Lecture to inspire change in youth homelessness research

A youth sits bereft against a stone wall

On Nov. 21, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., the Faculty of Education Public Research Series will feature Stephen Gaetz, a Faculty professor and York University Research Chair in Homelessness and Research Impact, who will explore the role social innovation can have in inspiring change in the response to youth homelessness in Canada.

Stephen Gaetz
Stephen Gaetz

Titled “Making Research Matter: Mobilizing research to impact on homelessness policy,” Gaetz’s talk will discuss the latest results from the work of Making the Shift – Youth Homelessness Social Innovation Lab (MtS), a partnership between the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and A Way Home Canada. He will argue that while MtS has developed a solid evidence base for the prevention of youth homelessness, the production of quality research alone is not enough to produce the change needed.

Gaetz’s lecture will further discuss the knowledge mobilization strategies required to help engage service providers and all orders of government to inform, change minds, and contribute to a change in how to think about and respond to this seemingly intractable problem.

The lecture is an extension of Gaetz’s long-standing interest in understanding homelessness – its causes, how it is experienced and potential solutions. His program of research has been defined by his desire to “make research matter” through conducting and mobilizing rigorous scholarly research that contributes not only to a shared knowledge base on homelessness but to solutions that impact policy, practice and public opinion.

In 2017, he was named a member of the Order of Canada for his ongoing work.

Those who wish to register for the event, which will be held in the Nick Mirkopolous Screening Room in the Accolade East Building on York’s Keele Campus, can do so here: eduforms.apps01.yorku.ca/machform/view.php?id=271519.

Symposium explores planetary health, planetary crises

Climate change ecololgy global warming

The Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research at York University will host a symposium to explore how human activity is pushing ecological limits to a breaking point, and climate change is a fundamental threat to human life.

Taking place on Nov. 24 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., both in person at the Keele Campus and online, the Planetary Health for a Planetary Emergency symposium aims to bring together scholars from the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research and across York University who work at the intersection of climate change and health, to discuss the potentials of planetary health as a driver of just climate action.

This event will also launch the Dahdaleh Institute Planetary Health Research Council which supports a collaborative research community of faculty, postdoctoral Fellows and graduate students committed to planetary health research at York University and beyond. 

The event draws attention to the need for clear associations between climate change and health, and to develop critical problem-solving interventions and advocate for climate action that advances well-being for all. The symposium will explore questions, such as: How do we do this while holding a critical view of the systems and structures which have led us into this climate catastrophe, including the ideologies of colonialism and capitalism that underpin the modern era? How do we advance effective and equitable solutions for planetary health that work against these systems and structures instead of upholding them?

The day’s agenda will include panel discussions with three themes featuring guest speakers.

Water: This panel explores the role water plays at the confluence of environmental and human health. Speakers will discuss efforts to support vital biological and social functions of water in the face of our rapidly changing climate and how such efforts might be positioned to work towards more just, sustainable and integrated water management.

Speaking on the topic of water will be: Deborah McGregor, a Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Environmental Justice and a professor cross-appointed with Osgoode Hall Law School and the Faculty of Environment & Urban Change at York University; Sapna Sharma, an associate professor in the Department of Biology at York University and York Research Chair in Global Change Biology; and Byomkesh Talukder, an assistant professor at the Department of Global Health at Florida International University. Moderating this panel will be Caroline Diana Duncan, a PhD candidate in civil engineering at York with a strong focus on optimizing drinking water in the Arctic using participatory approaches to system dynamics modelling.

Land: This panel examines the role of land in achieving planetary health, taking a wide view across issues of food security, extractivism, urbanization and conservation. This includes examples of how land is inherently interconnected with people and the environment and how access to land and tenure rights are themselves a determinant of human and environmental health.

Discussion on topics related to land will be led by: Dayna N. Scott, an associate professor and York Research Chair in Environmental Law & Justice with Osgoode Hall Law School at York University where she is also cross appointed with the Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change; James Stinson, a postdoctoral Fellow in Planetary Health Education at York University, cross appointed to the Faculty of Education and the Dahdaleh Institute of Global Health Research; Raphael Aguiar, a PhD candidate in the Health Policy and Equity program at York University and a Dahdaleh Global Health Graduate Scholar; and Sarah Rotz, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change. This panel will be moderated by Nilanjana (Nell) Ganguli, a PhD student in the Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change.

Air: This last panel addresses how air is brought into our approaches to planetary health, drawing together a range of fields related to emissions reduction, human well-being, air pollution and climate adaptation. Speakers will consider how air pollution disproportionately impacts low income and marginalized populations as well as the climate policy synergies of tackling air pollution that both damages health and impairs ecosystems.

