Research Interview Series #22: Janna Robertson, Ph.D., Professor of Education

Research Interview Series #22: Ray Pastore, Ph.D. interviews Janna Robertson, Ph.D., Professor of Education. We talk Art, Education, Impacts, and Community!


Forest of DREAMS article:
Forest of DREAM Documentary:
End Racism Now Art Installation:
School Justice Partnership:


Dr. Janna Siegel Robertson has worked in the field of education for over 35 years and received her doctorate from University of California in Los Angeles in Educational Psychology. She is currently a Professor of Secondary Education at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. Her research and multiple publications focus in the areas of dropout prevention, at-risk students, instructional technology, teacher preparation, arts education, special education, gifted education and community service learning. In the past, she was a general and special education teacher, a school administrator and a district administrator.

Dr. Robertson’s directed “The Forest of DREAMS” mural which was a 240-foot block long mural that transformed an entire Northside neighborhood by DREAMS Center for Arts. During 2016, she solicited 76 organizations including schools, churches, non-profits, businesses, neighbors, and individuals to sponsor their creature in the forest and supervised over 600 volunteers. The formerly neglected neighborhood is now a destination where busloads of children, tourists and locals come to visit the mural with its hidden creatures and stories. A documentary titled “Brushstrokes” describing the community service learning project. Several additional community murals have been painted around town including at Elderhaus, The Career Readiness Academy at Mosley PLC, DC Virgo Preparatory School, New Beginnings Church, Black Man Running, and Support the Port. Her most recent project was co-directing the “Black Lives Do Matter: End Racism Now” art installation for the City of Wilmington. This 135-foot sculpture consist of the 8-foot aluminum letters each painted by a diverse group of artists depicting positive contributions of Black culture to the city. The art installation will be at Jervay Freedom Walk Park for 2020-2021. She is involved with several additional projects through UNCW for 2021 that integrate social justice art, resilience, social emotional learning, and community service.

Posted in Interviews.

Leave a Reply