Past Projects

Caffyn developed a body of work around the concept of “mapping” home and nature, with large-scale public projects in Vancouver and on Salt Spring Island linking art with environmental concerns.

Her 2006 book Art and Survival describes the work of environmental artist Patricia Johanson, whose graceful designs for sewers, highways, parks and other functional projects link fragmented ecosystems and create conditions that allow endangered species to thrive. The book was translated and published in China in 2009.

Caffyn’s other book projects include Culturing Sustainability: A Cookbook for Artists and Educators (2008), an online publication that explores and outlines diverse approaches to environmental issues.

Caffyn has served on the boards of many non-profit societies including the Islands Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies, where she helped to create transformative educational programs on art, environment and community, along with a global social network of engaged artists.

She has worked with schools and children of many ages in public art projects in Vancouver and on Salt Spring Island.

From 1988 to 1993 she worked as the editor and publisher of Gallerie, a journal of women artists.

Publications (selected)

(2009) “Water” and “Space,” Japanese translation of chapters from Orientation: Mapping Queer Meanings,trans. Keitaro Morita. Journal of Queer Studies Japan, Vol. 2.

(2009) Art and Survival: Patricia Johanson’s Environmental Projects (Chinese language edition). Trans. Chen Guoxiong. Environmental Aesthetics series, series eds. Chen Wangheng and Arnold Berleant. Wuhan, China: Wuhan University.

(2008) “Better than Sex: Sweet Spots, Systems and Openings at the Online Conference on the Art of Engagement. In Access All Areas: Conversations on Engaged Arts. Ed. Tania Willard. Vancouver: Grunt Gallery.

(2007). Valentine’s day demonstration. (on Aboriginal women against violence in the downtown eastside of Vancouver). West Coast Line 53, vol. 41. No. 1, p. 68-69.

(2006). Art and Survival: Patricia Johanson’s Environmental Projects. Salt Spring: Islands Institute. Book, 165 pages.

(2005). Cloak for a watershed guardian. Islands in the Salish Sea: A Community Atlas. Eds. S. Harrington and J. Stevenson. Victoria: TouchWood Editions. p. 84-85.

(2004). “Diana Thompson’s Alluvion.”  Catalogue essay on environmental artist.

(2005). website exploring the cultural meanings and social power of homosexuality. Includes book Orientation: Mapping Queer MeaningsA Dictionary of Symbols

(2005). Editor, researcher for Murakami, R. Ganbaru: The Murakami Family of Salt Spring Island. 32 page booklet on Japanese Canadian history and internment. Salt Spring Island: Japanese Garden Society.

(2002). Trout Lake Atlas: Report on the Trout Lake Community Mapping Project, 120 pages. Published with the assistance of the Vancouver Parks Board.

(1999). Gay and Lesbian Health on Salt Spring Island: A Resource for Healthcare Providers. Salt Spring Island: GLOSSI.

(1996). Social Fabric: the Kensington Community Quilt, 80 pages. Published with the assistance of the Vancouver Parks Board.

(1995). “Creating Memory-Contesting History: Inside the Monstrous Fact of Whiteness.” Matriart. Vol. 5 #3.

(1995). “Family.”  To Sappho, My Sister: Lesbian Sisters Write About Their Lives. Ed. Lee Fleming. Charlottetown: gynergy books.

(1995). “Art and Life,”  Rethinking Marxism: A Journal of Economics, Culture and Society. Spring.

(1995). “Broken Silence, Visible Wounds: Canadian Artists Explore Social Space with Contradictions Intact.” High Performance, Los Angeles, #69/70, p. 48-53.

(1994). “Queer / Nature: Be Like Water.” Undercurrents: a Journal of Critical Environmental Studies. June.

(1994). Editor: Give Back: First Nations Perspectives on Cultural Practice. North Vancouver: Gallerie Publications.

(1994). Editor: Forbidden Subjects: Self-Portraits by Lesbian Artists. North Vancouver: Gallerie Publications.

(1993). “Feminism and Art in Vancouver: Time for Change,” Modernism and Beyond: Women Artists of the Pacific Northwest. Eds. Laura Brunsman and Ruth Askey, Midmarch Arts Press: New York.

(1992). “Sexual Subject, Sexual Object.” Resources for Feminist Research (Rfr/drf), Vol. 19, No. 3/4.

(1991). Editor: In My Country: Artists on Canada, North Vancouver: Gallerie Publications.

Note: From 1988 to 1993, Caffyn Kelley worked as editor and publisher at Gallerie Publications, producing a quarterly publication of women artists, a quarterly newsletter and occasional books. While there she edited and wrote numerous articles, plus researched and developed monographs and anthologies.

In addition to the articles listed here, Kelley has written many more articles for popular publications, web distribution, and artist’s books.


Conference Papers (selected)           

2013. Island Studies Conference, Gabriola Island, BC., presentations on the Islands Institute and GLOSSI.

2010. Presentation on using the internet for socially engaged art projects. Common Weal Community Arts in Regina, Saskatchewan.

2007. “Thinking Nature,” presentation on how pre-modern, modern and postmodern worldviews operate simultaneously in the cultural sphere, informing the current cascade of environmental crises. Nature Matters: Materiality and the More-than-Human in Cultural Studies of the Environment – Environmental Studies, York University, Toronto Canada

2003. “Queer Alchemy: Using Homophobic Stereotypes as a Source of Power,” presentation and interactive collage-making workshop given at Rainbow Visions: Building a Pan-Canadian Queer Agenda, Montreal, hosted by EGALE Canada.

