Steering Committee and Board of Advisors

Steering Committee

As a recognized Centre of the Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University, CIRCE has a Steering Committee drawn largely from Education faculty and staff and present and former graduate students. The Steering Committee is led by CIRCE’s Scientific Director, or by an Executive Director when funds allow the latter position to be filled. The task of the Steering Committee is to determine CIRCE’s overall direction and to oversee the management of its operations.

Current members of the Steering Committee include:

Dr. Mark Fettes

Mark Fettes is an Associate Professor in the SFU Faculty of Education. Beginning with work on the revitalization of indigenous languages, his academic work has focused on understanding the role of imagination in learning, teaching, and schooling. As SFU he has worked with teachers at all levels of the formal education system, with a focus on helping them find more imaginative and engaging ways of teaching the mainstream curriculum. He has also been involved in several community-based research projects focused on school district-First Nation partnerships and decolonizing place-based education. The theoretical side of his work explores the relationships between experience, language, imagination and community.

Dr. Laurie Anderson

Laurie Anderson is the Executive Director of SFU Vancouver and an Adjunct Professor in SFU’s Faculty of Education. Laurie has been actively involved with SFU’s Centre for Dialogue since 2012, both as a facilitator and as the Centre’s acting Executive Director. Previously, Laurie spent 30 years in the K-12 system in Coquitlam and Vancouver, serving in every educational role for teacher to superintendent. Laurie’s work in leadership development has taken him from Penticton to Phnom Penh, from Kowloon to Kelowna, and from Surrey to Santiago. Laurie has supported the implementation of the principles of imaginative education in many schools, has taught in the Imaginative Leadership MEd program, written about the power of imagination in leadership, and co-developed and teaches in the SFU’s MEd in Contemplative Inquiry and Approaches to Education. Laurie is a denizen of SFU, having completed his BEd, PDP, MA and PhD there.

Dr. Sean Blenkinsop

Sean Blenkinsop is a professor of education at SFU. Trained as a philosopher of education at Harvard, he has published widely in the fields of outdoor, environmental, and ecological education. Recent work has focused on creating, supporting and researching two unique K-7 outdoor/environmental public schools which focus on changing the culture of education to one that seeks to build relationships with the natural world, understands local places and its inhabitants to be co-teachers, and recognizes the outdoors as a significant place of learning. None of which can be done without the imagination and a good sense of humour. His latest book Wild Pedagogies was just published by Palgrave-Macmillan.

Board of Advisors

As part of its efforts to stay in touch with imaginative thinking and practice around the world, CIRCE has an Advisory Board, consisting of individuals with a demonstrated commitment to the development of imaginative potential in children and adults or in shared ways of understanding and practicing imagination within institutions, societies and cultures, including a range of academic disciplines.

Members of the Advisory Board are appointed to a two-year term, renewable by invitation. If you know of someone who you think would be a good candidate for the Advisory Board, please let us know via this form.

Current members of the Board of Advisors include:

Pablo Boullosa

Half-time writer, half-time broadcaster and half-time unofficial teacher;  author of El corazón es un resorte (México, 2016)

Dr. Gerd Bräuer

Dr. Gerd Bräuer is Senior Lecturer at Freiburg University of Education and the founding director of the first writing centre in European teacher education, where he promotes not only academic writing but also creative writing and nature writing. In 2012/13 he was a visiting professor at SFU (Faculty of Education) when he learned about Imaginative Education and Learning in Depth, which he since then promotes in his teaching at  UE Freiburg and elsewhere. For more information on Gerd’s work, please check his blog:

Dr. Federico Corni

Dr. Federico Corni is professor of Didactics of Physics at the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano (UNIBZ) in Italy. He teaches physics to prospective kindergarten and primary school teachers and trains groups of in-service teachers in various schools. His research focus is about imaginative and narrative approaches to physics and science teaching. He is author of several journal papers and book chapters, and Editor-in-Chief of the journal Education Sciences (MDPI). Federico Corni leads the UNIBZ Faculty Laboratory for research in education MultiLab, the Learning in Depth project in Italy,  the thematic group “Physics Preparation of Teachers in Grades k-6” of GIREP and the scientific committee of the research centre MANIS: Metaphor and Narrative in Science.

Di Fleming

As the Principal of Kilvington Girls Grammar, Di Fleming was the first educator to become Telstra Victorian Businesswoman of the Year. Di is the founder and CEO of Digital Harbour a major greenfield technology development at the Melbourne Docklands and an associate professor in education and digital design at the Universities of Melbourne and RMIT respectively. Di works across 24 African countries delivering the African Children’s Stories (ACS) program, which was a finalist for the 2018 WISE Awards.  The 53 ACS Collections are based on stories from the imagination, real life and preservation of oral tradition. (Executive Director: Ducere Foundation/Honorary Consul for the Republic of Mauritius in Victoria (Melbourne).

Dr. Glenn Ellis

Dr. Glenn Ellis is a Professor of Engineering at Smith College. He received a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Lehigh University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering and Operations Research from Princeton University.  The winner of numerous teaching and research awards, Dr. Ellis received the 2007 U.S. Professor of the Year Award for Baccalaureate Colleges from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.  His current research focuses on investigating the potential of transmedia storytelling for supporting the development of STEM identity and the capacity for engaging in collaborative knowledge work.

