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Bold and bright

Next generation of social scientists and humanities researchers secure federal funding

By Jeff Green

Deirdre Elliott is elated to receive a major scholarship that will help her shed light on a little-known chapter of Labrador’s history.

The PhD student in the Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, is one of Memorial’s newest recipients of funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

The federal agency is investing a total of $1,314,178 into studies led by early career and emerging researchers at Memorial. On Jan. 30, Kirsty Duncan, minister of Science and Sport, announced more than $141 million to support nearly 3,000 of Canada’s most talented scholars, including Ms. Elliott.

‘Story worth telling’

“Relief! And an overwhelming sense of validation,” Ms. Elliott said when asked about her reaction to the good news.

Deirdre Elliott in Saglek Fiord, Labrador, 2016.
Deirdre Elliott in Saglek Fiord, Labrador, 2016
Photo: Deirdre Elliott

“I have worked so long and hard on this project that I am so wholeheartedly passionate about and here was this piece of paper telling me that other people – strangers to me – liked it too.”

Ms. Elliott, a Memorial alumna of the archaeology master of arts program, is one of three PhD researchers at Memorial receiving the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship, valued at $105,000 each. Her research focuses on the “untangling” of the history of Labrador Inuit whaling and the use of whale products through archaeology, aided by historic records.

She also wants to understand the roles whales played in Labrador Inuit society and participation in the global economy.

“Maybe because bowheads are now so rare off the Labrador coast, this history seems really difficult to piece together and not enough attention has been paid to trying to tell this story,” she. “I am hoping to find a way to change that because I think it’s a story worth telling, and one that — I hope — a lot of people would be eager to hear.”

She says her funding will allow her to concentrate on her studies “without the constant mental burden of accumulating student debt.”

Multidisciplinary funding

Here at Memorial, the new SSHRC funding includes Insight Development Grant competition awards; the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships for master’s students; the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships Program, Doctoral Scholarships; the SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships Program awards; and the SSHRC Post-doctoral Fellowship Program awards.

The awards will support researchers based in the faculties of Humanities and Social Sciences; Business Administration; Education; Science; and Medicine, as well as the School of Music.

Opening doors

Dr. Nicholas Lynch, assistant professor, Department of Geography, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, is receiving $45,390 to examine the circular economy (CE) in Canadian cities.

Dr. Nicholas Lynch
Dr. Nicholas Lynch
Photo: Submitted

“In a nut shell, the CE is a rapidly growing sustainability agenda that’s all about “closing-loops,”” he said.

“Specifically, it promotes circular feedback and resource-efficient industrial processes that facilitate the reuse, repair, refurbishment and recycling of materials and products, as well as “designing in” greater product longevity and repairability of the products we own and use.”

Dr. Lynch says SSHRC’s support is “fundamental” to his project, allowing him to expand the scope of his research and examine multiple cities and sites in Canada.

“Not only will this research offer insight into the case of Vancouver and Toronto, but it will also highlight the context of the CE in smaller- and medium-sized cities like St. John’s, important places that are often left out of the sustainability conversation,” he noted.

“Without this funding, a comprehensive understanding of a Canadian CE would simply not be possible.”

Dr. Lynch says receiving the SSHRC grant represents a “pivotal opportunity, now and into the future, to bring much needed attention to the ways in which innovative sustainability policies and practices, in Canada and abroad, are shaping our lives and our work.”

Understanding our world

Dr. Neil Bose, vice-president (research), says SSHRC’S latest announcement reflects the wealth of creative scholarship at Memorial.

“This new funding will propel important studies ranging from environmental policy to entrepreneurship among new immigrants in St. John’s,” said Dr. Bose.

“Through the ongoing support of the Government of Canada, early career and emerging researchers are better able to understand the world around us. I thank SSHRC for its ongoing support of Memorial-led research and congratulate those who have secured funding.”

Critical funding

Dr. Aimée Surprenant, associate vice-president (academic) and dean, School of Graduate Studies, says the next generation of researchers will benefit from SSHRC’s investment in a big way.

“We are exceedingly proud of our graduate student and post-doctoral researchers who have earned these prestigious awards,” she told the Gazette.

“Their hard work and dedication are an inspiration to us all. The continuing support from SSHRC is vital in helping our students continue their outstanding research and scholarship and we are grateful for their unwavering support and the partnerships SSRHC helps foster and support.”

A list of the SSHRC award recipients can be found below.

Insight Development Grants

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

  • Dr. Kodjo Attikpoé, Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures. Project: La littérature de jeunesse francophone d’Afrique subsaharienne : enjeux culturels et esthétiques, $33,836.
  • Dr. Caitlin Charman, Department of English. Project: Re-Imagining the Ocean: Atlantic-Canadian Sea Stories and Environmental Policy, $24,012.
  • Dr. Justin Fantauzzo, Department of History. Project: Long After the War: Malaria, Ex-Servicemen, and State Support in Post-war Britain, $50,000.
  • Dr. John Geck, Department of English. Project: Spatial Literacy, National Identity, and Luxury Taste in Middle English Manuscripts: A Place-Name Analysis, $41,886.
  • Dr. Pam Hall, Department of Geography. Project: The Middle River: Making and Moving Knowledge in Miawpukek/Conne River, Newfoundland, $69,834.
  • Dr. Nicholas Lynch, Department of Geography. Project: Circular Is Smart?: Building the Circular Economy in Canadian Cities, $45,390.