Participating in this discussion are: Cora Young, an associate professor and the Rogers Chair in Chemistry at York University; Eric B. Kennedy, an associate professor and area coordinator of the Disaster and Emergency Management program at York University; and Jean-Thomas Tremblay, an assistant professor of environmental humanities at York University. Moderating this panel will be Hillary Birch, a PhD student in the Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change at York University, where she is a SSHRC doctoral Fellow.

For more information, or to register, visit the event webpage.

PhD candidate receives fellowship to bring Indigenous lens to STEM

woman engineer STEM

Andrew McConnell, a PhD candidate at York University’s Lassonde School of Engineering, has been awarded an Indigenous and Black Engineering and Technology (IBET) Fellowship to transform the future of technical science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education for Indigenous students.

The IBET program, which works in partnership with more than a dozen higher education institutions across Canada, was created to help reduce systemic barriers that exist for Indigenous and Black scholars pursuing doctoral degrees in STEM by providing financial support and academic mentorship. As part of the IBET program, Lassonde aims to increase representation in STEM, while uplifting decolonization, equity, diversity and inclusion.

andrew mcdonnell
Andrew McConnell

McConnell is the first Indigenous student to receive the IBET Fellowship at Lassonde and is grateful for the four-year, $30,000-per-year financial support provided. “For the first time in my life, I have the freedom to solely focus on my passion instead of working multiple jobs to help pay for schooling,” he says.

With that passion, his intentions are to pursue the overcoming of challenges faced by the Indigenous community in STEM fields. “We need to start talking about the barriers that lead Indigenous people away from professional career paths like engineering; we need to build a system that truly supports us,” says McConnell.

He will do so by drawing on experiences, which includes working at the York Region District School Board in various roles such as teacher and department head for technological education, as well as teaching advisor, co-ordinator and board lead for First Nations, Métis and Inuit education.

“Working as a consultant for Indigenous education, I built a sense of community and belonging, but I also noticed the ways the education system was not serving Indigenous people,” he says. “The barriers start as early as kindergarten. Young students who are great at fixing things and love to tinker are moved into trades, as if they are not good enough to be scientists or engineers. This makes us limited in what we can contribute to the needs of our communities and causes us to be reliant on non-Indigenous people. I want to uplift Indigenous ways of problem solving to introduce students to technical subjects in STEM, encourage them to ask questions and build a practical foundation for their natural engineering minds.”

Supervised by Professor Melanie Baljko in the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, McConnell will apply his extensive educational and professional background in English, education, digital media and technology to explore, develop and inform new approaches to Indigenous education in STEM. McConnell is also enrolled in the school’s Digital Media program, which operates jointly with York’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design, allowing learners to do specialized hybrid research, uniquely combining computational science and artistic practices.

In addition to his research, McConnell will extend his expertise to York’s Waaban Indigenous Teacher Education program. Through teachings from Indigenous elders, educators and community leaders, the program aims to prepare the next generation of teachers, who will address the needs of First Nation, Métis and Inuit students, families and communities – putting Indigenous futures in Indigenous hands.

York researchers receive federal funding for knowledge mobilization projects 

Lightbulb with orbs over an open book

By Corey Allen, senior manager, research communications

Four York University researchers are among the latest recipients of Connection Grants from the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). 

Richard Saunders, Johanne Jean-Pierre and Yvonne Su from the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, and S. Nombuso Dlamini from the Faculty of Education, were awarded the funding for various knowledge mobilization activities related to their different research projects.  

The grants fund activities like research events, workshops and community outreach, and are intended to spark new connections between academic and non-academic partners, and collaboration between the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. 

Saunders’ project, “Resource Nationalism and African Mining Policy Innovation: Mobilizing New Research and Engaging Key Stakeholders,” received $49,991. Saunders and his team will organize several outreach activities, including policy workshops on mining reform in Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, an international research conference at York, and a policy seminar in Ottawa for government officials, African diplomats and non-governmental organizations. Saunders, along with undergraduate and graduate students, will also produce policy briefs on mining sector reforms for distribution across multiple African and Canadian platforms. 

Jean-Pierre’s project, “Symposium: Designing a flourishing future and researching with Black communities in Canada,” received $13,934. The grant supports a conference to be held at York on Nov. 20, bringing together French- and English-speaking Black interdisciplinary scholars to discuss how to conduct research with Black Canadian communities ethically and effectively. Findings from the conference will be shared in a research brief and two open-access, peer-reviewed articles to improve research methods for social scientists and health scholars who engage with Black and other historically excluded populations.   

Su’s project, “Stories of Change: Listening to Global South Perspectives on Climate-Induced Migration,” received $49,945. The SSHRC funding will support a 10-episode educational podcast that will highlight Su and her colleagues’ research, while also focusing on the voices and stories of marginalized people and groups most impacted by climate change – displaced people and migrants, Indigenous communities and grassroots organizations in the Global South. Launch events for the podcast will also be held in Toronto, Nairobi and Berlin.  

