Teachers

We are a dedicated bunch of teaching professionals.

nickBioNicholas Amberg
Nick is one of those rare individuals who is able to combine his crazily varied skill set into a fluid, seamless teaching style. Holding degrees in Photography, English Literature and Multimedia Studies, he is open to a very, very wide range of student projects. Whether they are making pinhole cameras out of old fridges or books out of rotting salami slices (don’t ask, you don’t want to know), his students understand that the idea and the process is just as important as the result. Oh and he really, really likes food – not that this has anything to do with teaching. And he is actually quite tall.

JessAuer
Jessica Auer
What does Jessica NOT do? After completing her Masters in Studio Arts at Concordia, she somehow finds time to start a contemporary art gallery (www.lesterritoires.org), teach part-time at Concordia, travel the world to continue her photographic explorations of recreational spaces (www.jessicaauer.com) and then passionately translate all her energy to instructing our awestruck Champlain students. Plus, (yeah there’s more) she seems to find even more time to have her photographs exhibited – in Montreal, Toronto and the US and then have them published in numerous art and culture magazines.

danbabineauDan Babineau
A man with a plethora of talents, Dan is the current chair of the Creative Arts Department. An extensive media background has seen him work in radio, film, and corporate communications. He has been a speechwriter, has produced hundreds of audiovisual presentations for both government and private industry, and directed television commercials and music videos. Somewhere along the way he picked up a degree in communications and an MA in Film studies from Concordia. All this while playing some old school rock and roll and watching way too many films.  Lucky for us that he found a place to indulge his dual passion for cinema and teaching.

ZacyBennerZacy Benner
If you are reading this it is perhaps because you are wondering about Zacy’s teaching philosophy.  She is a person who is active in music and the arts, but her interests extend well beyond her own areas of expertise.  No matter what she teaches whether it is cultural history, music or an introduction to studio arts, Zacy values the participation of everyone in the class and she tries to share with students her enthusiasm for learning.  In making and talking about art we learn so much about ourselves and the worlds we inhabit.

elisebernatchezElise Bernatchez
If we imagine a drop of water falling from the sky to a rivulet that becomes a stream that creates a pond that flows to a river that leads to the ocean, then we are also tracing the fluid, gurgling journey of a life dedicated to learning and exploring and growing and nurturing and inspiring. As part of that journey, Elise received a classical education with a B.A. and B.Ed from University of Montreal, studied Art in Toronto (AOCA) and earned an MFA and a PHD in Humanities from Concordia. Woven into her academic pursuits are stints teaching in high-school and a women’s prison, raising four children, making paintings and installation art, and most recently being intrigued and inspired by the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Elise is our own saltwater fish who adores teaching because as she says, “learning frees the mind and the mind is the ocean you swim in”. Pure passion.

davidfinch1David Finch
Our master filmmaker has been in the industry as a director and producer for more than 15 years. When not inspiring and cajoling his students to make their own brilliant films, David is one of the creative heads at Picture This Productions (www.picturethis.ca) a busy Montreal production house specializing in documentary and fiction films for television, which have been broadcast and screened around the world. David’s film Longshots, an innovative documentary about Montreal street youth, was nominated for an international Emmy. And if this is not enough, David is a trained paramedic, rock climber,  a trapeze artist (no kidding) and plays bass in the popular Montreal indie band, Manito, formerly Puff and the Pillpoppers (http://manitomusic.com).  And we thought there were only 24 hours in a day.

