Gail J Mitchell


Locations / Contact Info:

Keele Campus

Email address(es):

Faculty & School/Dept.

Faculty of Fine Arts - Theatre
Faculty of Health - School of Nursing


PhD - 1992
University of South Carolina
Columbia, SC

MScN - 1987
University of Toronto
Toronto, ON

BScN - 1984
Florida Atlantic University
Boca Raton, FL


Gail Mitchell is a Professor in the School of Nursing at York University and former Director/Chair of the YORK-UHN Nursing Academy in Toronto, Canada. An educator and qualitative researcher, she is a proponent of person-centred health care and knowledge translation through research-based drama, film, and visual art. Gail has been involved in the production and/or evaluation of several research-based dramas—one involving life with dementia, another linked with rehabilitation and life for persons with acquired brain injury, a third on issues connecting complexity and patient safety, and a fourth, Cracked: New Light on Dementia, that has been performed numerous times ( and was launched as a film in January 2018. She has worked with a team conducting research on suburban homelessness who produced a research-based film: Spaces and Places : Uncovering Homelessness in Peel Region--produced for Peel Poverty Action Group by York University, School of Nursing, the Homeless Hub, Critical Disability Studies, with the Social Planning Council of Peel Region. Other research projects involve working to mobilize new meanings for women living with disability and difference.  Professor Mitchell led a team to develop a teaching tool called Daagu that was funded by the Academic Innovation Fund at YorkU and Ontario Centres of Excellence. She has years of experience with complexity theory and networked learning communities in higher education and health care. Gail is particularly interested in promoting social change that diminishes the unnecessary suffering linked with stigma and in advancing possibilities with complexity theory and educational reform.  

Selected Publications

Mitchell,, G.J., Pilkington, F.B., Daiski, I., & Cross, N. (2017). Complexity-based pedagogy for e-learning: description of emergence in a graduate nursing program.  Open Journal of Nursing, 7, 222-241.

Kontos, P., Miller, K.L., Mitchell, G., Stirling-Twist, J. (2017). Presence redefined: The reciprocal nature of engagement between elder-clowns and persons with dementia. Dementia: The International Journal of Social Research and Practice. 16(2): 46-66.

Mitchell, G.J., Cross, N., George, O., Hynie, M., Kumar, K., Owston, R., Sinclair, D., & Wickens, R. (2016). Complexity Pedagogy and e-Learning: Emergence in Relational Networks. International Research in Higher Education, 1(1). Contribution 70%

Dupuis, S.L., Kontos, P., Mitchell, G., Jonas-Simpson, C., & Gray, J. (2016). Re-claiming citizenship through the arts. Special Issue on Citizenship, Dementia: The International Journal of Social Research and Practice, 15, 358-380.

Mitchell, G. J., Pilkington, B., Jonas-Simpson, C. M., Daiski, I., Cross, N. L., Johnston, N., ... & Tang, S. Y. (2016). Nursing education and complexity pedagogy: Faculty experiences with an e-learning platform. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, 6(5), p60. Contribution 60%

Dupuis, S., Mitchell, G., Jonas-Simpson, C., Whyte, C., Gillies, J., & Carson, J. (2015). Igniting transformative change in dementia care through research-based drama. The Gerontologist. (Pub online July 2016)

Jonas-Simpson, C., Mitchell, G.J., & Cross, N. (2015). Emergence: Complexity pedagogy in action. Nursing Research and Practice.

Kontos, P., Miller, K., Mitchell, G.J., Sterling Twist, J. (2015). Presence redefined: The reciprocal nature of engagement between elder-clowns and persons with dementia. Dementia: the International Journal of Social Research and Practice.

Jonas-Simpson, C., Mitchell, G.J., & Cross, N. (2015). Emergence: Complexity pedagogy in action. Nursing Research and Practice.

Gail J. Mitchell, Nadine Cross, Michelle Wilson, et al., (2013). Complexity and Health Coaching: Synergies in Nursing. Nursing Research and Practice, Article ID 238620, 7 pages, 2013. doi:10.1155/2013/238620.

Mitchell, G.J., Dupuis, S., & Kontos, P. (2013). Dementia discourse: from imposed suffering to knowing Other-Wise. Journal of Applied Hermeneutics.

Daiski, I., Halifax, N.D., Mitchell, G.J., & Lynn, A. (2012). Suburban Homelessness: Engulfment in the Grotto of Poverty. Studies in Social Justice, 6(1), 103-123.

Mitchell, G. J., Jonas-Simpson, C., & Cross, N. (2012). Innovating Nursing Education: Interrelating Narrative, Conceptual Learning, Reflection, and Complexity Science. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, 3(4).

Jonas-Simpson, Mitchell, G.J., Carson, J., Whyte, C., Dupuis, S. & Gillies, J. (2012). Phenomenological shifts for healthcare professionals after experiencing a research-based drama on living with dementia. Journal of Advanced Nursing.

Other Research Outputs

Links to research-based dramas.




College of Nurses of Ontario

Service/Community Activities

Alzheimers Society of Ontario


Distinguished Alumni Award, Christine E. Lynn College of Nur - 2008

Award of Merit, Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, To - 1997

Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Toronto, Toronto, - 1996

Excellence in Teaching - 2014

Education Award COUPN - 2017


Currently available to supervise graduate students: No

Currently taking on work-study students, Graduate Assistants or Volunteers: No

Available to supervise undergraduate thesis projects: No

Current Research

Primary research interests include research-based dramas, arts-informed teaching and learning, and complexity science applications in education and practice. I am involved in creating and evaluating research dramas for persons with dementia (, women living with difference and disability (, patient safety, and acquired brain injury. The research dramas are innovative ways of translating research and conveying important messages about lived experinece and social change. Engaged in research evaluating complexity pedagogy in the Daagu platform. I am a member of a research team conducting research on the effectiveness of research drama and additional research evaluting how music is experienced in a wellness academy for persons with memory loss.

Curriculum Vitae (C.V. file):

CV of Gail J Mitchell