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Coralee McLaren

Associate Director, Research and Creative Activity and Associate Professor
EducationRN, PhD
OfficeDCC-575-B, Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex
Phone416-979-5000, ext. 556300
Areas of ExpertiseChildhood disability/rehabilitation; Interdisciplinary methods; Integrated education.

I am an assistant professor at the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing and an adjunct scientist at Bloorview Research Institute, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto. I obtained my PhD in Nursing Science at the University of Toronto and completed a post-doctoral fellowship hosted jointly by BRI and CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research at McMaster University. During the fellowship, I co-wrote and secured a CIHR funded grant aimed at developing synergies between dance, neuroscience, architecture and education. Combining postmodern theory with artistic and empirical methods, this research seeks to gain critical insights into the relationship between movement and cognition in children with diverse abilities and optimize their interactions at school. This work draws on my former career with the Toronto Dance Theatre and teaching experience at the associated School, York and Toronto Metropolitan University Dance Departments.

Teaching Responsibilities:

  • NSE11A/B: Theoretical Foundations of Nursing
  • MN8903: Nature and Development of Nursing Knowledge
  • THD201: Modern Dance Technique

Teaching Interests:

  • Nursing and philosophical theory/knowledge development
  • Qualitative/cross-disciplinary research methods
  • Innovative teaching and learning strategies

Research Interests:

  • Childhood disability/rehabilitation
  • Cognitive development/neuroscience
  • Integrated education/classroom design
  • Dance/choreography

Transdisciplinary art-science research

I continue to work creatively and train pre-professional dancers at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre, Toronto Metropolitan University and Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre. I have created over 30 dance works and have presented them at Danceworks, the Canada Dance Festival and the American Dance Festival. I am committed to developing and implementing creative, relevant research projects that transcend physical and social boundaries through dance, and engaging marginalized communities in movement, dialogue and artistic collaboration. Ultimately my aim is to develop innovative partnerships between artists and scientists to develop new theoretical understandings and methodological inquiries about disabled children’s movement-and-learning.

Research Projects:

  • 2014-2019 Co-principal investigator: Moving together: Choreographic mappings of children with diverse dis/abilities and their neurological responses to a dance-play event. Gibson, B. (NPI), McLaren, C. (co-PI), Missiuna, C., Edwards, G., Chau, T. & Bennett, S Funded by CIHR: $180,000
  • 2015-2017  Co-investigator: The First Book of Eng: Participatory Opera, Vast Narrative and Massively Collective Creation. Edwards, G. (NPI), Bourbeau M., Elmahgraby, A., Kiss, J., Lacasse, S., Manning, E., McLaren, C. Morales, E., Stevance, S. Funded by SSHRC: $74,400
  • 2012-2016  Co-investigator: A randomized trial evaluating the effectiveness of the Lokomat (robotics intervention) for enhancement of walking skills, functional abilities and participation in children with cerebral palsy. Wright, V. & Fehlings, D. (co-PIs); Gibson, B., McLaren, C. Funded by CIBC Children’s Research Foundation: $500,000

Bridging Disciplines - Nurses meet dancers

Drawing on my dual roles/appointments at Toronto Metropolitan University (Assistant Professor, School of Nursing and Dance Instructor, School of Performance), I lead an interdisciplinary, annual event at Toronto Metropolitan University that encourages students to engage in a creative and non-traditional 'coming together' of minds-and-bodies. Discussions focus on how we learn, perceive and unite across disciplinary boundaries. Enhanced by the open and inclusive architectural features of Ryerson’s Student Learning Centre Amphitheatre, students and community members are exposed to an exceptional experience that promotes interdisciplinary education/research and embraces diversity and inclusion at school.

Journal Articles:

  • McLaren C., & McKeever P. (2018). From behind the scrim: Revealing disabled and non-disabled children’s choreographies in an integrated kindergarten classroom. Performance Matters: Special Issue on Dance Studies in Canada, (accepted).
  • Edwards, G., Kiss, J., Morales, E., McLaren, C., Lacasse, S., Falcon, J. & Proulx Guimond, J. (2018). Designing an Interactive and Participatory Opera, in Interactive Multimedia (ed. by D. Cvetkovic), IntechOpen, (accepted).
  • Edwards, G., McLaren, C., Arfaoui, A. & McKeever, P. (2017). Hybrid health research: Assembling an integrated arts/science methodological framework. Journal of Applied Arts & Health, 8 (2), 175-191.
  • Koller, D., & McLaren, C. (2014). Children’s emotional responses to a pediatric hospital lobby. Children & Society, 28 (6), 451-464.
  • McLaren, C., Ruddick, S., Edwards, G., Zabjek, K. & McKeever, P. (2012). Children’s movement in an integrated kindergarten classroom: Design, methods and preliminary findings. Children, Youth and Environments, 22 (1), 145-177.
  • McLaren, C., Edwards, G., Ruddick, S., Zabjek, K. & McKeever, P. (2011). Kindergarten kids in motion: Rethinking inclusive classrooms for optimal learning. Educational & Child Psychology, 28 (1), 100-113.
  • Adams, A., Theodore, D., Goldenberg, E., McLaren, C. & McKeever, P. (2010). Kids in the atrium: Comparing architectural intentions and children's experiences in a pediatric hospital lobby. Social Science & Medicine, (70), 658-667.
  • McLaren, C. (2009) Analyzing qualitative data about hospitalized children: Reflections on bodily expressions. The Qualitative Report, 14 (1), 140-154. (Article of the Week, March 2009)
  • Post-doctoral Fellowship (declined), CIHR, 2015-2018
  • Joan Eakin Award for Methodological Excellence in a Qualitative Doctoral Dissertation. Centre for Critical Qualitative Health Research, University of Toronto, 2015
  • BRI/CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research Joint Post-doctoral Fellowship, 2014-2015
  • Pursuit Award Finalist for outstanding achievements in childhood disability research. Bloorview Research Institute, 2014
  • Doctoral Fellowship, CIHR, 2010-2012
  • Doctoral Fellowship, SSHRC, 2009