Dlamini’s project, “Exploring Connections between Black Youth Civic Participation & Identity,” received $40,636. The project, which also includes York’s Godfred Boateng and Tannaz Zargarian from the University of Fraser Valley, will involve a workshop and two webinars on the access and management of data on the contributions of Black people to Canada. The events will highlight existing and new Canadian research on Black youth civic participation and bring together scholars, youth and community service workers. A hands-on “DIY toolkit” on data access, collection, analysis and management will also be developed for students and service worker participants.  

The four York researchers were among the 64 awardees across the country to receive the latest round of Connection Grants from the SSHRC totalling $1,910,441.  

Nnimmo Bassey calls for graduands to ‘restore hope in our time’

nnimmo bassey

By Alexander Huls, deputy editor, YFile

On Oct. 13, at the Fall Convocation ceremony for York University’s Faculty of Education, Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change, Glendon College, Lassonde School of Engineering and the Faclulty of Science, environmentalist Nnimmo Bassey shared his life story and words of encouragement with graduands.

During her opening remarks, Vice-Chancellor and President Rhonda Lenton urged graduands to consider a critical question as they move forward in their lives and careers. “It’s … imperative that we ask ourselves, ‘How do we function in … society?'” Lenton would go on to introduce Bassey as an example of someone who has been guided by that question for decades, praising him as “a dedicated advocate for the environment … whose gift to future generations is contributing to a more sustainable world.”

During his address to graduands, Bassey recounted his journey to becoming an advocate, driven by the mission to leave society with a more sustainable future. Born in Nigeria, he spoke of growing up during the Nigerian-Biafran war, a time he described as “disruptive and traumatic,” leading him to be exposed to human rights abuses, hunger, disease and more. Those experiences, as well as living under the oppression of a series of military authoritarian dictatorships, led Bassey to develop a desire to change the world around him. “As a young adult, I could not escape being a part of the human rights and anti-dictatorship movement,” he said.

Kathleen Taylor, Nnimmo Bassey, Rhonda Lenton
Chancellor Kathleen Taylor (left), Nnimmo Bassey (middle) and President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton (right) during an Oct. 13 Fall Convocation ceremony.

Inspired over time by anti-colonial leaders throughout the Global South, he came to adopt a cause. He felt that protesting dictatorships was not the zenith of standing against injustice, but rather protesting something else he saw at work under the radar.

“The wheels of oppression at home were crude oil and extractivism activities. Capital trumped concerns for the health of Mother Earth and her children … and complaints against the destruction of the ecosystems and livelihoods were met with brute force while communities were crushed,” he said. “The judicial models and assault on communities were the red lines that dictatorships crossed, and that set me on a lifelong journey of standing for environmental rights as the key basis for the enjoyment of the right to life.”

Over the course of his career, Bassey has become one of Africa’s leading advocates and campaigners for the environment and human rights. He founded Nigeria’s first environmental rights organization in the early 1990s, proceeding to inspire activists to stand up against the malpractices of multinational corporations, which eventually led to the formation of Oil Watch International in 1996, a network resisting fossil fuel expansion in the Global South. Later, he founded the Health of Mother Earth Foundation, an environmental justice organization.

He has also received several accolades, including the distinguished Right Livelihood Award, the Rafto Prize and he was named one of Time magazine’s Heroes of the Environment in 2009.

Despite a lifetime of accomplishments, Bassey spoke of the vital work still left at this critical moment for his work and the world. “It is clear we cannot afford linear growth on a finite planet,” he said. “While record temperatures, wildfires, floods and other stressors raged across the world, leaders are engrossed in xenophobic nationalism, building barriers against climate refugees, and promoting fictional, false and risky climate solutions.”

Despite the challenges, he expressed hope: “The milestones in my journey and the successes in the midst of continual battles have come by the resilience of the peoples and communities. We see expanding movements, readiness of communities to certify conveniences today for the sake of building a safe future for those yet unborn. I have seen the power of traditional wisdom and cultural production in building hope and strengthening alliances against oppression.”

Bassey extended that hope to graduands, urging them to action. “This is a time to stand together to demand justice in all circumstances, to call for an end to genocide, to build solidarity, and not walls, and to restore hope in our time.”

New opportunities await York study abroad students

Map plane travel international world

By Elaine Smith

York University has a robust global learning program, and this fall, 31 York students will travel abroad to study at institutions in 15 countries outside Canada.

These exchange students embody York’s priority for advancing global engagement, as stated in University Academic Plan (UAP), and its commitment to expand inclusive global an intercultural learning, as set forth in the University’s new Internationalization and Global Engagement Strategy. “More than ever,” states the UAP, “universities have a responsibility to contribute to positive change through global co-operation and borderless education.”

