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Samantha Wehbi

Professor, School of Social Work
EducationMSW, PhD, MFA
OfficeEPH-213, Eric Palin Hall
Phone416-979-5000, ext. 556221
Areas of ExpertiseCritical perspectives on international/transnational social work; Arts-informed approaches to research, teaching and practice; Experiential learning; Community organizing; Grassroots activism

Samantha Wehbi holds a PhD in Social Work and an MFA in Documentary Media. She brings to her academic work a background in social justice activism and grassroots disability rights and justice organizing. Her areas of research and practice interest have focused on international issues and grassroots community organizing in Canada and abroad including Lebanon, her country of origin. These interests have also been at the heart of her artistic practice, as can be seen in her recent documentary work focusing on themes of translocality, cultural hybridity and the experience of displacement. Her research and publications have also explored experiential and arts-informed approaches to teaching and learning.

Samantha Wehbi has held the position of teaching chair at the Faculty of Community Services. She has experience working on curriculum issues and has held the position of associate director of undergraduate program at the School of Social Work. She was also the academic lead on a university-wide curriculum re-design project spearheaded by the dean of the Faculty of Community Services. Most recently, she held the position of associate dean, student affairs at the Yeates School of Graduate Studies where she focused on student engagement. Samantha is recipient of the Sue Williams Excellence in Teaching Award (2007) and the Provost’s Innovative Teaching Award (2016). She has taught courses at all levels of social work education.

Recent Research Projects:

  • Art of social justice in Social Work classroom: Learning & teaching outcomes for students & educators

    • Year: 2016-2017
    • Role: Principal Investigator
    • Funded by: Ryerson Teaching about Diversity Grant
  • Bridging the theory-practice divide: Experiential learning for a critical, people-centred economy

    • Year: 2015
    • Role: Co-Principal Investigator
    • Funded by: SSHRC Knowledge Synthesis Grant
  • Development of an interdisciplinary collaboration between the School of Social Work and School of Image Arts

    • Year: 2012-2013
    • Role: Principal Investigator
    • Funded by: FCS Grant
  • Disability rights activism in the context of war: Case study of Lebanon

    • Year: 2009-2012
    • Role: Principal Investigator
    • Funded by: SSHRC Standard Grant


  • Wehbi, S. & Parada, H. (Eds.)  (2017). Re-imagining anti-oppression social work: Reflecting on practice. Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press.
  • Parada, H. & Wehbi, S. (Eds.) (2017). Re-imagining anti-oppression social work: Reflecting on research. Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press.
  • Wehbi, S. (Ed.).  (2004). Community organizing against homophobia and heterosexism: The world through rainbow-coloured glasses.  New York: Haworth Press. (Published simultaneously as a book and as a special issue of the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services).  Re-released by Routledge for Kindle in September 2013.

Selected peer-reviewed articles (2010-present):

