Shannon Leddy (Métis) is a Vancouver based teacher and writer whose practice focuses on decolonizing education and Indigenous education within teacher education. She holds degrees in Art History and Anthropology from the University of Saskatchewan (1994), an MA in Art History (1997), and a BEd (2005) from the University of British Columbia. Her PhD research at Simon Fraser University focused on inviting pre-service teachers into dialogue with contemporary Indigenous art as a mechanism of decolonizing education and in order to help them become adept at delivering Indigenous education without reproducing colonial stereotypes. During her time as a public school teacher with the Vancouver School Board, Shannon worked at several high schools as a teacher of Art, Social Studies and English. After a two-year secondment to work as a Faculty Associate in SFU’s Professional Development Program in teacher education, she returned to the VSB to undertake the coordination of an arts-based mini-school. She has also worked as an Instructor in SFU’s Faculty of Education teaching courses in pedagogical foundations and Aboriginal education. In 2013 she was awarded SFU’s Aboriginal Graduate Entrance Scholarship and a SSHRC Bombardier Scholarship in 2015.
Shannon’s personal philosophy of education is rooted in Freire’s model of inquiry as the praxis required to effect transformative change. Her practice as a teacher, and interest in transforming education, is situated somewhere between the discourses of indigenizing the academy and decolonizing education, two of the current and most prominent frames of reference for discussing Indigeneity and the impacts of colonization within curriculum. Shannon is committed to working at finding new and effective avenues for including Indigenous content within school curriculum in meaningful ways, and helping non-Indigenous teachers to learn from Indigenous people. She believes strongly in the power of dialogue to affect transformative change, and works to create learning environments in which each person is both student and learner.
Shannon serves as the Co-Director of the Institute for Environmental Learning, a UNESCO Regional Centre of Excellence. As the Institute moves into its next decade, she has come on board to help build relationships with Indigenous community members and Knowledge Keepers to renew the vision of land-as-teacher, to move away from ideas of land as commodity, as recreational, and consumable. Through their work, the Institute will continue to build relationships with land through environmental learning that is relevant, relational, reciprocal and respectful (Kirkness, 1991). Through her work with this group, she aims assist in the co-construction of new understandings of our relationship to land and place, rooted in holistic and sustainable practices that honour not only human life, but all life.
Shannon also serves on the Dean’s Task Force for Race Indigeneity and Social Justice, the mandate of which is to research the current environment for racialized and marginalized students staff and faculty, and to form a final report that includes recommendations for updating policy and procedure in our faculty to address systemic racism.
Leddy, S. (2021). Unpacking the canon within: Pathways to decolonizing through phenomenological art inquiry. Keynote address for the 16th Canadian Symposium on Home Economics Education. February 27th. Virtual Conference.
Leddy, S. & Miller, L., Weaving Slow and Indigenous Pedagogies, WESTCAST Conference, UBC, February 20th, 2020
Leddy, S., Sawada, N., and Shilling, A. (2019). Co-Presenters, Indigenous Art Walking Tour, Communities to Classrooms (C2C) Conference, October 25th, 2019, UBC, Vancouver.
Leddy, S. & Miller, L., Weaving Slow and Indigenous Pedagogies, International Society for Education through Art Conference, July 9th-13th, 2019, UBC, Vancouver
Leddy, S., The Potential of Art in Decolonizing Education, Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory Conference, May 16th-18th, 2019, UBC, Vancouver
Leddy S., & Miller, L., Learning Slow – Decolonizing the Academy through the Deliberate Practice of Sister Scholarship, American Educational Research Association Conference, April 6th -9th, 2019, Toronto, ON.
Leddy, S., The Potential of Art in Transformative Education, International Transformative Learning Conference, November 7th -10th, 2018, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY.
Leddy, S. (2018). Starting from now, learning to see: Introducing pre-service teachers to the process of Indigenous education through a phenomenological art inquiry. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC.
