Originally from Montreal, Quebec, I currently live in Victoria, British Columbia. I have a doctorate from the Department of Geography at the University of Victoria (2013), and recently completed a SSHRC Postdoctoral fellow with the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia (2013-2015). At the intersection of feminist political ecology and environmental justice, my research is focused on contested processes and spaces of citizen engagement. In particular, my research speaks directly to the nexus of the questions “what conditions are needed for new models of research to flourish, particularly the co-creation of knowledge with the public, private and non-profit sector?” and “what will be the outcomes of global pressures on accessibility and availability of food, water and energy?” Uncovering the interwoven and complex relationships between the political, economic and social factors with environmental issues has been central to my work. My MA, doctoral and postdoctoral research have all been strongly rooted in the investigation of innovations in community-based economic development, participatory governance and public policy related to water, sanitation and waste with informal and underserved communities in urban Canada, Brazil, Ghana and South Africa.
From a methodological perspective, I am particularly interested in the critical theory and practice of Participatory Action Research, and other approaches to research that value and strengthen community knowledge and interrogate traditional structures of power in decision-making. The integration of creative visual methodologies, and use of participatory video in particular, has been at the heart of my research and engagement approach. I am particularly keen on strengthening structures where communities can gain access to creative communication avenues, promoting enhanced dialogue with government and the wider community, and ultimately leading to increased quality of life and citizenship.
For the last four years I have worked as Research Director for the UNESCO Chair in Community-based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education, a collaborative partnership between the University of Victoria and the Society for Participatory Research in Asia, based in New Delhi, India. In this capacity I have co-lead global research projects on topics related to collaborative research partnerships, and training in Community-based Research.
I teach as a sessional instructor in the Department of Geography (UVic) (Economic geography, Qualitative methods), and as a curriculum designer for the School of Leadership Studies at Royal Roads University. Between 2014-5, I was the Associate Director of Research with the Institute for Studies and Innovation in Community University Engagement and more recently in the position of Research Associate with the Office of Community University Engagement at the University of Victoria. I have also co-taught international field schools in Northern India and the Pacific Northwest, exploring theory and praxis of sustainability, conservation and sustainable development.
I speak French, English, Portuguese and Spanish. I am a community-based researcher with several national and globally recognized studies. My work has been supported by CIDA, SSHRC, IDRC and other funders, and has been internationally acclaimed at the Global University Network for Innovation International Conference on “Knowledge, Transformation and Higher Education” in Barcelona, Spain in 2013.
I recently started Civic Mundo consulting group with my colleague Dr. Jutta Gutberlet, providing a range of services to development and funding agencies, foundations, non-governmental organizations and social enterprises, including: project design and implementation, monitoring and evaluation, applied research, training, capacity-development and knowledge mobilization. Participatory and community-based approaches are at the heart of Civic Mundo, that focus on finding solutions for community development and more sustainable livelihoods, while respecting environmental integrity. Civic Mundo provides timely and appropriate solutions that add value to and increase the prospects of success of this important work. Jointly, we bring highly specialized skills and a track record of success in international development projects, having attracted funding from numerous international organizations and widely documented through academic publications, reports, videos, and training materials. Additional assets include aptitudes in multiple languages including German, Portuguese, French, Spanish, English, and extensive networks globally in the area of research.
In the News:
World University News, Munyaradzi Makoni (December 2014). ‘Building community research partnerships worldwide’
Metro, Derek Moscato (April 2009). ‘Unsung warriors of urban environmental drive’.
The Province, Derek Moscato (October 2008). ‘Resourceful dumpster divers are important part of our city’s fabric’.
The Globe and Mail, Tom Hawthorn (September 2007). ‘Diving into the life of a Binner’.
Ascent Magazine, Mark Whitwell (September 2007). ‘The Union of Heaven and Earth’.