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Jenny Horsman

Dr. Jenny Horsman (she/her/they) is a community-based educational researcher. She is a white first-generation settler in Canada, a migrant from England, by way of Sierra Leone where she spent nearly four years beginning to unlearn much she had been taught in England about the world. In Sierra Leone she absorbed new awareness of colonialism and white privilege, though she didn’t really understand the importance of those lessons until years later. 

She has been studying the impacts of all forms of violence on learning, and exploring how to support more effective and joyful learning of the things we choose to learn, at any age and in any setting for more than thirty years. Having first stumbled over the connection between violence we experience and how and what we learn during her doctoral research in the 80s, she later came to understand that what she heard resonated with some of her own childhood experiences. 

She has learned over the years, from ongoing research, experience, the wisdom of colleagues and students of different races, religions, cultures, and socioeconomic locations from her own, and a wide variety of training and study. She is a recipient of the YMCA Peace Medallion and has been a regular UNESCO panelist and juror. Her work is underpinned by mindfulness meditation practices and an extensive study of the latest neuroscience. She has developed curriculum, conducted training, and delivered workshops and lectures on four continents.

She continues to deepen her understanding of the impact of violence on learning, recognizing that violence pervades society, and all its systems and organizations. She believes trauma-informed approaches can be too limited, too medical, that it is not students that need “fixing,” but institutions and organizations in this colonialist, oppressive society. 

Jenny has written extensively, including the books Something in my Mind Besides the Everyday; Too Scared to Learn; and Take on the Challenge. 

She also upcycles, and creates mosaics, loving the metaphor of crafting new possibilities out of anything damaged and discarded! Working with others to help them find a creative voice, a way of re-imagining possibilities, fascinates her! As an avid cyclist and gardener, she cares for land, and grows connections in every way she can discover.

She would love to talk to you about the work she offers: coaching and mentoring, training, presenting, and carrying out collaborative research. Check out her approach at:

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