Instructor in Art + Design

Department(s) or Program(s)


Helma Sawatzky is an artist, graphic designer and musician who lives in Surrey, BC. Her interdisciplinary academic background includes undergraduate degrees in music education (The Netherlands, 1991) and visual arts (Emily Carr University of Art + Design, 2009), and an MA in Communication (Simon Fraser University, 2011).  Alongside her practice as a visual artist and musician, she is currently pursuing PhD studies at the Simon Fraser University School of Communication. Her research focuses on photography, embodiment, and mediation.  

In both her art practice and graduate research, she explores the phenomenological dimensions of media—ways in which various media technologies participate in shaping and transforming the lived experience of time, space, and embodied being-in-the-world. Using photographic image data as raw materials for image creation, Sawatzky explores different thresholds between the virtual and the real.

Research & Scholarship


  • PhD (cand.) Communication Studies (Simon Fraser University) - research areas include photography theory + philosophy, body theory, media theory, philosophy of technology, post-phenomenology, media ecology, soundscape studies
  • MA Communication (Simon Fraser University)
  • BFA (Emily Carr University of Art + Design)
  • BMus (Stedelijk Conservatorium, Groningen, The Netherlands)


Photography, Painting, Mixed Media Sculpture, Media Theory, Soundscape