Total: $264,958

Faculty of Business Administration

  • Dr. John Fiset, Project: The Tower of Babel: The effect of linguistic ostracism on employee withdrawal and occupational health and safety, $45,989.

Faculty of Education

  • Dr. Leah Lewis, Project: The Hearthstone Studio: Public Art Hive as Space for Learning, Creativity, Exchange, and Wellness, $69,731.

SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships Program: November 2017 Competition Awards

  • Julia L. Brenan, Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Project: Exposing toxic legacies: The history of WWII industrial contamination on Indigenous lands and the implications for people and the archaeological record, $80,000.
  • Vashti L.S. Campbell, Faculty of Medicine. Project: White-washing normative representations of race and culture in the (sub)texts of psychiatry, $60,000.
  • Monique McGrath, Ethnomusicology Program, School of Music. Project: Decolonizing music therapy: co-creating Indigenous perspectives with autistic children in Uganda, $40,000.
  • Katherine A. Morton, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Project: Unsettled ground: An institutional ethnography of the Alberni Indian residential school. $20,000.
  • Daniel W. Neill, Ethnomusicology Program, School of Music. Project: Meaning in making: masculinity, class, and labour intersectionality in pedal steel guitar cultures, $40,000.

Total: $240,000

SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships Program: 2018 Competition Awards

  • Laura E. Kelvin, Memorial University of Newfoundland. Project: Avertok Archaeology Archive Project, $81,000.

Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s December 2017 Competition

  • Louise Bell, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Science. Project: Recent Adverse Events Experienced and Mother’s Psychological Distress, $17,500.
  • Brittany A.P. Bennett, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Project: Sexual Offenders: Stigmatization, Public Anxieties and Legal Reform, $17,500.
  • Megan De Vries, Department of Political Science, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Project: Impact and effectiveness: a study of the Canadian Parliamentary Budget Office, $17,500.
  • Beth A. Downey, Department of English, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Project: Religious Intertextuality in Michael Crummey’s Galore, $17,500.
  • Justin M.W. Drover, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Science. Project: Nudging Eyewitnesses: Enhancing Memory Through Social Influence, $17,500.
  • Heather L. Elliott, Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Project: Women at sea: studying gender in the Marine Sector, $17,500.
  • Gale M. Franklin, Ethnomusicology Program, School of Music. Project: Music Making and Consumption in the Ottawa Syrian Diaspora: Music as a site for healing, fostering a sense of belonging, and forming Syrian-Canadian identities, $17,500.
  • Megan E. Garlie, Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Project: Degenerative Joint Diseases at the Fortress of Louisbourg, $17,500.
  • Nelson Graham, Department of Geography, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Project: The experiences of immigrant entrepreneurs in St. John’s, NL: Opportunities and challenges, $17,500
  • Natalie E. Keith, Department of English, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Project: Research into Intertextuality and its Applications in Fantasy and Fairy Tales, $17,500.
  • Miranda N. Monosky, Department of Geography, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Project: Arctic Landscapes of Risk: Exploring the Baker Lake Landfill, $17,500.
  • Samantha E. Morton, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Project: Aid Workers and the Clash of Local and International Gender Equality Norms in Lao PDR, $17,500.
  • Michelle E. Porter, Department of English, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Project: Home and Métis Land: Writing Memory, Future, and Reconciliation, $17,500.
  • Vanessa N. Potvin, Department of Geography, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Project: Improving Closure and Reclamation Strategies through Community-Based Participatory Research at the Raglan Mine, Nunavik, $17,500.
  • Alexander A. Shuttleworth Cucinelli, Department of Linguistics, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Project: The phonological development of Friulian: a case study, $17,500.
  • Alexa D. Spiwak, Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Project: A Slater or Two: Exploring the 17th-Century Slate Industry at Ferryland, $17,500.
  • Emily Winters, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Science. Project: Public Perceptions of Substance Use and Indigenous Canadians, $17,500.

Total: $297,500

Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships Program—Doctoral Scholarships: November 2017 Competition Awards

  • Jacob A. Danson Faraday, Ethnomusicology Program, School of Music. Project: The performance and politics of touring sound technicians at Cirque du Soleil, $105,000.
  • Deirdre A. Elliott, Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Project: The hunt for whales: Labrador Inuit whaling in the archaeological record. $105,000.
  • Nadine R. Yildiz, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Science. Project: Developmental dyscalculia, math anxiety and low math performance, $105,000.

Total: $315,000


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