Keynote by Julia Ostertag:
Teaching, Researching, and Tripping in the School Garden: Stories from an Arts-Based Research Metissage
Compelled by the idea that a “teacher” need not be the familiar solitary human figure in the front of a classroom but could be various human and more-than-human entanglements, Julia worked with student teachers and a garden on the UBC campus to create conditions for “becoming teachers together.” The arts-based research project positioned the garden and the teacher education building as generative spaces for a series of site-specific art installations that she entitled “Threads sown, grown & given.” In this presentation, she will share gleanings from the plant and nonhuman animal teachers that figured in the research project (specifically: flax, fireweed,and spiders) and delve into the difficult knowledge that was knotted into the material practices of teaching with gardens, namely the difficult history of school gardens, struggles with failure, and relationships with land in the context of settler colonialism and the increasingly neoliberal academy. Julia Ostertag lives and gardens on the shores of the ichisìpi (Ottawa River) where she is raising two young children, writing, and teaching courses related to teacher education, garden-based education, environmental education, food education, and arts-based research. She is currently working on a collaborative research project with the University of Ottawa, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, and the Ottawa Forest and Nature School. She won the 2016 Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies Dissertation Award.