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Brenda Cowan

MSed, Professor of Exhibition & Experience Design, School of Graduate Studies at SUNY/FIT

Brenda is a Fulbright Specialist Scholar and Professor of Exhibition & Experience Design in the School of Graduate Studies at the Fashion Institute of Technology/SUNY. Former Chairperson of the department, Brenda teaches exhibition concept and narrative development, exhibition research and evaluation, object and audience studies, museum studies, thesis and research methodologies.

Brenda holds a M.S.Ed. in Museum Leadership from the Bank Street College of Education, a BFA from the School of Visual Arts and teaching certification in visual arts. She has worked for museums and design firms in the roles of interpreter, exhibition developer, education director, evaluator, and project manager. Brenda has published essays and articles for the National Association of Museum Exhibition’s journal Exhibition, the National Society for Experiential Education, Exhibit Builder Magazine, Exhibit City News, Hand-To-Hand, and has taught and presented in the U.S., China, South Africa, Sweden, British Columbia and England. 

Brenda's Fulbright study is an evaluation of the impacts of the Stories From Syria exhibition at the National Museums of World Culture in Stockholm, Sweden. The study utilizes her theory of Psychotherapeutic Object Dynamics as an instrument for examining the healthful and healing psychological impacts of an exhibition of personal objects belonging to Syrian refugees and immigrants to Sweden.

Her research work in museum objects, health and healing is a great joy in her life. It began in 2015 with the creation of the theory of Psychotherapeutic Object Dynamics, followed by international museum-based case studies from 2016-2018, museum exhibition evaluation projects in 2018 and forthcoming work with applications of the theory as an instrument for exhibition evaluation and exhibition development in 2022.

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