Maple League Funding Spotlight – Spring Institute in Arts and Health

by Jessica Riddell

Principal Investigator: Dr. Ann Fox (St. FX)
Dr. Catherine Morley (Acadia), Ms. Paula Rockwell (Acadia), Dr. Karen Brebner (St. FX)

In early September 2019 at a series of town halls, the Maple League launched four new funding opportunities to promote and facilitate collaborative research, innovative teaching, spring and international field study programs, and travel amongst our four campuses. We are delighted to share, in a series called the Maple League Funding Spotlight, the funded projects for 2019 – 2020.  

We had a chance to sit down with Dr. Ann Fox from St. Francis Xavier University to talk about her project and learn more about collaboration across the four universities.

JESSICA RIDDELL (EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE MAPLE LEAGUE): The guiding question that animates all our Maple League collaborations is: “what can we do together that we cannot do on our own?” How does this resonate with the project you’ve undertaken?

ANN FOX, PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (ST. FX UNIVERSITY): We are all small institutions supporting various kinds of work related to health, and many different initiatives in the arts. By coming together, we can create a critical mass of expertise that can generate innovative academic potential, that does not exist elsewhere in Canada to our knowledge.

JR: Maple League universities endeavor to individualize undergraduate education with a holistic approach to learning within the classroom and beyond. How does your work benefit from working and learning in relationship-rich environments?

AF: This spring institute is made possible by our home institutions valuing the meaningful work and creativity that that arises when engaged and enthusiastic people come together to take on new challenges. We value the fact that while we do not yet know what will come out of the spring institute, our home universities trust that something meaningful will result.

JR: What kind of impact do you hope to have – on your own work, on institutional cultures, or beyond the academy – with your project?

AF: We are hoping to establish a community of learning comprised of people with diverse yet complimentary interests in the arts and health. By learning and sharing together we aim to inspire each other, bring fresh ideas to our institutions, and support health and well-being of the communities we serve.

JR: Can you share any advice to others who might be interested in collaborating across institutions?

AF: We are just beginning our work. Stay tuned…

Interested in learning more? Here is a brief description of the project:

Faculty at the Maple League Universities are blurring disciplinary boundaries to create a culture where artistic expression is incorporated into health-based teaching, research, and community partnerships. In May 2020, we will host a two-day Arts and Health Spring Institute focusing on three ways in which arts and health can be explored: 1) creative teaching activities, 2) research activities, and 3) community partnership opportunities. With the goal of increasing each institution’s capacity to develop and support Arts and Health initiatives, the Institute will help facilitate and encourage energetic research discussions, dynamic collaborations, and discoveries in arts and health. The Institute is planned for the Spring, as the end of the academic school year is a time where faculty transition from classroom teaching to intensive research and development, and therefore a time when centering and recharging is necessary for creative and intellectual work. The Institute will provide faculty with opportunities to workshop different forms of creative activities that promote health through arts-based pedagogy and inquiry.

Contact us:

For more information about this project, contact Dr. Fox at

For more information on funding opportunities, visit:

Fund NameAvailable 
Awarding Committee
Online Learning/Ideas-Based
Course Fund
$25,000The Maple League Academic Committee
Spring Institutes & International
Field Studies Fund
$10,000 The Maple League Academic Committee
Innovative Pedagogies Fund $10,000The Maple League Teaching & Learning Centre (MLTLC)
Maple League Research Fund $30,000The Maple League Research Committee


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