Photo of Sarah Persaud (centre) shows Japanese exchange student at left and York student at right
Photo of Sarah Persaud (centre) with Japanese exchange student (left) and fellow York student (right)

Sarah Persaud and Anthony Chedid are among exchange students heading abroad this fall, and they are eager for the adventure. Persaud is off to Asia for the entire year to study art at Yamanashi Gakuin University in Japan, where she’ll focus on visual arts in the International College of Liberal Arts (iCLA). Chedid is going to England to spend a semester at the University of Leeds.

“Before I begin teaching, I want to do my final year of courses abroad,” said Persaud, a fifth-year student in the visual arts and concurrent education program. “Over the past couple of years, I took a lot of art history courses and focused on East Asian art, so this is a wonderful opportunity.”

Chedid has been dreaming of going abroad since high school.

“I read the blogs of a number of travel bloggers talking about travelling the globe,” said Chedid, a third-year student in the joint political science/Master’s of Management program, “and they all had the same origin story: they studied abroad and travelled while they were there. I want to travel, and York offers all these incredible opportunities.”

Both students attended the pre-departure training for exchange students run by York International and found it beneficial.

“It actually changed my plans,” said Persaud, who also took a York study-abroad course in South Korea this summer. “I met an exchange student from Japan and her friend who were in Japan all summer, so I stopped in Osaka to see them, and I’ll be able to connect with the Japanese student once I’m at the iCLA.”

Chedid was thrilled by the session.

Anthony Chedid
Anthony Chedid

“I got to meet exchange students from Britain and it was exciting to hear their experiences,” he said. “I was able to connect with a student who was here from Leeds and he gave me a lot of useful information about the city and the culture. It was also really helpful to get travel advice and information about health insurance.”

Both Persaud and Chedid have applied for bursaries and scholarships to help defray the costs of studying abroad. York International has bursaries available to students studying overseas, as does the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, and there are also external awards available – topics that are also discussed in the pre-departure training.

“The York International Safety Abroad office is committed to enhancing the safety of students’ experiences during their time abroad,” said Sara Jane Campbell, manager, safety abroad for York International. “As part of the pre-departure training, we support students in understanding and mitigating risks they may encounter. All students are also required to enrol in York University Safety Abroad Travel Registry to enable us to monitor travel advisories and safety/security concerns and provide help in case of an emergency overseas.”

Although her courses will be taught in English, Persaud took Elementary Modern Standard Japanese (JP 1000) in preparation and plans to continue learning Japanese while she’s at iCLA.

“You never stop learning kanji (written characters); there are always more of them to know,” she said.

In fact, she hopes to have the opportunity to tie language and art together through a course at iCLA called Calligraphy and Kanji Culture.

“I’m going to a whole new country, so I hope I’ll be inspired to try different things,” Persaud said. “I am excited about the new opportunities.

Chedid plans to  take courses in British politics. “Our system is based on theirs and it’s important to understand where our legal system originated,” he said. “It will also be interesting to see the effects of Brexit. This will be a great way to experience international politics, something for which I have a big passion.

“It will also be cool to explore a city that isn’t as widely known.”

Both students will experience the benefits of borderless intercultural education first-hand, and will be able to share their greater understanding of the global landscape with their York classmates upon return.

Welcome to YFile’s 2023 New Faces feature issue

apple on teachers desk

In this special issue, YFile introduces new faculty members joining the York University community and highlights those with new appointments.

This fall, York welcomes new faculty members in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design; the Faculty of Education; the Faculty of Health; the Lassonde School of Engineering; the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies; the Faculty of Science; the Schulich School of Business; and Glendon College.

Liberal Arts & Professional Studies welcomes 34 new faculty members

Faculty of Health professors bring new perspectives on well-being

New Faculty of Science members to further York’s scientific innovation, impact

AMPD professors to shape the future of art

Schulich welcomes four new faculty members

New Lassonde faculty to advance cybersecurity, artificial intelligence

Faculty of Education’s new faces to shape future of teaching, learning

Glendon welcomes faculty member focused on translation studies

Faculty of Education’s new faces to shape future of teaching, learning

student at chalkboard

This story is published in YFile’s New Faces feature issue 2023. Every September, YFile introduces and welcomes those joining the York University community, and those with new appointments.

The York University Faculty of Education welcomes two new faculty members this fall. 

“We are thrilled to welcome three new colleagues: Mary Ott, Stephanie Fearon and John Hupfield,” says Faculty of Education Dean Robert Savage. “Each are respected scholars and teachers in their particular fields of study. They bring a talented range of expertise to the Faculty of Education and we very much look forward to their new ideas, perspectives and contributions, as well as the actions they will take towards our ongoing mission of reinventing education for a diverse, complex world.”

