Dr. Ronald Hansen

Ron (Professor Emeritus and lead investigator) is the architect of the Human Ingenuity Research Group (HIRG) and its outreach initiatives. His research looks at forms of learning that emerge from theoretical as well as a-theoretical and existential foundations. A recent international conference on technological learning and thinking integrated four important and timely themes: Culture, design, sustainability, and human ingenuity. A turning point, the conference establishes a base of research that humbly and ingeniously sets parameters for a discernible and coherent field of work.

Dr. Catharine Dishke Hondzel

Catharine (MA, PhD) is a researcher and educator in the fields of education and psychology at Western University and the Coordinator of Research and Learning Support at Huron University College in London, Ontario. Her research examines the nature of creativity, experiential learning, and apprenticeship. She is the coordinator of the Human Ingenuity Research Group, which involves overseeing the Apprenticeship Research Project and the local and international work with children and parents, and is an implementation coordinator for the Technological Education Consortium of Ontario.

Dr. Joel Lopata

Joel (PhD) uses quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate fundamental psychological processes. He aims to do so in a manner that is truly interdisciplinary; bridging the fields of education, neuroscience, and arts research. He is dedicated to the exploration of the topics of innovation and creativity, always with an eye on the pragmatic implications of findings for education and educational policy. His current research, situated at the Brain and Mind Institute at Western University is an investigation of the neural correlates of musical improvisation. He is specifically using Electroencephalogram (EEG) to test his conceptualization of creativity as a unique state of consciousness. In addition to conducting research, he teaches and lectures at The Faculty of Education at Western University. He recently organized a symposium on the cognitive neuroscience of teaching and learning, and conducts research for the Faculty of Educations’ administrative Bachelor of Education office.

Steven Gedies

Steven (C.O.Q., M.Ed.) is a Professor & Co-Investigator of Applied Research in the School of Building Technology at Fanshawe College. He is a Journeyman Carpenter who has always enjoyed working with his hands and feels that teaching is his calling and helping people find their way his vocation. He enjoys teaching Construction Carpentry Techniques and Construction Engineering Technician students by engaging hands on experiential learning and reflective practice to help them make meaning of their education. Three active sons plus a wonderful wife complete Steve and yes, they can all swing a hammer.

Kathy Hansen

Kathy (B.Sc., M.Ed., PhD Candidate)completed her Masters of Education in Educational Psychology/ Special Education at Western University in 2013 and is a research assistant with the Human Ingenuity Research Project. Her curiosities lie in the value of structured versus unstructured play activities and social and environmental influences as potential determinants of children’s creativity. “Creativity is contagious, pass it on” – Albert Einstein

Debra Mountenay

Debra has been the Executive Director of the Elgin Middlesex Oxford (EMO) Workforce Planning and Development Board for the past thirteen years following several years in advertising in the private sector. A results-driven professional with a focus on workforce development, her areas of expertise include community development and stakeholder engagement. Debra currently serves on several boards and committees in the region. She holds a degree from Western University and a certificate in Adult Education from St. Francis Xavier University. The (EMO) Workforce Planning and Development Board, one of 25 organizations that form Workforce Planning Ontario, addresses local workforce planning.

Dr. Kathleen Schmalz

Kathleen (Doctor of Visual and Performing Arts and Assistant Professor, Art Education, Western University) is an exhibiting visual artist, independent curator and arts educator with interests in children's drawing, creativity and art for special populations of students. Schmalz works with teacher trainees and graduate students and has been an associate researcher on the Human Ingenuity Research Project. Kathleen also appears as an expert in children’s drawing in relation to the work of Genevieve Chandler on the website for the Autism Society of B.C.

Frances Shamley

Frances (MA., BSc, BEd) is an educator and a community developer with a strong commitment to helping people design and develop communities that are person-centred, innovative, creative and inclusive. help people create within themselves the skills they need to participate fully in community life and to build productive relationships to work in collaborative ways. She has long advocated for the support of our educational systems to enhance these approaches to lifelong learning for and with people and specifically designed to encourage the development of the role for each person. She has worked for many years to identify the need for support services and educational opportunities in rural communities as well as in urban communities and to be aware of the differering needs and special opportunities in both. Her current research interests include exploring the creativity and innovation exhibited in all parts of the natural world in people and in dolphins and whales.

Brian Smith

Brian (MEd Candidate) is working on a thesis entitled, "The learning of human ingenuity in a formal environmental education program." He is also an elementary school teacher with the London District Catholic School Board.

Dr. Marte Sørebø Gulliksen

Marte (Associate Professor, PhD)is head of the Master’s program in Art Education at Telemark University College in Notodden, Norway. Her research interests are in teacher education in design, art and craft, and culture, education and creativity. She is the Norwegian research leader in the bi-lateral research project. She coordinated and assisted with data collection involving Norwegian children, and has since travelled to Canada to participate in team meetings and work as a visiting scholar. She recently headed the scientific and organizing committees of the MAKING conference, at which several of the HIRG members attended and presented research findings.

Carl-Magnus Nystad

Carl-Magnus (MA) is a senior consultant of research and development and early childhood education in the Faculty of Art, Folk Culture, and Teacher Education, and Department of Pedagogy. As part of the international study of children’s creativity, Carl-Magnus helped to coordinate and collect data from students in the Telemark region.

Jostein Sandven

Jostein (MA, PhD Student) is head of the Department of Art Education at Telemark University College in Notodden, Norway. He has been instrumental in coordinating international visits to Norway, and providing access to expertise, participants, and school resources. His research interest is on environmental art education.

Dr. Eila Lindfors

Eila (PhD) works as a professor in craft, design and technology education in the University of Turku in Finland, at the Department of teacher education, Rauma Unit. Eila is also a docent in arts and crafts education in the Eastern University of Finland. Her research interests include innovation, the process of ‘making’ in the pedagogical context, as well as user-centered design and user experience. Innovation in the pedagogical context is one guiding theme in educating master level teachers in craft design and technology subject in Finland.

Matt LeMay

Matt is a multiple award winning filmmaker, communications specialist and veteran of the Canadian non-profit sector. Since 2007, Matt and his team have successfully created over 100 pieces of high production video content for a variety of clients across Canada. Matt received the 2011 & 2013 Award of Excellence in Filmmaking from the Canada International Film Festival for his films Great River and Native Young (The Legacy of Residential Schools). Both films explore a variety of social issues impacting First Nations communities across Canada. LeMay Media also received the 2013 Social Media Marketing Award from the Economic Developers Council of Ontario. Matt is a dynamic public speaker and effective leader who has assisted numerous organizations, municipalities and businesses with developing effective communication strategies. Matt has been an active member of Workforce Planning Ontario and is passionate about filmmaking, leadership development and exploring his Métis heritage. Matt is currently working on a film about First Nations control over education in Canada and lives in the Ottawa Valley with his wife Jennifer and his daughters Ella and Noa. For more information please visit or follow him at @matthewlemay