'I love the fact that my research supervisors are invested and interested not only in my academic success but also in my well-being overall...'
PhD in Education
Trudy-Ann’s experience of teaching at secondary and tertiary levels in her home country Jamaica led to her passion for the arts as a form of education. In particular, Trudy-Ann is researching the use of the visual arts to help students negotiate their senses of place.
‘Ideas of place have always been fundamental to understanding human experience. In my study, I am interested in the spaces where place and the visual arts intersect to assist identity development in adolescents. I explore art-making strategies that may be used to help students access, explore, connect, and contest those assumptions within places that challenge their conceptions of self, their communities and their futures.’
Trudy-Ann’s interest in art as a form of cultural education stems from her own experience as a visual artist. She has found art to be a strong method in developing students’ identity within her teaching. ‘I was inspired to seek out meaningful strategies that might broaden the ways in which the field is conceived and to help art educators to make their practices better,’ she says.
Trudy-Ann chose to pursue research at UC because of the excellent support available for PhD students and their research.
‘I really appreciate the supportive environment that is available at UC,’ she says. ‘What set Canterbury apart from other institutions for me was the responsiveness of the faculty to the needs of the students. I love the fact that my research supervisors are invested and interested not only in my academic success but also in my well-being overall.
‘Additionally, I enjoy the multicultural nature of the environment. As someone who is always keen to learn about new cultures, studying at UC affords me access to places I may never have had the opportunity to visit. The diverse cultural environment also allows for the consideration of a range of perspectives, thus broadening my view of the world.’
Trudy-Ann has given back to UC by being involved with the College of Education Postgraduate Committee (EPGCOM). ‘I have had the pleasure of helping to identify opportunities for postgrads to have a stake in the decisions that affect the direction of the College and to help new and international students to integrate well with the community,’ she says.
Trudy-Ann hopes that her research will be of huge benefit to schools back in Jamaica.
‘I would like to work with the Ministry of Education in Jamaica to assist with the development of visual arts curricula for secondary schools. I also intend to continue with my previous role of helping to prepare visual arts educators for the field.’
When not busy with research, Trudy-Ann likes to explore New Zealand to fuel her love for art.
‘I enjoy the fact that this place is so breathtakingly beautiful and easily accessible, allowing me the opportunity to travel about from time to time. My husband is a photographer so we like to take advantage of breaks to visit and capture the beauty of new places or to view the familiar in a new light.’