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Jason Nolan playing the saxophone while looking at a control board.

Jason Nolan

John C. Eaton Chair in Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship; Director - Responsive Ecologies Lab; Associate Professor
OfficeBTS 103-N, Bell Trinity Square
Areas of ExpertiseSound and learning; Learning with materials

Jason Nolan is autistic, the John C. Eaton Chair in Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship and associate professor in Early Childhood Studies at Toronto Metropolitan University. Nolan directs the Responsive Ecologies Lab (RE/Lab) and the Experiential Design and Generative Environments (EDGE) lab and is the Associate Director ECS responsible for our Lab Schools.

Nolan's background in designing adaptations for disabled children stems from a perspective of design initiated by children and their families with the goal of supporting their sensory exploration of the world around them and the communication of their goals, interests and needs to their carers. Nolan's research approach focuses on reconceptualizing music education and exploration of acoustic sensory information in early learning environments from a social justice lens of equity, diversity and inclusion. Nolan's present work is on the missing modality of auditory sensory play and exploration with DIY electronic and found objects and innovations in pedagogical approaches for marginalized communities through three SSHRC funded projects: Canadian Accessible Musical Instrument Network, Facilitating Anti-Ableist Remote Music Making and Sounding off: Learning, communicating and making sense with sound.

Google Scholar (external link, opens in new window) 

Books (Selected):

  • Weiss, J., Nolan, J., Hunsinger, J., & Trifonas, P. (2006). The international handbook of virtual learning environments. Springer Academic Publishers.

Chapters (Selected):

  • Thumlert, K., Nolan, J., Chan, H., McBride, M. (Submitted). Strange Play: Parametric Design and Modular Learning. In Patch Up!: Exploring synthetic sound and modular thought, A. Kitzman, C. Thorén, E. Engström and E. Teboul (Eds.). Routledge.
  • Nolan, J., & McBride, M. (Submitted). First Rack: A multi-modal discourse analysis of Eurorack module design affordances. In Patch Up!: Exploring synthetic sound and modular thought, A. Kitzman, C. Thorén, E. Engström and E. Teboul (Eds.). Routledge.
  • Thumlert, K., & Nolan, J. (2020). Angry noise: Recomposing music pedagogies in indisciplinary modes. In P. Trifonas (Ed.), Handbook of Theory and Research in Cultural Studies and Education. Springer.
  • Cole, J., & Nolan J. (2019). GimpGirl: Insider perspectives on technology and the lives of disabled women. In B. Haller, G. Goggin & K. Ellis (Eds.), Routledge Companion to Disability and Media (pp. 233-242). Routledge.
  • Mann, S., Nolan, J., & Wellman, B. (2018). Sousveillance: Inventing and using wearable computing devices for data collection in surveillance environments. In T. Monahan & D. Murakami Wood (Eds.), Surveillance Studies: A Reader (pp. 347-350). Oxford University Press.
  • McBride, M., & Nolan, J. (2018). Situating olfactory literacies: An intersensory pedagogy by design. In V. Henshaw, K. MacLean, D. Medway, C. Perkins & G. Warnaby (Eds.), Designing with smell: practices, techniques and challenges (pp. 187-196). Routledge.
  • Nolan, J., & McBride, M. (2015). Embodied semiosis: Autistic 'stimming' as sensory praxis. In P. Trifonas, (Ed.), The International Handbook of Semiotics (pp. 1069-1078). Springer.

Articles (Selected):

  • Thumlert, K., Tomin, B., Nolan, J., McBride, M., Lotherington, H., Boreland, T. (Accepted). Critical algorithmic literacies and the modulation of attention and learning in the age of AI. Digital Culture Education.
  • Thumlert, K., Nolan, J., Chan, H. (2021). Together apart: Sound communities in the virtual age of COVID-19. Journal of Music, Health, and Wellbeing, Autumn, 1-15.
  • Nolan, J. (2020). (Self)Interview with an Autistic: Intrinsic interest and learning with and about music and the missing modality of sound. Canadian Music Educators.
  • Thumlert, K., Nolan, J., & Harley, D. (2020). Sound beginnings: Learning, communicating, and making sense with sound. Music Educators Journal, 107(2), 66-69. (external link, opens in new window)  
  • Bellucci, A., Nolan, J., & Di Santo, A. (2018). Research in the wild(s): Opportunities, affordances and constraints doing assistive technology field research in underserved areas. Disability Studies Quarterly38(4). (external link, opens in new window)  
  • Nolan, J., & McBride, M. (2014). Beyond gamification: reconceptualizing game-based learning in early childhood environments. Information, Communication & Society17(5), 594-608. (external link, opens in new window) 

Selected Media

Composer, Performer

Invited Presentations

  • Aging Autistically: What happens when you still haven’t grown up? Autism Canada Au-Some Conference, Autism Canada, Toronto, October, 22, 2022
  • Individualizable Designs: Helping Children Build Tools to Explore their Worlds. Symposium on Family Learning, Inclusion and the Value of Play in Museums. Canadian Children’s Museum at the Canadian Museum of History, Ottawa, December 4, 2019
  • User-Initiated Design: tuning spaces as social technology. Rockefeller Centre, Bellagio, Italy, November 9, 2014.