Past Research


Supported by a SSHRC Partnership Development grant, ArtCan is a partnership that will serve as a digital commons for academic and museum-based researchers, curators, educators, and students working in Canadian art. At a theoretical level, the model of the digital commons allows us to ask, “what do we have in common?” and “how can we share it with each other and with a wider audience?” Practically, the digital commons allows us to create a critical third space between the authoritative generation of knowledge on Canadian art in universities and museums and the researchers, students, and visitors who both seek out that knowledge and contribute to it.

This project is a joint partnership between UNB and University College at the University of Toronto, and directed by Morton and Mark Cheetham (principal investigator, Department of Art, University of Toronto). ArtCan’s additional partners are the Art Canada Institute/Institut de l’art du Canada (ACI-IAC) – a newly formed charitable organization – the Banff Centre, and the Jarislowsky Institute for Studies in Canadian Art at Concordia University.

One of ArtCan’s first initiatives will be a collaboration between the University of Toronto Art Centre at University College, the Electronic Text Centre (ETC) at UNB, the UNB Art Centre, and the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton to digitize collections of Canadian art. Student participation, education, and training will be key to this project.


Bordering the Vernacular: Canada, Folk Art, and the Museological Search for the Settled Past

Funded by a SSHRC Standard Research Grant (principal investigator, Erin Morton, 2009-2010 and 2010-2011), a McCain Young Scholar Award, and UNB’s University Research Fund, this project examines the historical instability of the folk art category in Canada’s two largest federal museums of art and culture, the National Gallery of Canada and the Canadian Museum of History. In doing so, it explores how museums have employed the shifting definition of folk art in the ongoing negotiation of settler-colonial and nation-building narratives up to the contemporary moment, paying particular attention to the regional dimensions of these processes.


The Social Fabric of Healing in 20th-Century Northeastern North America

Funded by a SSHRC Insight Development Grant (principal investigator, Sasha Mullally, Department of History, University of New Brunswick and co-applicant Susan Cahill, Department of Fine Art, Nipissing University), this project examines the ways in which early 20th-century social reform movements emerged and intersected in northeastern North American around two spheres of activity: occupational therapy (OT) and arts and crafts revivalism.

Its purpose is to conduct historical research that illuminates the ways in which women medical professionals used weaving to accomplish social, physical, and mental healing in rural communities across a transnational boundary, across which ideas and personnel flowed freely. Our research will bring together two fields of academic research, the social history of medicine and material culture studies, which have seldom seen critical scholarly intersection – this despite their shared history of utilizing material objects for the purposes of social welfare.