Mary Ott
Mary Ott

Mary Ott
Mary Ott is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Education. An award-winning scholar of curriculum studies, Ott’s background as an elementary teacher and special education specialist brings a passion for helping learners and educators to thrive to her research. Drawing on sociomaterial and complexity orientations, she explores how curriculum design and pedagogy might expand possibilities for learner and teacher agency and well-being, and the roles that space, time and materials play in these processes.

Her current work investigates how teachers are adapting and innovating their pedagogies for early-reading instruction. Ott’s graduate work garnered a Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Bombardier Canada Doctoral Scholarship for critical work at the intersection of curriculum making and 21st-century literacies, while research on the effects of a curriculum innovation in medical education earned a best paper award at the International Conference for Residency Education and was featured on the PAPERs (Professionals & Academics Parsing Educational Research) podcast.

Ott’s expertise in qualitative methods and interdisciplinary research makes her a sought-after collaborator, from a project with bioethicists to improve informed consent for organ donation through multimodal communication strategies, to an SSHRC-funded study to develop equitable reading pedagogies. Ott completed her PhD in curriculum studies at Western University with a focus on multi-literacies, and postdoctoral work in health sciences education in the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University. She also holds an appointment as a centre researcher in the Centre for Education Research & Innovation at Western.

Stephanie Fearon
Stephanie Fearon

Stephanie Fearon
Stephanie Fearon joins York University’s Faculty of Education as the inaugural assistant professor of Black thriving and education. Her research draws on Black storytelling traditions to explore the ways that Black mothers and educational institutions partner to support Black student well-being. Fearon uses literary and visual arts to communicate – in a structured, creative and accessible form – insights gleaned from stories shared by Black mothers and their families. Her publications have appeared in several scholarly journals, including Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education, Canadian Review of Sociology/Revue canadienne de sociologie, and Journal of African American Women and Girls in Education.

Fearon has worked in public education systems for nearly 15 years, assuming teaching and leadership positions in France, Guadeloupe and Canada. Most recently, she was the program co-ordinator for the Equity, Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression Team and the Model Schools for Inner Cities Department at the Toronto District School Board. In this role, she provided leadership to administrators and system leaders in implementing policies and practices that promote student academic achievement, well-being and belonging in schools.

John (Waaseyaabin) Hupfield
John (Waaseyaabin) Hupfield

John (Waaseyaabin) Hupfield
John (Waaseyaabin) Hupfield is Anishinaabe from Wasauksing First Nation. He has been grassdancing for over 15 years and travels the powwow trail extensively during summers with his family.

His research looks to centring lived-learned experiences and collective knowledge-generating practices through the Miikaans mobile research lab. The Miikaans lab is currently working to articulate the critical importance of Indigenous movement as method, processes of ethical relationality and kin-making, and Anishinaabeg places of teaching and learning in mapping life’s trails.

Government invests more than $15.5 million in York-led research projects

light bulb in front of colorful background

More than 30 projects led by York University researchers in the social sciences and humanities were awarded a combined total of $15,541,343 in federal funding from Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Grants, Partnership Development Grants and Insight Grants.

The funding, announced on Aug. 29 by the Randy Boissonnault, minister of employment, workforce development and official languages, on behalf of the François-Philippe Champagne, minister of innovation, science and industry, goes towards 33 projects, ranging from research on migrant labour and gender inequality in retirement to heritage design in Canada.

“This week’s funding announcement highlights the council’s faith in the high calibre of our researchers’ work, ranging from Indigenous circumpolar cultural sovereignty, ecological footprint, to renewable greener transition and policy gaps in international mobility, in collaboration with other local and international subject experts,” says Amir Asif, vice-president research and innovation at York. “I thank SHHRC for their support and I commend York’s research community for their ongoing commitment to creating positive change, both locally and globally.”

The new round of grants will support 605 social sciences and humanities research projects across Canada. Learn more about the York-led projects below.

Partnership Grants

SSHRC Partnership Grants support teams of researchers from post-secondary institutions working in new and existing formal partnerships with public, private or not-for-profit organizations. Through collaboration, sharing of intellectual leadership and resources by cash or in-kind contributions, the grants support work for four to seven years to advance research, training and knowledge mobilization in the social sciences and humanities.

Four York-led projects received a combined total of almost $10 million ($9,978,586) in funding.

Peter Victor, Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change
The International Ecological Footprint Learning Lab: Training, research and novel applications

Richard Saunders, Department of Politics, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
African Extractivism and the Green Transition

Leah Vosko, Department of Politics, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Liberating Migrant Labour?: International Mobility Programs in Settler-Colonial Contexts

Anna Hudson, Department of Visual Art & Art History, School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design
Curating Indigenous Circumpolar Cultural Sovereignty: advancing Inuit and Sami homelands, food, art, archives and worldviews

To learn more about the York-led projects, click here.

To view all Partnership Grant recipients, click here.

