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Student story

Trudy-Ann Barrett

20 July 2023

"I really appreciated the supportive environment that is available at UC..."


PhD in Education

Vice Principal of Academic Affairs, Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, Jamaica

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 researched 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 was interested in the spaces where place and the visual arts intersect to assist identity development in adolescents. I explored 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 appreciated 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 loved the fact that my research supervisors were invested and interested not only in my academic success but also in my well-being overall.

“Additionally, I enjoyed the multicultural nature of the environment. As someone who is always keen to learn about new cultures, studying at UC afforded me access to places I may never have had the opportunity to visit. The diverse cultural environment also allowed for the consideration of a range of perspectives, thus broadening my view of the world.”

Trudy-Ann gave back to UC by being involved with the College of Education Postgraduate Committee (EPGCOM).

“I 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.

When not busy with research, Trudy-Ann liked to explore New Zealand to fuel her love for art.

“I enjoyed 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 liked to take advantage of breaks to visit and capture the beauty of new places or to view the familiar in a new light.”

Following her doctoral degree, Trudy-Ann returned to Jamaica, where she was appointed Senior Lecturer at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts – the premier tertiary Arts institution in the Anglophone Caribbean.

She was recently promoted to the position of Vice Principal of Academic Affairs, where she is responsible for academic leadership and initiative for the development and maintenance of high quality arts programmes that are relevant to the needs of the Caribbean.

In this role, Trudy-Ann enjoys working with some of the best arts practitioners and arts educators in the disciplines of dance, drama, music, the visual arts, and arts management to ensure the creative and efficient delivery of the College's programmes. She is especially looking forward to steering efforts toward the expansion of the culture of research-based practice at the institution.

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