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Lisa Housden

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Lisa is an educator with 18 years of teaching and mentoring experience in public, private and independent schools. She has also worked as a professional actor in children’s theatre, and as a children’s librarian and programmer. She is a graduate of the Transformative Learning Foundation and her thesis is focused on the transformative nature of beauty in human experience.

Thesis: Moments of Beauty: an Inquiry into Aesthetic Engagement

Aesthetic engagement occurs in moments of deep connection between self and other than self. It is generated by a human intrinsic orientation towards beauty and it develops over time along with sensory, relational and spiritual capacities. When we allow space for deep relational connection between ourself and our context, we cultivate personal moments of aesthetic engagement. In this thesis I explore the notion of aesthetic engagement and the role it plays in my life and the lives of a select group of study participants.

My research draws on pertinent literature from the work of leading academics and visionary thinkers in the areas of learning, spirituality, and philosophy. Specifically in this thesis, I point to the work of Brent Cameron, David Orrell, Jean Vanier, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Karen Meyer, Michael Schneider, River Meyer, Stephen Buhner, and Tobin Hart, all of whom have inspired my inquiry into aesthetic engagement. In addition, I present research survey results to examine and illustrate my findings on individual experience of aesthetic engagement from a select group of adult study participants.

Aesthetics is an area of philosophical inquiry that is integral to deepening our understanding of the nature of being and the nature of the universe. Aesthetic engagement in the individual takes place in moments of connection and, therefore, understanding between self and other, or self and context. It enhances awareness of who we are and how we are related to the whole. By focusing on personal moments of aesthetic engagement I draw conclusions about their significance to the human condition. My process in this inquiry steps away from mainstream academic conventions, using methods foundational to SelfDesign processes and principles.

Read my complete thesis (pdf) here


BA English, McGill University, 1981

BEd, Queen’s University, 1987

MA, SelfDesign Graduate Institute 2015 SelfDesign®


Lisa Housden Thesis