Paige Medlock

I grew up in small town just south of Lexington, Kentucky known worldwide for its Christian academic institutions – Asbury University and Asbury Theological Seminary. My dad taught in the art department for almost 40 years at the university, so I grew up loving art, artists, art students, art teachers, art museums, art mediums, art studios, art books, art galleries, art classrooms, all things visual art! And I grew up in a home of strong faith and sound relationships. I tested the validity of the doctrine and the reality of God while I was a teenager, and through questioning what I had until then taken for granted, I discovered that the depth and truth of Christianity was not only real but personal and freeing; it was not only a decision to believe but a worldview, foundation, relief, inspiration, practice, outlook, disposition, trajectory, journey, connection, motivation, insight, belonging, relationship. In undergrad I studied Art Education, then taught art for nine years in South Carolina and Kentucky, and traveled extensively during those years. I chaperoned teams of students in educational and relief work trips abroad and I began taking intercultural studies courses while I was teaching art, knowing intuitively somehow these interests would intersect more explicitly. I did relief work in Asia working with kids in refugee camps, where we created art to work though traumas of war and natural disaster. I loved teaching art and wanted more overseas lived experience and more investigation, so I headed toward further grad school in the UK. After finishing a master’s degree at the seminary in intercultural studies, I moved to Scotland to study Visual Culture both at the University of Aberdeen (second master’s) and at the University of Stirling (PhD, practice-based in art). My PhD dissertation research focused on how visual art can be a place where something inside us shifts perspective, where we can see with compassion that moves us to action. I co-created several large scale commissioned installations of stained glass and wrote about visual culture. Although my research was practice-based, I had not yet lived in the refining crucible that would adjust my own life to see people with more of the compassion and grace that God has for us. After three years of study in the UK, on a holiday visit home in Kentucky to work on a stained glass project, I met someone who routed the direction of my hopes and ambitions into a destructive marriage and unexpected divorce. In the trauma of those experiences and massive losses, my faith grew and I moved toward healing. I found freedom and new life, and although some lessons came in ways I would not have invited, I am grateful, for I know the God who saves, frees, rescues, strengthens, enlivens, regenerates, reminds, provides, forgives, and helps forgive. In that time of inner transition, I also shifted careers to what I most wanted to do: teach at a university and be closer to home. I would love to share how my story has been full of joy, but it has included some darkness out of which the light of joy was intensified. When I hear students today wrestle with their experience and perceptions of religions and the appearance of faiths, I recall a class I was a TA for at Stirling called Mis/Representations of Religions. Often Christianity mis/represents inaccurately too, but if we were to trust a loving God fully, we might find that faith is accessible, beautiful, simple, mysterious, nuanced, vital, affirming, forming, freeing and free. It is also for you. I live in Middle Tennessee with my really amazing son, two dogs, and two cats and found my faith community in a local Anglican church.

My Life

Favorite Quote

The stone it has been moved The grave is now a groove All debts are removed Oh can't you see what love has done? - Window in the Skies, U2

Friends describe me

as a breath of fresh air

My hobbies

include looking for time to have hobbies.

Fantasy dinner guests

Bono, Condoleezaa Rice, Jennifer Garner, Madeleine L'Engle, Marc Chagall, Esther, my grandparents

Best advice I ever received

"You're not responsible for that."

My undergrad alma mater

Asbury University

My worst subject in school

Advanced Chemistry, I have repented of my methods and taken ibuprofen for the memories of experiments.

In college I drove

86 Nissan Pulsar

If I weren't a professor, I would

move to an island in Scotland and write books, create art, and travel with a film SLR camera.

Favorite books

Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art by Madeleine L'Engle, Everything Sad is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri, Educated by Tara Westover, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb, both books by Nelle Harper Lee, the book of Esther

Favorite movies

The Princess Bride, Star Wars & The Empire Strikes Back, The Holiday, The Good Lie

Favorite city

Edinburgh, Scotland

Favorite coffee

Decaf iced cappuccino made with oat milk and a swirl of pumpkin at DD. Try it.

Nobody knows I

have climbed a mountain in the Caribbean, seen killer whales in the Straight of Gibraltar, driven a John Deere tractor in Kenya, been stranded on an island in Papua New Guinea, seen the Queen of England twice, been on set of Game of Thrones but had never heard of the show, and saw U2 in Dublin.

My latest accomplishment

I just received an award for Middle Tennessee Region Art Teacher of the Year 2024!

Current Research

I continue to be fascinated about our personal receptivity of visual art and the influences of visual culture, but more specifically in art education: how the classroom environment, awakening the creative spirit, and the art instructor can facilitate and promote student well-being with an approach of C.A.R.E. (each letter representing five factors in that theory and practice).