Partnership Development Grants

Partnership Development Grants support teams of researchers from post-secondary institutions working in a formal partnership with public, private or not-for-profit organizations for one to three years. The grants support research development, existing and new partnerships, knowledge mobilization, and related activities in the social sciences and humanities.

Eight York-led projects received a combined total of more than $1.5 million ($1,514,498) in funding.

Anna Agathangelou, Department of Politics, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Building an International Partnership to Research and Address Reparative Justice in Post-Conflict Situations: Canada, Africa and Europe

Thi Viet Nga Dao, Department of Social Science, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Slow violence and water (in)justice: Feminist political ecologies of intergenerational struggles in the Mekong region

Anne MacLennan, Department of Communication & Media Studies, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Interrogating Canadian Identities/ L’identités canadiennes – une interrogation (ICI)

Jan Hadlaw, Department of Design, School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design
The xDX Project: Documenting, Linking, and Interpreting Canada’s Design Heritage

Christopher Kyriakides, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Refuge, Racisms, and Resistances: A Co-Created Analysis of the Experiences of Syrian and Ethiopian Refugees in Canada

To learn more about this project, click here.

Abigail Shabtay, Department of Humanities, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Strengthening Participatory Drama-Based Research in Institutional, Community, and Educational Contexts

Susan Winton, Faculty of Education
The Public Education Exchange

Debra Pepler, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health
Walking the Prevention Pathway for Indigenous Communities’ Journey of Change

To view all Partnership Development Grant recipients, click here.

Insight Grants

Insight Grants are awarded to emerging and established scholars in the social sciences and humanities to work on research projects of two to five years.

21 York-led projects received a combined total of more than $4 million ($4,048,259) in funding.

Tasso Adamopoulos, Department of Economics, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Inequality and Productivity in Developing Countries

Kee-hong Bae, Department of Finance, Schulich School of Business
Incentive-focused corporate culture

Anh Nguyen, School of Administrative Studies, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Labour force aging and business vibrancy: Evidence and solutions for businesses and workers in Canada and around the world

Thanujeni (Jeni) Pathman, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health
How accurate is memory for time across childhood and adolescence? Theoretical and practical implications for forensic settings

Alexandra Rutherford, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health
Intersecting difference: Gender, race and sexuality in 20th century U.S. psychology

Robert Savage, Faculty of Education
Tackling two of the most important unresolved tasks in reading intervention

Marlis Schweitzer, Department of Theatre, School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design
Decoding the Lecture on Heads: Performing Objects and Satire on the 18th-Century Stage

Simon Adam, School of Nursing, Faculty of Health
Entangled identities: Exploring neurodiversity through social media expression

Kean Birch, Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change
Digital Data Value Paradox: An Empirical Investigation of Personal Data Valuation

Antony Chum, School of Kinesiology & Health Science, Faculty of Health
Social and policy determinants of self harm across gender identities in Canada

Julia M. Creet, Department of English, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Digital Afterlives

Robert Cribbie, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health
Extensions of Negligible Effect Statistical Testing

Ganaele Langlois, Department of Communication & Media Studies, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
The Art of Necessity: Making Sustainable and Just Worlds through Local Textiles

Brenda Longfellow, Department of Cinema & Media Arts, School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design
Abolition Feminism: Collaborating Across Communities

Kinnon MacKinnon, School of Social Work, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Detransition: Examining pathways and care needs

Jonathan Nitzan, Department of Politics, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
The capital-as-power fractal: toward a general theory of the capitalist mode of power

Yuval Deutsch, Schulich School of Business
Social capital, corporate social responsibility and corporate irresponsibility

Caitlin Fisher, Department of Cinema & Media Studies, School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design
Mobilizing the arts for global health: a virtual museum of antimicrobial resistance

Kamila Kolpashnikova, Department of Design, School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design
Gender Inequality in Retirement: Understanding Social Organization in Domestic Tasks

Palma Paciocco, Osgoode Hall Law School
The Gatekeeper and The Timekeeper: Regulating Expert Evidence and Trial Delay in Criminal Courts

Yan Shvartzshnaider, Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, Lassonde School of Engineering
Virtual Classrooms Privacy

To view all Insight Grant recipients, click here.

York University announces 15 new York Research Chairs

lightbulb idea innovation

Fifteen York University researchers have been named new York Research Chairs (YRC), an internal program that mirrors the national Canada Research Chairs (CRC) program which recognizes world-leading researchers in a variety of fields.

“The York Research Chair program is an important complement to the Canada Research Chair program to advance our efforts to strengthen research and related creative activities across the University and enhance the well-being of the communities we serve,” says President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton. “My warm congratulations to the newest recipients on this achievement.”

This year’s YRCs are the 10th cohort to be appointed as of July 1 since the program was first launched by the Office of the Vice President Research and Innovation in 2015.

