; and
- Survivors of trauma who wish to create a safe zone in a place where they feel safe, or who wish to challenge an automatic thought about a place that is safe, yet holds difficult memories for them.
Background & Purpose
The concept for PeaceAR, and other similar asset designs that I’ve produced is inspired in-part by a mobile poster installation and short documentary video, “They Were” that I created at OCAD University (Toronto, Canada) in the fall of 2007. “They Were” was created with the objective to generate awareness and active public responses to the prevalence and need for prevention of sexual assault and domestic violence. The purpose of using words instead of images to create safe, and calm spaces is to help people to focus mindfully on one word and one thought, in one moment, and to reduce their experience of anxiety and fear. Likewise, to take action and generate community support.
Watch “They Were” (2007) here:
Share your thoughts, photographs, and videos
This is a proof-of-concept artwork, not a research study. I am interested to continue working in this area of mobile, immersive AR, and to apply it as a method in research.
A pastel piece that I created in October from a series of 12 works on paper is part of the “New Vistas: The Spaces We Inhabit” juried exhibition at the Etobicoke Civic Centre Art Gallery . The exhibit is on from November 30, 2022–January 12, 2023.
18cmx26cm (7×10″) unframed, 40.64 x 50.8 cm (16×20”) framed.
Extra Soft Sennelier Pastel on Arches Rough Grain 140lb Watercolour Paper.
“Bein’ Seen” is a play on the title of the song by Joe Raposo, “Bein’ Green” (1970) that was created for Sesame Street. The song, and these works, are about self-acceptance, and being comfortable with being seen for who you are by people who you love and people who love you—no matter what.
The proceeds from the sales of these three paintings were donated to the #CourageFund at St. Michael’s Hospital, which provides St. Michael’s staff with food, rest, emergency childcare, mental health support, and other essentials.
These three pieces respond to the tensions felt during the lockdowns over the past two years during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the personal, and interpersonal growth that I experienced.