Creating impactful collective art experiences in the service of Education, Culture, and Community.
Our Dream Team
Founder and President
NATHALIE HAZAN, MA, MFT
"I created Raison d'art because I believe in the power of creativity and collaboration. For me, working collectively allows art to be created in a way that is otherwise out of reach for any one individual. Working together most importantly allows art to be created on a scale that makes ambitious ideals attainable."
In the past 25 years, Nathalie has worked as a social entrepreneur, an artist and a psychotherapist. Her love for art and her commitment to societal change are the driving forces behind Raison d'art. Nathalie holds a Masters in Art Therapy and a post graduate degree in couple and family therapy. She has completed dozens of art walls for Canadian and international clients in France, Switzerland, Israel, Hong Kong and the United States. Her school projects include Dawson College, HEC Montreal, as well as over 30 elementary and high schools from all 6 school boards across the Island of Montreal.
For 15 years, Anne-Marie Leduc worked as a lawyer in Youth Rights. The wellbeing of all children has forever been the motivating thread in her professional life. For the past three years, Anne-Marie has chosen to be involved in the organization of creative projects that overlap with her expertise and center on the healthy development of children. In this role, she is instrumental to Raison d’art.
Karine is a Montreal-based artist, currently completing her MA in Art Education at Concordia University. Working exclusively in oil paint to produce large-scale portraits, her artistic practice is driven by the uniqueness of faces and the distinctiveness of each gaze, more specifically those of women who intrigue her. Through her thesis research as a graduate student, Karine is turning her gaze inward as she conducts a self-study of her identity by exploring the gaps and overlaps that occur when she moves between her roles as an artist and teacher in different contexts.
Susana’s career has spanned design and strategic leadership roles in creative entrepreneurial start-ups and successful retail chains. She has also led public school educational programs for youth focusing on eco-consciousness, inclusion and social empowerment. An accomplished artist herself, she brings creativity, empathy and an artist’s keen eye for detail to everything she does.
DR. CLAUDIA MITCHELL
Claudia Mitchell, PhD, FRSC is a Distinguished James McGill Professor in the Faculty of Education, McGill University and an Honorary Professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa. At McGill she is the Director of Institute for Human Development and Well-being and the founder and director of the Participatory Cultures Lab at McGill. Her research focuses on participatory visual and arts based approaches to working with young people and communities in relation to addressing critical social issues such as gender equality and gender based violence. She is currently carrying out this work with Indigenous girls and young women in a number of fieldsites in Canada and South Africa where the aim is to support girl-led/youth-led ‘from the ground up’ policy and community dialogue to bring about social change. She also works with research teams in a wide range of other country contexts to address gender based violence, including Sweden, Ethiopia, Mozambique, and India. She is the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of the award-winning journal Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal. She has written extensively in the area of participatory visual methodologies: Doing Visual Research; and Participatory Visual Methodologies: Community, Policy and Social Change.
Technology and Product Advisor
With over 20 years of experience in tech, Olivia brings a broad set of skills from engineering, product development and management, content strategy, user experience design and more to turn ideas into tangible results. As a product leader and entrepreneur, she has lived through the rapid evolution of technology and contributed to products that have impacted our behaviours, relationships, and way of life, not always for the best. Her involvement in the startup community in Montreal as mentor, meetup organizer, and conference speaker led her to Raison d’art. In many ways, portraitX embodies her passion for applying technology in novel ways that inspire people to be part of positive changes in their communities and organizations. She is delighted to be part of a diverse and talented team bringing this creative and innovative program to schools across Canada.
DR. HAYLEY R. CROOKS
Hayley R. Crooks, Ph.D., runs a research consulting practice and is an academic and university lecturer with a background in documentary, theatre, and non-fiction television. She has a passion for uplifting youth voices, particularly as this pursuit intersects with gender-based violence prevention, and her consulting experience includes projects with government, non-profit, and academic organizations. Her expertise includes youth participatory and arts-based research, youth programming, community-based research, qualitative data collection and analysis, and program evaluation. She also creates research and outreach strategies, including educational resources for young people, educators, and youth workers. She is thrilled to be part of the portraitX team.
DR. CHLOE GARCIA
Chloe Garcia graduated with a PhD in Education from McGill University. Her doctoral research investigated the potential of YouTube, youth vlogs, and vlogging for teaching and learning about sexual consent. She specializes in sexualities education, media and digital literacies, youth participatory cultures, facilitation, and sexual violence prevention and activism. As a sex education consultant, her work ranges from program development and evaluation, to research and workshop facilitation. She continues to teach in the Faculty of Education at McGill University. She is proud to be part of the Raison d’art family!
Curriculum Consultant and Workshop Facilitator
Aron is a high school teacher turned graduate student at McGill University. At McGill, he is involved with creative writing, gardening, activism, and mindful movement. Aron's research explores the hidden dimensions of the internet and the consequences of young people's digital lifestyles. His aim is to support educators' efforts to help students develop responsible and critical digital literacies. Aron will be spending the year 2020 offline.
Content Management and Translation
Claudia is a recent graduate from Concordia University and a translator at the very exciting start of her career. Having held positions in legal and business translation teams, she is happy to have joined portraitX in a socially-driven project that allowed her to tune in to different skills as a content manager. She is excited to try out different things and shape out her path on the way.
Tracey is a Montreal-based storyteller and writer of her everyday observances and occurrences. People are her most favourite subject of all. As a lifelong creative, she also constructs modern home décor miniatures for sport, and for sanity. She is wildly romantic in unusual ways, and she has a mouth that would make a sailor cringe. Her work has appeared in places like CBC Parent, Today’s Parent, Reader’s Digest, and Galaxy Brain. Photo credit: Andrea Hausmann of COCO HAUS Productions
Alix is completing her undergraduate studies in the Art Education Specialization program at Concordia University. She has experience teaching art to elementary and high school students from diverse backgrounds, including Selwyn House, Lower Canada College, Royal Vale Elementary and a community group of homeschooled Muslim children called Ma Petite Oumma. Alix is thrilled to work with the students participating in portraitX.
Youth Leader and Social Media Coordinator
I’m Abigail, and as a part of the portraitX team, I work on coordinating our social media pages. Some of my favourite things to do include making and watching films, playing around with other forms of digital art, and hanging out with my cats. I am currently studying cinema-communications at Dawson College, where I have recently received a certificate for gender studies specialization. I plan to continue to combine my two passions of film and gender while studying film production and interdisciplinary sexuality at Concordia next year.
Youth Tech Development and Support
Davide is a recent graduate of the Computer Science Technology program at Dawson College. Starting his career, he has worked on both mobile and web front-end development. He believes that technology is best used for bringing communities together and to educate others. He is excited to work with an amazing team with such a powerful message.
Youth Tech Development
Jeffrey is a Software Developer and recent Computer Science Technology graduate from Dawson College. He has experience working as a Functionality Tester, Data Analyst, Peer Tutor, and Backend Developer. He believes it is important that youth are not afraid of technology but become better educated on how to use it. He is thrilled to volunteer at portraitX to help develop tools to help others.