Artist and educator Kyla Mallett has been reappointed for a second term as Dean, Audain Faculty of Art, at Emily Carr University.
Her reappointment, which followed nearly a year of internal review by faculty colleagues and leadership, began in August 2023.
“Kyla is someone who leads with a strong advocacy for her faculty,” Diyan Achjadi, Interim Provost + Vice-President, Academic, says. “That includes looking out for what the Faculty of Art needs, what ECU’s studio culture needs, what faculty members need and what students need in order to become leading practitioners. Everybody knows she will always go to bat for them. And she’s helped lead a lot of positive change. I’m delighted to be working with her to help build on her outstanding first term as Dean.”
Before being appointed for her first term as Dean in 2019, Kyla taught for 15 years at ECU including multiple Assistant Dean roles across the Faculty of Culture + Community and the Faculty of Art.
“The Faculty of Art is made up of a really strong group of artists and educators who are hugely supportive of each other,” Kyla says. “After some tough years through the pandemic, now we get to plan ahead a little as opposed to being mostly reactive. I’m looking forward to working with this amazing group of people to build out more collaborative leadership, community engagement, and grow our capacity to care and create.”
Kyla holds a BFA from ECU and an MFA from the University of British Columbia. As an artist, she has shown in exhibitions at institutions and galleries including Catriona Jeffries Gallery, the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris, the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Alberta, Presentation House Gallery, Artspeak, Chicago’s Paris London Hong Kong Gallery, Malaspina Printmakers Society and Mercer Union in Toronto.
During her first term as Dean, Kyla worked with her team to stabilize and increase enrollment across majors such as Visual Art and to review and revise program requirements across all years. This review prompted the introduction of some required core curriculum across majors including second-year critical studies and studio cores and PRAX 300. She has overseen the introduction of a range of new curriculum, including the Art Forums 300-level course; topics-based courses such as Gwenessa Lam’s Diasporic Relations and Christine Howard Sandoval’s Reciprocity and Land Art; courses focused on Professional Practices from a studio perspective; and a forthcoming Minor in Ecological Practices.
She worked with faculty members and leadership to expand curricular offerings to include a fuller range of art practices, which included moving the New Media + Sound Arts program from the Faculty of Design + Dynamic Media over to the Faculty of Visual Arts.
Kyla helped develop partnerships and grant opportunities for professional practice initiatives. Such projects included contributing to the Shumka Centre for Creative Entrepreneurship’s programming; supporting a partnership with Capture Photography Festival; and the launch of a course which integrates students into the Patio Press collaborative printmaking residency.
Kyla’s first term also focused on supporting faculty-led Equity, Diversity and Inclusion initiatives through curricula and community engagement activities, as well as through educational, administrative and hiring practices. She worked on numerous Indigenization and Decolonization initiatives, with specific attention to the relationship between the Faculty and AGP. She worked collaboratively to create positions including a Coordinator of Indigenous Pedagogy and a Coordinator, Decolonial Strategies. She created a Diverse Speakers Fund to support faculty in introducing students to guest artists from marginalized or historically underrepresented backgrounds.
Kyla’s leadership has expanded beyond Emily Carr to include involvement in other organizations. As Chair of the Canadian Association of Fine Art Deans (CAFAD), Kyla has worked to host monthly meetings and an annual conference aimed at fostering a community of practice to support the development of new leadership and advocate for increased diversity in academic administration.
Kyla has engaged in a range of leadership training including individual coaching, workshops and full courses. She participated in the Women in Academic Leadership course through the University of Manitoba; in the Co-Resolve Introduction to Deep Democracy training course; and with coaches on themes including strategic thinking, relationship building, communication and conflict resolution.
Her first term also saw the expansion of the Faculty of Art leadership team to include an Associate Dean, and a suite of Assistant Deans and coordinators for each degree program. It also saw the recruitment of numerous new faculty members, including 14 new regular faculty positions.
Along with Tiffanie Ting, Executive Director of Continuing Studies, Kyla co-chaired the University Strategic Planning process, culminating in the forthcoming Strategic Plan which will be finalized and launched in 2024.
Kyla’s second term as Dean will run through 2028.