As a professor of art history and theory, curator, writer and editor, I seek to create new avenues of creative research and scholarship. I use curatorial strategies (online and in situ) as a spring board for interdisciplinary collaborations that seek to focus upon environmental degradation.

I hold a Ph.D. in Art History and Theory from the University of Essex (2002), and am associate professor of Art History and Theory at the University of Ottawa, Canada. I co-founded and am editor of Drain Magazine: A Journal of Contemporary Art and Culture, 2004-Present. My new book, The Artist as Curator, was published by Intellect in Sept. 2015. I also co-edited Global and Local Art Histories, 2007 with Gregory Minissale. I have curated over 15 exhibitions internationally, both in gallery spaces and non-traditional spaces. Preternatural, Dec. 2011- Feb. 2012, comprised of five exhibitions at venues across Ottawa, Canada including the Canadian Museum of Nature. Other exhibitions include: Lines of Flight, at Hunter College, NYC, 2007 (winner of Leonardo curatorial competition); Afterglow (featuring Ghada Amer, Alfredo Jaar and Bill Viola, amongst others) in Lacoste, France, 2007; Wangechi Mutu: The Cinderella Curse at the ACA Gallery, Georgia, USA, 2007; and the international group show, Hold On, co-curated with Avantika Bawa at Gallery Maskara, Mumbai, 2011.

In May, 2015, I was the recipient of a four year SSHRC Insight Grant to support the research for Ephemeral Coast.

Courses Taught



Curating for Contemporary Art is a practicum course designed by Celina Jeffery to allow students practical and theoretical experience of curating an art exhibition. This course covers all aspects of curatorial research, including the creation of an exhibition concept, interview techniques with artists, and writing curatorial statements and exhibition catalogues. Students are also introduced to aspects of project management. The 2015 installment of this course saw the curation of two ecologically concerned exhibitions: Turning Tides and Resilience.

INTRO TO INTERDISC IN ARTS: Arts for a Changing Planet

Over the last decade or so, extensive environmental degradation and the ongoing effects of global climate change have inspired a new urgency within the arts to address these concerns. This course draws on cultural theory, literature and the visual arts to identify these strategies of creative engagement and evaluate how they contribute to inserting meaning into our experience of environmental change. This course was designed by Celina Jeffery and Dr. Anne Raine, Department of English.





Resilience in/and/from

Ruin in Nature

Contemporary Art Exhibition
December 10, 2015
Paradigm(e): The Dean’s Gallery/La Gallerie du Doyen

Department of Visual Arts, University of Ottawa, 100 Laurier Ave. E.

Resilience in/and/from Ruin in Nature explored humanity’s increasing involvement in the subjugation and degradation of the environment and how this has impeded its ability to adapt and survive. This exhibition invites viewers to engage with contemporary art as a way to negotiate a new understanding of our relationship with the planet. Through the works of Annie Thibault, Justine Skahan, Jess Gonzales, and Isabelle Sarazin-Frey, it presents an artist-mediated view of nature’s capacity for resilience, while Patricia Taylor pursues a surrealist reflection on its potential for ruin. Amanda Gaudreau, Kelly Duquette, and Miles Rufelds situate their discussion of this theme within cultural, historical and specific social contexts. Annie Taylor, Kaitlyn Fortier and Pamela Leszcynski engage with the seemingly conflicting juxtaposition of artificial and natural, questioning and exploring the line between these two concepts and stimulating viewers to consider more carefully the world around them.

Curated by: Jenn Hall, Emilie Darlington, Abigail Sanderson, Lauren Howard, Pressillia Berchan, Maureen Hennessy and James Hicks

Photos and information can be found on Resilience/Ruin’s Facebook Event Page


  Resilience in/and/from Ruin in Nature,  Paradigme Gallery, University of Ottawa

Resilience in/and/from Ruin in Nature, Paradigme Gallery, University of Ottawa



Contemporary Art Exhibition
30 November - 8 December 2015
Gallery115 / Galerie 115

Department of Visual Arts, University of Ottawa, 100 Laurier Ave. E.

Turning Tides explored the phenomenon of water as a fundamental ecological and cultural resource and the ways in which contemporary artists are re-envisioning and reconceptualising this dialogue. Located within the context of the Canadian imagination, this exhibition invited viewers to reconsider the unique role that water plays in our lives culturally, politically, environmentally and historically.

Turning Tides included work by Rebecca Belmore and Theo Pelmus, Cara Tierney, Carol Howard Donati, Valérie Mercier, Sarah Fuller, François Cambe and RADCHUKA. Raising questions about water consumption and pollution, and how this resource has informed Canada’s social and cultural histories, each artist’s work challenges our complex understanding of water both internally and externally – in the home, in legislation and in our cultural constructions.

Curated by: Sherena Razek, Megan MacLaurin, Chanelle Lalonde, Emilie Gignac, Phoebe Sampey, Montserrat Carrion, and Jenn Fournier

Catalogue available on the Turning Tides tumblr page http://turningtides115.tumblr.com

  Turning Tides , Installation View, Gallery 115, University of Ottawa

Turning Tides, Installation View, Gallery 115, University of Ottawa

Research Team



Sherena Razek is a fourth year Bachelor of Arts Honours student in the History and Theory of Art program at the University of Ottawa. In spring 2015 she had an essay on natural motifs in Canadian art published in the uOttawa art history publication, Millesfeuilles and has co-curated the exhibitions on campus - Turning Tides (2015) and Leading Role (2016).  She is the President of the uOttawa Art History Student’s Association and has been a SSHRC RA for Ephemeral Coast since fall 2015. She travelled to Mauritius to participate in the installation and opening of Edge Effects, Mauritius.  



Jenn Hall is a fourth year student in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program at the University of Ottawa. Her current practice is rooted in conceptual issues of ecological and environmental awareness with a focus in abstraction of landscape, which she explores through sculpture. She is interested in the curatorial arts, has co-curated Resilience in/and/from Ruin in Nature, an on campus contemporary art show, and has been involved in Ephemeral Coast as a SSHRC R.A. since January 2016. She is working on website content. 



Megan MacLaurin is a fourth year Bachelor of Arts Honours student in the History and Theory of Art program at the University of Ottawa. She is the Vice President of Finance to the University of Ottawa’s Art History Students’ Association and Director of Paradigm(e), the Dean’s Gallery. She has co-curated other on-campus exhibitions including Turning Tides (2015) and Leading Role (2016). Megan has been a SSHRC R.A. for Ephemeral Coast since January 2016 and is responsible for secondary oceanic research.