Leddy. S. (2017, March). Reconciliation is not enough: Why self-representation in museums and classrooms matters. Symposium paper presented at the 15th Annual Indigenous Graduate Student Symposium. Simon Fraser University, Harbour Centre, Vancouver, BC.
Leddy, S. (2016, October). Aboriginal art as a transformative pedagogical strategy. Paper presented at Intersections 2016, Joint conference of the British Columbia Art Teacher’s Association and The Canadian Society for Education through the Arts. Victoria, BC.
Leddy, S. (2016, October). It all begins with museums. Paper presented at the Midwest Popular Culture Association Conference, Indigenous Studies Area. Chicago, IL.
Leddy, S. (2016, October). Starting from now. Symposium paper presented at the 14th Annual Indigenous Graduate Student Symposium, University of British Columbia, First People’s House of Learning. Vancouver, BC.
Leddy. S., & Turner, S. R. (2015, March). Anchoring classroom practice in Indigenous pedagogy. Paper presented at the Learning Together Conference, Simon Fraser University. Surrey, BC.
Leddy, S. (2015, March). Sharpening the focus. Paper presented at the Provoking Curriculum Conference, University of British Columbia. Vancouver, BC.
Leddy, S. (2014, May). Using art to open up post-colonial dialogues with pre-service teachers. Paper presented at the Native American and Indigenous Scholars Association Conference. Austin, TX.
Leddy, S. & O’Neill, S. (in press). Fear and loathing in the classroom: Grappling with resistance in Indigenous teacher education. Alberta Journal of Education. (publication date TBD).
Shilling, A., Leddy, S. & Miller, L. (in press). Sister scholarship: A metissage manifesto for decolonizing the academy. In Ellyn Lyle (ed.) Sister Scholarship. Brill Sense.
Miller, L. & Leddy, S. (in press). An Axiology for making – Weaving slow and Indigenous pedagogies. In Meadows, M. & Kim, E. (eds). Land-based: Moving beyond colonial frontier logistics in STE(A)M education. DIO Publishing.
Leddy, S., & Miller, L. (2020). Weaving Slow and Indigenous Pedagogies: Considering the Axiology of Place and Identity. In Ellyn Lyle (ed.) Identity Landscapes (pp. 268-280). Brill Sense.
Leddy. S. (2018). Grappling with complexity: the case for humour in Indigenous education. Journal of the Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies. 16(2), 10-20.
Leddy, S., & Turner, S. R. (2016). Sharpening the focus: Two voices on Aboriginal pedagogy.Journal of the Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies, 14(2), pp. 53–65.
Leddy, S. (2014). Using art to open post colonial dialogues with pre-service teachers. Simon Fraser University’s Educational Review, 1(1), pp. 1-12.
The Situation of Education
Shannon developed a podcast on education that gives an opportunity for researchers, parents, teachers and students to discuss their experiences in education. As the facilitator/moderator, she brings a two-eyed seeing perspective to the production, looking at interviewee’s responses with both Western and Indigenous eyes. This podcast launched formally in January 2019, with the long-delayed second season anticipated in July of 2021.
Decolonizing Teaching Indigenizing Learning In 2020 Shannon completed work on the Faculty of Education’s new website, Decolonizing Teaching Indigenizing Learning, which features Indigenous curriculum bundles developed by students in their third year of the NITEP program.
The graduate course Shannon developed, Indigenous Visual Expression as Pedagogy, is now in its third iteration and up for being granted permanent status. This course explores the pedagogical implications of Indigenous art making and visual expression (everything from mask making, to painting to performance art), both for Indigenous peoples themselves, and for non-Indigenous viewers and consumers.
Shannon has also taught EDUC 598, Exploring Indigenous and Historical Cultural Sites for Learning; Practitioner Inquiry and Place-Conscious Pedagogies, and serves as both an instructor and Coordinator for EDUC 440, Indigenous Education in Canada.