Dr. Natalia Gajdamaschko

Dr. Natalia Gajdamaschko is a Teaching Professor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies at the Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University (Canada). A Vygotskian psychologist, trained in Moscow, Russia, she has served as a visiting research fellow at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government and the Torrance Center of Creativity at the University of Georgia (Athens, GA, USA).  She also was a visiting scholar at the University of Connecticut (USA) as a recipient of an advanced scholars award from the International Research and Exchange Board (IREX).  She has presented papers at numerous international conferences if the fields of educational theory, educational psychology, and gifted education.

Dr. Yannis Hadzigeorgio

Dr. Yannis Hadzigeorgiou is a professor of curriculum theory and science education in the School of Humanities at the University of the Aegean, in Rhodes, Greece. He holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Aristotle’s University (Thessaloniki, Greece), a master’s degree in biomechanics (Leeds University, Great Britain), another master’s degree in education/science education (Leeds University, Great Britain) and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction/major in science education (University of N. Iowa, USA).  His work over the past ten years has focused on the role of imaginative engagement in school science education. His most recent book Imaginative Science Education: The Central Role of Imagination in Science Education (2016, Springer) is an attempt to reclaim the value of such notions as wonder, creative imagination, aesthetics, and romantic understanding in the context of school science.

Dr. Rob Hopkins

Activist and writer on environmental issues, founder and figurehead of the Transition movement Photo credit: Miriam Klingl

Kim Hudson

Director of the 2WK Project, Associate and past Fellow with the SFU Centre for Dialogue

Marilú Matte

Specialist in Primary Education, Director of the School of Education, Finis Terrae University, Chile, MEd

Dr. Qinyu Pan

Dr. Qingyu Pan received his BA, MA, and PhD in Pedagogy at Shandong Normal University, Jinan, Shandong Province, PR China. He is now a Professor in College of Liberal Arts at Shandong Normal University. His interests include Philosophy, Psychology, and Educational Theory. He is interested also in Imaginative Education and Chinese Language Education, and has published three books on imaginative educational research. He applied Kieran Egan’s cognitive tool theory to the practice of Chinese education and achieved remarkable results, which produced important educational influences in China. He currently holds research grants from the China National Social Science Fund.

Magdalena Merbilhaa Romo

Magdalena Merbilháa Romo is a historian and a journalist. She did an MA in Education at Kingston University, London. She studies imagination and phantasie in the fields of Education, History and Literature. Magdalena founded the Imaginative Education Chile organization and leads the Red Cultural Foundation. She is dedicated to enhancing humanities teaching and for including emotions and imagination in the curriculum and in general life.  Magdalena is an active support of Kieran Egan’s works; she started a crusade in the Spanish-speaking world to defend imagination as the key component of all learning. She has been invited to Mexico to Tecnologico of Monterrey on several occasions as a keynote speaker for the Congreso Internacional de Innovacion Educativa, a major event on innovation in Education.

Dr. Norman Jackson

Emeritus Professor, University of Surrey UK, Founder Lifewide Education and Creative Academic

Dr. Keiichi Takaya

Dr. Keiichi Takaya obtained his Ph.D. from Simon Fraser University in 2004. His research interests are in philosophy and history of education, such as the history of educational practices that highlight the role of imagination, particularly in the progressive era, and the Pestalozzian movement and the development of normal schools in North America. He teaches English and Education at Kokugakuin University in Tokyo, Japan.

Dr. Dave Trotman

Professor of Education Policy and Co-Leader of the Education and Multi-Professional Practice Subject Area at Newman University, Birmingham, UK, Visiting Professor at the Centre for Excellence in Media Practice at Bournemouth University

Dr. Gad Alexander

Dr. Gad Alexander earned a BA and MA, from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a PhD from UCLA as a Fulbright exchange student. From 1976 to 2013 he was a senior faculty member in the department of education, Ben Gurion University (BGU),  Israel. At BGU he was head of teacher education programs and graduate programs in curriculum instruction and learning. He is particularly interested in the use of technology in schools and the cultivation of creative thinking. From 1984-1988 Gadi was head of product development in Edunetics, a high-tech company producing educational courseware for middle schools and from 1992-1999 he produced nine TV programs on creative thinking. A recent publication: Shall we draw them a sheep? (Tel Aviv: Resling, 2016).

Karen Steffensen

Karen Steffensen holds an MEd from York University, thesis focus Optimizing Innovation in Praxis. Passionate about imaginative leadership grounded by “artfulmindedness” (Steffensen, 2012) as well as innovation & creativity in and through the Arts, Karen draws upon her expertise in K-12 curricula, pedagogy, system leadership, change and improvement to collaboratively support school district leaders in their journeys of quality continuous improvement. Career highlights include previously serving as Manager of the Regional Support Unit, Ontario Ministry of Education, Course Director for York University’s Consecutive Education Program (Ontario), West Area Superintendent of Schools with Surrey School District (British Columbia), Curriculum Consultant with York Region District School Board (Ontario), and, Principal of Sechelt Elementary, Sunshine Coast SD #46 (British Columbia).