“These new chair appointments are the latest example of research intensification at York University, a major priority of our new Strategic Research Plan,” said Amir Asif, vice-president research and innovation. “York Research Chairs receive institutional support that is on par with what their counterparts are provided by the national program. This internal program advances research excellence at York and enhances the research capabilities of our faculty to create positive change.”  

The new YRCs will conduct research in a variety of fields that range from human and computer vision to children’s musical cultures to the impacts of climate change on lakes.

The YRC program consists of two tiers. Tier 1 is open to established research leaders at the rank of full professor. Tier 2 is aimed at emerging research leaders within 15 years of their first academic appointment. The Chairs have five-year terms.

Tier 1 York Research Chairs
Rob Allison
Rob Allison

Robert Allison, Lassonde School of Engineering
York Research Chair in Stereoscopic Vision and Depth Perception
Allison’s work as a YRC will study human aspects of virtual and augmented reality. His research program asks: how do we share a common space that is partially or completely virtual? The research results will allow designers to determine whether collaborative experiences and applications are likely to be coherent, consistent and ultimately successful for users. This YRC is administered by York University’s VISTA (Vision: Science to Applications) program, first funded by the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (2016-23).

James Elder
James Elder

James Elder, Faculty of Health and Lassonde School of Engineering
York Research Chair in Human and Computer Vision
Elder’s YRC research program is deeply interdisciplinary, integrating studies of biological perception using behavioural and neuroscience methods, computational modelling of brain processes, statistical modelling of the visual environment, and computer vision algorithm and system design. While advancing fundamental knowledge in perception science and AI, this research has application to safer and more accessible urban mobility, social robotics and sports analytics. This YRC is administered by York University’s VISTA (Vision: Science to Applications) program.

Jimmy Huang
Jimmy Huang

Jimmy Huang, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
York Research Chair in Big Data Analytics
Huang’s research as a YRC will aim to overcome the limitations of the existing information retrieval (IR) methods for web search and develop a new retrieval paradigm called task-aware and context-sensitive information search for big data. This approach, similar to ChatGPT or GoogleBard, will leverage IR techniques to offer an interactive and dynamic search experience. The program’s research results are expected to provide a deeper understanding of user information needs and generate novel techniques and tools.

Lauren Sergio
Lauren Sergio

Lauren Sergio, Faculty of Health
York Research Chair in Brain Health and Gender in Action
Sergio’s research as YRC investigates the impact of gender on brain health, for which there is little study. The research program will aim to characterize the gender-related differences in an individual’s behavioural response to impaired brain health and design appropriately tailored interventions to optimize their return to work, duty or sport. The research results will provide medically relevant and fundamental knowledge necessary to develop targeted brain health assessments and interventions that account for gender. This YRC is administered by York University’s VISTA (Vision: Science to Applications) program, first funded by the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (2016-23).

Marie Christine Pioffet
Marie-Christine Pioffet

Marie-Christine Pioffet, Glendon College
York Research Chair in Franco-Indigenous Relations in the Americas
This YRC is dedicated to the study of texts from the French colonization in America with research focused on Indigenous history and cultural renaissance, European scriptural practices and Indigenous oral traditions, Franco Indigenous intercultural dialogues, and the Great Lakes region, missionary laboratory, and intercultural junction. Pioffet’s research as Chair will rethink Francophone and Indigenous identities and the cultural blending that inspired the writings of the period, while promoting a resurgence of First Nations culture and languages.

Poonam Puri
Poonam Puri

Poonam Puri, Osgoode Hall Law School
York Research Chair in Corporate Governance, Investor Protection and Financial Markets
Puri’s YRC explores the role of the corporation in society and the impact of legal rules, as well as market mechanisms and incentives on corporate behaviour in several key areas of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG). These include racial justice, reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and climate change, as well as the role of the corporation and financial markets in times of disruptive technological change. Puri’s cutting-edge, empirical, and interdisciplinary research program charts a new course for the modern corporation, casting it not solely as a profit-maximizer for its shareholders, but as a responsible corporate citizen that genuinely considers the interests of a wider range of stakeholders and is accountable to society.

Tier 2 York Research Chairs
Jacob Beck close-up portrait
Jacob Beck

Jacob Beck, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
York Research Chair in Philosophy of Visual Perception
Beck’s work as YRC seeks to combine philosophy and vision science, suggesting new avenues for research in both disciplines. His research explores how longstanding philosophical puzzles about perception can be resolved or recast with the help of vision science. Beck also examines how scientific discussions can be illuminated by philosophy – for example, how numerical perception can be informed by philosophical theories about what numbers are. This YRC is administered by York University’s VISTA (Vision: Science to Applications) program, first funded by the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (2016-23).