Clara Gutsche
Clara is an internationally respected photographer whose work has been exhibited extensively in North America and Europe. She has been the recipient of numerous Canada Council and CALQ grants as well as the Rome and Basel studio scholarships. Her book, The Convent Series, was published in 2001. It details the intimate lives and occupied spaces of the cloistered religious communities of Québec.  She also teaches photography at Concordia University. Visit her website at www.claragutsche.com

RonHRon Hiscock
Our department technician Ron is the newest member of our talented team. He is our Mr. Gadget and Mr. Fix-it all rolled into one. Because of his background in classical and 3D animation, woodworking, landscaping and just about everything else (need help fixing your car?), he is at ease helping out students and teachers alike in the sculpture studio, with woodworking equipment, in the kiln room, the computer lab, the darkroom, the T.V. studio et al. He has even found time to help with the construction and maintenance of Champlain’s new organic garden. He is an invaluable asset to our program. Use him wisely and always be polite! Right, Ron? And check out what he’s up to here.

KateHutchinsonForWebKate Hutchinson
To describe Kate as enthusiastic, dynamic, compassionate and irrepressible would only do partial justice to her passion and commitment as a teacher. When she’s not introducing her students to her favourite photographers or cajoling them to hand in assignments on time, you can find Kate up in the country on the lake, reading a good book or dreaming of Ireland. She comes to us by way of Concordia University were she recently completed an MFA in Photography.  Kate also holds a BSC in Biology, minors in History and Fine Arts from Mount Allison and a DEC in Photography from Dawson College.  You can visit her website here or follow her photo blog here. Please do, we know you will be impressed.

shellylowShelly Low
Another of our well established artist/teachers, Shelly’s personal work involves the use of mixed media, including photography, video and installation. Her work often addresses the invented, ephemeral and complex nature of ethnicity with humour and irony. We know that sense of humour extends to the classroom, where Shelly’s drôle and caring touch always seems to get the best out of her students. Since completing her MFA in Studio Arts at Concordia, Shelly has been exhibiting her work across Canada and the States and is part of a number of private and public collections.

ashleymillerAshley Miller
Does compassionate, intense, open-minded, and dedicated, with a pinch of craziness thrown in for good measure sound like the qualities you want in a creative arts teacher? We know so. (This is creative arts after all, not accounting.)  And these are but a few of the character traits that Ashley uses to coerce her students into creating articulate and intelligent projects that run the gamut from sculpture to clay to drawing to painting to collage to Photoshop to… well you get the picture. And what she teaches the students, reflects her own interests as a practicing artist. She works with sculpture, drawing, installation and textiles. Ask her to show you some of her handmade books – simply stunning. Click here to see what she’s been up to.

FrancescaPenseriniFrancesca Penserini
Holding two Masters degrees and having studied in Montreal, Florence and Chicago, Francesca brings her intellect, worldliness and full-on gusto to the Creative Arts classroom. She teaches courses that run the gamut from traditional art making to digital creation and is one of the driving forces behind the development of the digital lab facility. And, of course, making art still holds a hugely important place in Francesca’s life. Her work, which is drawing and sculpture-based, has been exhibited widely. And she has been the recipient of grants from the Canada Council and Conseil des Arts et des letters du Quebec. Her passion for art is easily translated into her zeal for teaching. Check out her website.

nancytatebeNancy Tatebe
Nancy’s smiling, affable demeanor is the perfect remedy for the deadline-panicked, technically-challenged film/video student.  Her experience in all things film – garnered from a multitude of experiences at the NFB, the CBC, and as an independent filmmaker – gives her a unique perspective from which to aid her students to make interesting and thought-provoking films of their own.  She also draws on her many skills in her theory classes, where students might find themselves interviewing a real-life producer, improvising abstract films with marker pens or redesigning the weekly programming for a Canadian television network!

barclaywattBarclay Watt
Although he would be loath to admit it, Barclay has become a Champlain institution. He is the benevolent ruler of the TV studio, and the de facto sage of the film/video profile. He is always available to answer student questions and always ready with a witty quip. Barclay guides students effortlessly through all the technical aspects of TV production and filmmaking and looks on like a proud papa when they produce something of substance and depth.  The modest Barclay also doesn’t like to talk about his other interests and talents, so keep this under your hat—he has an impressive knowledge of film and music, and was QUITE a hockey player in his youth.