Three professors join the Faculty of Education

The Faculty of Education welcomes three new faculty members this fall: Natalia Balyasnikova, Gabrielle Moser and Oyemolade (Molade) Osibodu.

Interim Dean Sharon Murphy said the Faculty of Education is delighted to welcome new colleagues this fall.

"Faculties are enlivened by the perspectives and energy new colleagues bring," said Murphy. "We look forward to engaging in conversations with them as we move forward on faculty priorities and interests such as responding to anti-Black racism and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as well as engaging in education in a time of pandemic and climate change."

Natalia Balyasnikova is from Saint Petersburg, Russia and came to Canada in 2013. She completed a PhD in language and literacy education at the University of British Columbia in July 2019. In her award-winning doctoral dissertation, she explored older immigrants’ educational engagement in community-based settings. This narrative ethnography merged traditional ethnographic data generation methods with facilitation of oral, written and multimodal storytelling activities. Balyasnikova conceptualized learning in later life as a multifaceted process that demands new forms of pedagogies which embrace the affective and the creative sides of human expression.

With her focus on community-based research and public scholarship, she works with attention to the needs of her research partners and facilitates their vision for positive change. By analyzing learning that occurs at the intersection of ageing and immigration, her work suggests new pathways of community-based curriculum and educational policy in the context of changing demographics in Canada. Balyasnikova is currently exploring how playfulness and creativity sustain learning across the lifespan, the role of digital technologies in this process, as well
as older immigrants' well-being and it's connection to lifelong learning.

Gabrielle Moser an art historian, art critic and curator based in Toronto. Her research and teaching address the intersections of photography, race and citizenship, with an emphasis on feminist and psychoanalytic approaches to analyzing visual culture. Moser's first book, Projecting Citizenship: Photography and Belonging in the British Empire (Penn State University Press, 2019), is the first book-length study of the Colonial Office Visual Instruction Committee’s lantern slide lectures (1907-45) – an imperial education project that attempted to teach school children around the world what it meant to look and to feel like imperial citizens through affective engagements photographs. She is currently working on the manuscript for her second book, Citizen Subjects: Photography and Sovereignty in Post-War Canada, which uses the photographic archive to investigate how racialized citizens made claims for belonging in Canada around 1947, the year Canada’s first citizenship law was passed, and argues that Canadian citizenship became visually legible as part of an international flow of images that shaped decolonization movements, Civil Rights activism and modern liberalism.

Moser contributes regularly to Canadian Art and Artforum magazines and has published her work in the Journal of Visual Culture, Journal of Curatorial Studies, Photography & Culture, and Prefix Photo, among others. She has curated exhibitions for Access Gallery, Gallery 44, Gallery TPW, the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Oakville Galleries and Vtape, and is a founding member of the feminist working group, EMILIA-AMALIA (emilia-amalia.com), which explores intergenerational feminist knowledge transmission through workshops, film screenings and public events. She is the principal investigator of a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Connection Grant (with co-applicant Carol Payne, Carleton University), “Reparative Frames: Visual Culture after Reconciliation,” and a SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant (with co-applicant Annie MacDonell, Ryerson University), “Failure is an Option: Assessing Challenges and Identifying Resources for Feminist Artist-Run Culture” with the Canadian Filmmakers’ Distribution Centre (CFMDC).

Oyemolade Molade Osibodu joins the Faculty of Education as an assistant professor in mathematics education. Her work, situated within the sub-field of critical mathematics education, asks two important questions: 1) How can mathematics education be humanizing for Sub-Saharan African youth? and 2) How can mathematics education be harnessed to redress social injustices related to race (particularly anti-Blackness), identity and power?

Osibodu completed her PhD in mathematics education at Michigan State University in May 2020. Her doctoral research explored how Sub-Saharan African youth made sense of social issues in their communities and its connection to mathematics. Osibodu engaged the youth as co-researchers and found that they were largely concerned with foregrounding the mathematics practices embedded in pre-colonial African society. Thus, Osibodu argues that social justice discourses in mathematics education must expand to include cognitive justice that redresses the loss of African Indigenous knowledges.

Osibodu draws on [African] decolonial theories to situate her research while also using decolonizing, participatory and critical methodologies in framing her research. Osibodu is known to elevate non-traditional voices such as Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie into her mathematics education research. Her approach is rooted in the belief that there is much to learn from voices, theories and disciplines outside the boundaries of mathematics education. At York, Osibodu plans to continue her research within the sociocultural and sociopolitical aspects of mathematics education by expanding her work to understand the mathematics experiences of Sub-Saharan African immigrants and refugees in receiving countries.