  • Y. El-Lahib, S. Wehbi, G. Zakharova, J. Perreault-Laird & M. Khan (2020) Tearing down the ‘box’: students’ perspectives on activating arts-informed methods in social work classrooms (external link, opens in new window) , Social Work Education.
  • Wehbi, S. (2020). Arts-inspired practice: Fuelling the imagination. Canadian Social Work Review, 37(2), 117-129.
  • Wehbi, S., El-Lahib, Y., Perreault-Laird, J., & Zakharova, G. (2018).  Oasis in a concrete jungle: Arts-informed methods in social work classrooms.  Social Work Education, 37(5), 617-632. 
  • Waddell, J., Robinson, P., & Wehbi, S. (2018). Bridging the theory/practice divide: Experiential learning for a critical, people-centred economy.  Transformative Dialogues., 11(1), available online.
  • McCormick, K., & Wehbi, S. (2017). Engaging communities: Notes on an interdisciplinary research/creation seminar. Transformative Dialogues: Teaching and Learning Journal, 10(3). 
  • Wehbi, S. (2017).  Ethics, arts and social work: A necessary conversation. Canadian Social Work Review34(1), 17-30.
  • Wehbi, S., Cowell, A., Perreault-Laird, J., El-Lahib, Y., & Straka, S. (2017). Intersecting interests: Qualitative research synthesis on art in the social work classroom. Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning, 8(3), 1-15.
  • Wehbi, S., McCormick, K. & Angelucci, S.  (2016). Socially engaged art and social work: An interdisciplinary course development journey.  Journal of Progressive Human Services27(1), 49-64. 
  • Khoury, J. & Wehbi, S. (2016).  Leaving a violent domestic relationship: The experiences of women in Lebanon.  International Social Work59(1),73-85.
  • Wehbi, S., Parada, H., George, P. & Lessa, I.  (2016).  Going home: Social work across and about borders.  International Social Work59(2),284-292.
  • Wehbi, S. (2015). Arts-informed teaching practice: Examples from a graduate anti-oppression classroom.  Social Work Education34(1), 46-59.
  • Wehbi, S. & Taylor, D.  (2013).  Photographs speak louder than words: The language of international development images.  Community Development Journal, 48(4), 525-539.
  • Wehbi, S.  (2012). Advancing a disability rights agenda in the context of war: Challenges and opportunities.  International Social Work, 55(4), 522-537.
  • Wehbi, S. (2012).  Representing disability and disfigurement: Modes of representation in Nina Berman’s photographs (external link) .  Disability Studies Quarterly, 32(1)
  • El-Lahib, Y. & Wehbi, S. (2012). Immigration and disability: Ableism in the policies of the Canadian state. International Social Work55(1), 95-108.
  • El-Lahib, Y., George, P., Pon, G. & Wehbi, S.   (2011). Challenging the myth of “studying harder”: A social work response to the oppression of EAL students.  Canadian Social Work Review, 28(2), 209-223.
  • Wehbi, S.  (2011). Key theoretical concepts for teaching international social work (external link) Social Work Review10(4)
  • Wehbi, S. (2011). Reflections on experiential learning: Linking the classroom to practice.  Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 31(5), 493-504.
  • Wehbi, S. (2011). Crossing boundaries: Foreign funding and disability rights activism in a context of war.  Disability & Society26(5), 507-520.
  • Wehbi, S. & Straka, S.  (2011). Revaluing student knowledge through reflective practice on involvement in social justice efforts (external link) .  Social Work Education, 30(1), 45-54.  
  • Wehbi, S. (2010).  Lebanese women disability rights activists: Wartime experiences. Women’s Studies International Forum33(5), 455-463.
  • Wehbi, S.  (2010).  Critical examination of involvement in social justice efforts: A case example of Canadian international development NGOs.  Journal of Progressive Human Services, 21(1), 45-65.
  • Wehbi, S. & Lakkis, S.  (2010).  Women with disabilities in Lebanon: From marginalization to resistance. Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work, 25 (1), 56-67.
  • Wehbi, S., Elin, L. & El-Lahib, Y. (2010).  Neo-colonial discourse and disability: The case of Canadian international development NGOs (external link) .  Community Development Journal, 45(4), 404-422. 

Selected Publications & Presentations: 

Selected creative activities:

  • 2018 “What comes with us…what stays behind?”, Wilfrid Laurier University Gallery, part of the “From Toronto with love” exhibit at Nuit Blanche 2018, September 27-29, 2018 (group exhibition)
  • 2017 “Decolonizing the Image: A Hybrid Visual Discourse of Space, Place, and Belonging”, invited photo-based installation as part of “Challenging, disrupting and celebrating: An evening of performance, art and music”, Event held as part of Congress 2017, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, May 30, 2017
  • 2017 “Pieces of Place”, Gallery 1313, Fall Emerging Artist Exhibition, September 28-October 8, 2017 (group exhibition)
  • 2016 “Decolonizing the Image: A Hybrid Visual Discourse of Space, Place, and Belonging”, juried interactive photo-based installation, OISE, Decolonizing Conference, November 2-4, 2016 (group exhibition)
  • 2016 “At the dis/junction: Gentrification in Toronto’s West End”, juried art exhibition, Assembly Hall, Through the Eyes of the Artist, April 14-May 12, 2016 (group exhibition)
  • 2014 “Everyday Activists”, invited photographic exhibition & book project (solo exhibition) Oakham House, Social Justice Week, October 6-18, 2014
  • 2014  “At the dis/junction: Gentrification in Toronto’s West End”, juried photography exhibition, Mimico Centennial Library (solo show), September 2-30, 2014.
  • 2013 “Community”, invited participation in a group exhibit, Capital One Art Collections.  Toronto, April 8-August 7, 2013.
  • 2013 “Pieces of Place”, juried photography exhibition, Lakeshore Arts Smith Zone Gallery space (two-person show). Toronto, March 9-April 11, 2013.
  • 2012 “Academic Fantasy # 21”, video with text by Susan Preston.
  • 2012 “Hard to Swallow”, photography with text by Susan Preston.  
  • 2012 “City of Signs/Signs of City”, new media work hosted on the Art Research Group website as part of the series Cultural Cities/Cultural Spaces; available at
  • 2012 “Going Home (?): Social Work Across and About Borders” (external link) , video presented during Social Justice Week (October 2012, Toronto); 
  • 2012 “Here, There and Nowhere: Imaginary Geographies of Translocal Spaces”, exhibition of photographic works as part of the DocNow student festival, Toronto, May 30-June 23, 2012, Toronto.
  • Provost’s Innovative Teaching Award, 2016
  • Sue Williams Teaching Excellence Award, 2007