Meet Our Postdoctoral Fellows: Jessica Mace

November 5, 2020 by Department of Art History

Jessica Mace

Postdoctoral Fellow of Canadian Architecture and Landscapes

What attracted me to the University of Toronto was the targeted nature of this Postdoctoral Fellowship. My position was created as part of an initiative of Professor Christy Anderson and Professor Joseph Clarke called Canada Constructed: Architecture, Landscape, History, supported by the Learning and Education and Advancement Fund. The purpose of Canada Constructed is to transform the teaching and learning of the built environment of Canada through new course offerings and student internships in architecture, heritage, and design; to foster a broader pedagogical community across academic units; to create online resources; and to build up interest in the topic more generally. My role as the inaugural Postdoctoral Fellow of Canadian Architecture and Landscapes is to help make this vision come to life.

Currently, I am developing new courses for 2021, with a fourth-year seminar offered this winter called “Studies in Canadian architecture and landscapes: Hidden Canada,” and a first-year course to be offered in the fall on the architecture of the University of Toronto. I am working closely with the Experiential Learning Office on these courses, but also to establish placements for students in the community. I have also been busy developing a website for the Canada Constructed project, along with our work-study student, Katrin Zavgorodny who is currently working on her MA in art history. You can take a look here:

As a specialist in the study of architectural history in Canada, I believe that I am uniquely situated to fulfill this role —when I saw the project and postdoctoral fellowship announcement, I knew that I had to be involved! I earned both my PhD and MA in art history, focusing on the domestic architecture of nineteenth-century Canada. More recently, prior to this fellowship, I was a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Canada Research Chair in Urban Heritage at the Université du Québec à Montréal, funded first by a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship, then a Postdoctoral Bursary from CÉLAT (Centre de recherche Cultures – Arts – Sociétés) under the supervision of Professor Lucie K. Morisset. During my time at UQAM, my research project focused on the examination of the habitat of labourers in company towns across Canada. Aside from publications and an ongoing, traveling exhibition on the subject, I was involved in the organization of a number of conferences (three as co-lead organizer) and co-edited a number of other book projects in heritage (including Heritage communities, PUQ, 2019; and The concept(s) of heritage, PUQ, forthcoming).

I have also served as the Editor in Chief of the bilingual Journal of the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada since 2015 (the only peer-reviewed journal on the subject) and have served on the Board of Directors of the Society for the Study of Architecture (since 2011) as well as on the Executive Committee of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies (since 2018). Aside from my research activities, since 2014, I have also taught courses at Brock University, OCAD University, Ryerson University, and York University, from survey courses to specialized topics in Canadian art and architectural history.

All of this is to say that through these activities, I have become well connected in the field, developed a variety of teaching strategies, and am thrilled to help Professor Anderson and Professor Clarke develop the Canada Constructed project in its initial stages. More broadly speaking, I am delighted to be at the University of Toronto, not just to share my experience and expertise, but also to learn from such an amazing faculty and to have access to world-class facilities to further develop my own career and research. Although I began my term here in August (in the middle of a pandemic!), I already feel connected to the community, and look forward to further developing my relationships in the Department of Art History and beyond.