1995. “Culture without borders, culture without location – Gay and Lesbian Art Books in Canada,” presentation on publishing as public art, San Antonio, Texas, College Art Association.

1995. “Lesbian / lesbian,” presentation at the Women’s Caucus for Art, College Art Association Conference, San Antonio, Texas.

1995. “Creating Memory: Contesting History,” presentation on issues of race and whiteness, Simon Fraser University, Conference on Fascism.

1994. “Art and Healing,” presentation at Simon Fraser University conference on Healing and the Creative Arts.


Selected  Projects

(2005-2009) Principle Investigator in a multi-year action research project through the Islands Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies. This non-profit society explores possibilities and develops technologies for critical and place-based education and dialogue in an online community of practice sited at the interdisciplinary convergence of environment, art and social justice.

(2008-2009) Environmental Studies Programs in Canada. For Dr. Lorelei Hanson, Athabasca University. Researching 54 Arts and Social Science-based Environmental Studies programs in Canada, literature review, discussions, analysis and development of recommendations for the design and content of a new Environmental Studies program at Athabasca University.

(2008) Online social network developer for a variety of research projects including Engaged Art Network, the Ecological Knowledge Network.

(2008) Islands Institute  teaching of “Building Better Communities: Creative Social Change Work.” In this course, participants acquired fresh tools for community action, intervention and leadership. They experimented with using art, innovative research methods, and creative projects for social and environmental goals.

(2007) “Art and Survival” course design for the Islands Institute. This course empowers participants to use art in new ways, generating creative solutions for environmental, social and economic problems. Participants experimented with applying resources, approaches and key concepts in an emerging field of interdisciplinary practice to issues in their home communities.

(2005) Life Mapping Project. A community art research project undertaken for the first-ever Salt Spring Island Pride Celebration, addressing the question: “How can gay and lesbian lives be mapped and shared in a way that is empowering for participants and the community?”

(2002-2011) Japanese Garden Project. Caffyn Kelley was a director of this community project that created a public space on Salt Spring Island where the history of Japanese Canadian pioneers is acknowledged. This project has involved working with a high school class to create artworks documenting the history of the Japanese Canadian community on Salt Spring, coordinating over 60 volunteers, and other aspects.

(2002) “Tideline.” Artist in residence project for the Roundhouse Community Centre, Vancouver. This project engaged two hundred participants in exploring the shoreline of False Creek, documenting its history and imagining its future in a mixed-media environmental art installation. “Tideline” workshops included False Creek History, Creating a Personal Iconography, Mapping. Roundhouse Community Centre, Vancouver.

(2001-2202) Trout Lake Community Mapping Project. Artist in residence project for the Trout Lake Community Centre, Vancouver. This project involved working for over a year with school and community groups to map nature and natural history at Trout Lake, creating 30 complex artworks and a 400-foot environmental sculpture commemorating a buried creek.  “Trout Lake Community Mapping Project” workshops included What is a Map?, Barefoot Mapping, Lake Stewardship, Queer Nature, Natural History of Trout Lake, Bowl as Map / Bowl as Metaphor, Habitat Restoration. Workshops given at the Community Centre and two Vancouver schools (Grades 4-6; Grades 8-10).

(2001-2002) Islands in the Salish Sea Community Mapping Project, Mapmaker and Project Coordinator, Salt Spring Island.

(1997-2000) Freedom from Fear. Salt Spring Women Opposed to Violence and Abuse, Artist on community project working with young people to produce a book on violence prevention.

(1998) Union. Project for the Office and Professional Employees International Union to create a quilt and a design for two pamphlets celebrating the power of collective action.

(1995-6) “Social Fabric: The Kensington Community Quilt.” Artist in residence project for the Kensington Community Centre in Vancouver, resulting in the production of a huge quilt created with the involvement of hundreds of community members. “Social Fabric” workshops included Design and Drawing with Fabric, Photography on Fabric, Appliqué, and Self-Portraits. Given as part of the community interaction process at the Kensington Community Centre and 3 Vancouver schools, classes from kindergarten to Grade 7.

(1994) Social Art/Public Art, 5-week workshop for senior engaged artists presented at the grunt gallery, Vancouver.

(1993-4) “Women Artists and cross-cultural collaborations,” workshop and discussion group at the Seymour Art Gallery.

(1990) “Tracing Threads: Persistent Themes in Women’s Art,” presentation at the Rosemont Gallery, Regina. Facilitator: “Feminist / Artist,” daylong workshop for women artists.

1990. “Creating a Small Magazine,” presentation at Selkirk Community College, Castlegar, B.C.


Selected Awards

(2008) Athabasca University scholarship awarded to student with the highest standing in the graduating class of each department, Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies.

(2007) Athabasca University Research Dissemination Award for travel to Nature Matters Conference, York University, Ontario

(1995) Canada Council Travel Grant to College Art Association Conference

(1994) Canada Council Explorations Program Grant for year-long research, teaching, art and writing project “Social Fabric”

(1993) North Vancouver Community Arts Council Award

(1991) Barbara Deming Fund/ Money for Women