Gene Cheung
Gene Cheung

Gene Cheung, Lassonde School of Engineering
York Research Chair in Graph Signal Processing
Cheung’s research as a YRC focuses on signal processing and machine learning. Cheung looks at the frequency analysis and processing of big data residing on irregular kernels described by graphs, in an emerging and fast-growing field called graph signal processing (GSP). His research program involves collaboration with both academic and industry partners to apply GSP theory to a wide range of applications including image/3D point cloud compression, denoising, super-resolution, video summarization, movie recommendation, and crop yield prediction. This YRC is administered by York University’s VISTA (Vision: Science to Applications) program, first funded by the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (2016-23).

andrea emberly
Andrea Emberly

Andrea Emberly, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
York Research Chair in Children’s Musical Cultures
As a YRC, Emberly will take a community-led approach to the study of children’s musical cultures that explores issues around sustaining endangered musical traditions by emphasizing the connection between music and wellbeing. The research program will focus on child-led and intergenerational collaborations that amplify the voices of equity-seeking children and young people who tell their own stories, in their own voices. The work will explore how children and young people are active social agents who locate and activate unique and meaningful pathways to sustain, change and transform musical traditions.

Sapna Sharma
Sapna Sharma

Sapna Sharma, Faculty of Science
York Research Chair in Global Change Biology
Sharma’s research as YRC will seek to gain a deeper understanding of the ecological impacts of climate change on freshwater availability and quality. Sharma’s research will capitalize on long-term climatic and ecological time series collected from thousands of lakes and apply cutting-edge statistical and machine learning analyses to forecast the impacts of global environmental change on freshwater security and help to explain macroecological patterns, drivers and impacts of worldwide lake responses to climate change. The research program will collaborate with researchers across disciplines to develop technological, natural, health and social solutions to water security.

Sue Winton 2022
Sue Winton

Sue Winton, Faculty of Education
York Research Chair in Policy Analysis for Democracy
Winton’s YRC research program will collaborate with multiple public sector organizations to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on education privatization in Canada. Winton’s research will compare policy development, enactment, and effects during and after the pandemic across multiple scales. The research results will create knowledge about local, regional, national and international influences on education privatization and how this process impacts socially disadvantaged groups, teachers’ work and democracy. At York, Winton will establish and lead a cross-disciplinary Community of Practice for new and established researchers with an interest in critical policy research.

Hina Tabassum
Hina Tabassum

Hina Tabassum, Lassonde School of Engineering
York Research Chair in 5G/6G-enabled Wireless Mobility and Sensing Applications
Leveraging tools from statistics, optimization, game theory and machine learning, this YRC focuses on developing novel network deployment planning, radio access design and dimensioning, radio resource allocation and mobility management solutions to address challenges of higher frequencies like millimeter-wave in 5G and THz in 6G. Tabassum’s research will explore the feasibility of novel multi-band network architectures where THz and optical transmissions can complement the RF transmissions optimally. The research results could form a core for Canadian research on multi-band networks with the potential to connect the unconnected in a seamless, safe and resource efficient manner.

Taien Ng-Chan
Taien Ng-Chan

Taien Ng-Chan, School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design
York Research Chair in Marginal & Emergent Media
Ng-Chan’s research explores questions of how emergent media (new technologies such as VR/AR) can aid in the development of original digital and immersive storytelling techniques, foster solidarity and community amongst marginalized groups, particularly from the Asian diaspora, and lead to better representation and inclusion of these groups in culture and society. The YRC program will allow for future long-term collaborations and creative activities that will contribute to more diversity and inclusion in the emergent media industries, a greater sense of community for marginalized groups and better cultural representation in storytelling.

Denielle Elliott

Denielle Elliott, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
York Research Chair in Injured Minds
Elliott’s work as YRC will explore how ethnographic experiments and transdisciplinary collaborations between arts, neuroscience and medical anthropology can contribute to a fuller understanding of conceptions of self, brain trauma and mental health. Her research program involves a multidisciplinary team that will explore the embodied experiences of people living with brain trauma and brain trauma knowledge-making practices in the clinic and laboratory, as well as their convergences. The research results will increase understandings of the effects of brain trauma, facilitate transdisciplinary collaborations between the arts, science and humanities and highlight how uniquely valuable ethnographic methods are to understanding urgent health priorities.

Cary Wu, professor of sociology at York University
Cary Wu

Cary Wu, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
York Research Chair in Political Sociology of Health
Wu’s YRC program will work to establish a transdisciplinary political sociology of health approach to investigate health inequalities and provide greater understanding of what forces maintain, increase and reduce health inequalities. The research includes theoretical and empirical illustrations that will focus on trust – the belief in the reliability of others and institutions. The program will seek to energize the field of political sociology by introducing a much-needed new research direction that focuses on trust and will advance a unifying theory of trust to explain health inequalities.