Professor of Art, Curator/Director of the Lord Hall Gallery
Professor Hicks’ research and publications focus on issues pertaining to feminism, cultural theory and environmental concerns in art education. Most recently her research has explored the concept of visual/material culture and play, and its contribution to our understanding of a socially responsible art education; contemporary body modification as a process of liberation; and the relationship of visual and material culture to our memory of place. In addition, she has written on utopian and dystopian notions of human experience and how they are represented in science fiction film; and on the cultural role of tourist images and artifacts. Through her research on tourist images and photography, Professor Hicks explored the process, content, mnemonic and narrative nature of tourist snapshots focusing on how everyday aesthetic and narrative structures unfold as we document and represent our tourist experiences through the taking of photographs, and on how such tourist images reflect more about the individual’s desire to tell a story, than about the particular narratives and landscapes of actual places.
Related to previous work on art education and the development of an environmental ethics of care, Professor Hicks is currently writing on issues of environmental justice and the role art education plays in developing a sense of environmental responsibility within the context of inextricable social concerns.
Professor Hicks’ most recent artistic works, Icelandic Particulars, Particulars, Constructing Memory and Memories of China link her scholarly interest in our memory of place with photographic representations of experiences of place. Her most recent images have come as a result of traveling in China as a documentary photographer for ChinaVine (https://chinavine.uoregon.edu), a group of scholars and students interested in China’s cultural heritage and making it available to an English-speaking audience through an interactive website, social media and educational materials.
As a faculty member at the University of Maine, Professor Hicks teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in art education theory and practice, as well as courses on contemporary issues in art education, environmental design, art history, and museum education. In addition to her research and teaching efforts, Professor Hicks has served as the chair of the University of Maine’s Department of Art (https://umaine.edu/art/), interim chair of Theatre and Dance, interim director of the University of Maine Museum of Art (https://umma.umaine.edu) and interim director of the Intermedia Master of Fine Art program (https://intermedia.umaine.edu). She also served as President of the Women’s Caucus of the National Art Education Association, is a member of the National Council on Policy Studies in Art Education, was the founding editor of the Journal of Gender Issues in Art Education and collaborated to established the Art Education Research Institute (https://www.aerinstitute.org), serving as its co-cordinator for several years. In 1999, Professor Hicks received the national Mary J. Rouse Award for Outstanding Contributions to Art Education. From 2011 to 2013, Professor Hicks served as the Senior Editor of Studies in Art Education.