Ross Laird

PhD, Interdisciplinary Creative Process, MA, Counseling Psychology, faculty, Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Ross Laird, Ph.D. is an authorclinical consultanteducator, and scholar. His work focuses on the interconnected themes of mentorship, trauma, addictions, mental health, and creativity. In his consulting work he focuses on difficult and complex themes such as educational innovation, mental health, addictions, trauma, childhood development, conflict resolution, creativity, leadership, and technology.


He has worked with YPO, IKEA, and Translink, Vancouver Coastal Health, the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development, UBC and Simon Fraser University, the Business Council of BC, the BC Union of Psychiatric Nurses, St. George’s, Southridge, Crofton House, the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, First United, and the Canadian Cancer Society. 

Ross’ first book, Grain of Truth, appeared on the Macleans national bestseller list. Ross is also a recipient of the Union Institute’s Sussman Award for Academic Excellence. Grain of Truth: The Ancient Lessons of Craft, was shortlisted for the 2001 Governor General’s Award ,the BC Book Prize, and voted one of the 100 most important books of 2001 by the Globe and Mail and Spirituality and Health magazine. Ross is also the recipient of the 1997 Cecilia B. Lamont poetry prize.


Ross has taught at  Simon Fraser UniversityVancouver Community CollegeThe Union Institute and UniversityAntioch University, and Kwantlen Polytechnic University, where he is a recipient of the Dean of Arts Award for Teaching Excellence.

Ross is a registered member of the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors, and is the 2003 recipient of the Association’s Communications Award. His essays have appeared in The Globe and MailCanadian Geographic, and Pacific Yachting, for which he has been a frequent contributor.

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.

Melisa Delibegovic

Research Associate

coming soon






Jason McKeown


Jason is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Certified Parenting Educator that specializes in working clinically with parents and adolescents/young adults.  He has advanced training in: Parenting Education, Trauma, Anxiety, Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy, TeleHealth Counseling, Myers-Briggs, Neurofeedback, and Clinical Ericksonian Hypnosis.  He presently helps individuals and families both privately and in wilderness therapy settings.


Jason has worked in adult residential addiction treatment, the prison system, adolescent intensive outpatient, and several outdoor behavioral health programs including SUWS of the Carolinas, Phoenix Outdoor, and Trails Carolina.  He has been the Clinical Director and helped create both Trails Carolina and Trails Academy boarding school.  Jason has developed family programming and clinical services for multiple programs through the years and has presented on research and clinical topics at conferences across the US and in Canada.  In addition, he has also worked with professionals of OBHC, NATSAP, University of Arkansas, University of New Hampshire, and CREATE to conduct more clinical research in the field of wilderness therapy. 


Over the past decade, Jason has used his clinical expertise and knowledge of family systems to develop family programming at Trails Carolina that has been cutting edge in the industry of wilderness and family therapy.  As a result, he has written several parenting manuals, articles, and developed an approach to working with families that is transforming for individuals in treatment and their family systems.  Two significant areas of advancement have been a multi-systemic parallel approach and use of family-based assessments to inform the individual, group, parenting, and family work that is done.


Jason’s unique approach to working with families includes assessments, personality work, and experiential object exercises. It is the use of experience and objects in Jason’s clinical work that has brought about his interest and support in the research of Psychotherapeutic Object Dynamics as it has both meaningful applications in the clinical mental health sector and the museum profession alike.