Passion for animals in research and teaching | Brock News

Cronin, associate professor in the Visual Arts Department in the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, is sensitive to the suffering endured by abandoned cats and other animals, a passion that is evident in her research.

With winter around the corner, she recently put out a social media plea to borrow a cat shelter. Staff from Brock’s Facilities Management responded. They had already used their own time to build a shelter to protect a colony of cats living along the escarpment on the campus.

It worked. The cats have been placed in permanent homes, and the compartmentalized shelter now sits on the front porch of Cronin’s home.

Cronin’s passion for animals blends seamlessly into her research and teaching.

She is completing a book that examines how art imagery from 1880 to the First World War was an important tool to promote animal advocacy. Her research took her to Boston, New York City and London, “richly historic places in the animal welfare movement.”

Assembling the research material was surprisingly difficult.

“I was feeling a little like Nancy Drew,” she said, “trying to discover and bring together literature and images that weren’t catalogued. It was clear that animal advocacy isn’t valued, because it hasn’t been archived.”

But what did impress her was the “sophisticated understanding of the importance of images and the impact on how people thought about animals in the second half of the 19th century.” Last year she curated an online exhibit – Be Kind: A Visual History of Humane Education, 1880-1945 – exploring the relationship between humans and animals.

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