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Alena Buis MA (Concordia), PhD (Queen’s)

Dr. A Buis
Surrey Office: 
Spruce 152D

I am passionate, dynamic and curious in my learning and endeavour to bring these qualities into my teaching. I encourage students to be creative in their research, thoughtful in their questioning, and clear in their expression. My teaching philosophy is innovation based and learning centred. It embraces diversity, promotes active learning and encourages critical thinking.

In 2013 I completed my PhD at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. My dissertation, "Homeliness and Worldliness: Materiality and the Making of New Netherland and New York, 1609-1750" critically investigated the intersecting topics of domestic interiors, women's history, cultural production and global consumption to explore how Dutch colonial projects intellectually imagined and physically built homes overseas. This research was supported by doctoral fellowships from the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada, the New Netherland Institute, Winterthur Museum, and Queen's Alfred Bader Travel Scholarship.

My research has been featured in Early Modern Women: Remapping Routes and Spaces (2015), The Development of Art in Canada," Professional Practices: Canadian Women Artists (2012), Depicting Canada's Children (2009) and an anthology I co-edited Craft, Community and the Material Culture of Place and Politics, 19th-20th Century (2014). My work has also appeared in peer-reviewed publications such as the Journal of Modern Craft, Dutch Crossing, Material Culture Review, Inuit Art Quarterly, and Cahiers métiers d'art*Craft Journal.

I have presented my research internationally at academic conferences and invited talks and lectured on the history of Canadian art, Dutch visual and material culture at the Society of Early Americanists Biennial Conference, the Canadian Women Artists History Initiative Conference, the University Art Association of Canada Conference, the Association of Art Historians Annual Conference (UK), the Renaissance Society of America Conference, Attending to Early Modern Women, and the Birkshire Conference on the History of Women.

My current research examines the scholarship of teaching and learning as it relates to art history. Teaching has helped me to clarify my own research and has been an important aspect of my professional development. With a wide range of personal, academic and professional interests, I have taught everything from horseback riding lessons to advanced university courses. From these experiences I have grown passionate about enhancing the learning experience, supporting fellow educators and building connections, opportunities, and partnerships that foster exceptional results. As part of an OER Fellowship I am currently examining how to incorporate more open resources and open pedagogy into art history.

Courses Taught

Areas of Interest

  • Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
  • Pedagogy and art historical practices
  • Visual and material culture in early modern Dutch trade networks
  • Gender and artistic production
  • Craft and material culture
  • Canadian art and historiography of Canadian art

Scholarly Work