2018 Kule Research Cluster Grants Announced

Cross-disciplinary collaboration at the heart of newly funded projects

Donna McKinnon - 9 March 2018

At the conclusion of the Celebration of Research event on Thursday, Geoffrey Rockwell, Director of the Kule Institute for Advanced Study (KIAS) announced the recipients of the Kule Research Cluster Grants.

The Kule Cluster Grants support the activities of interdisciplinary research teams in the social sciences, humanities and fine arts, and according to Rockwell, are the most important and strategic grants offered by KIAS. Three projects were awarded the grants, including two from the Faculty of Arts.

  • Philomina Okeke-Ihejirika (Women's and Gender Studies): African Immigrant and Refugee Families' Resilience in Transnational Contexts: A Pan African Collaboration for Excellence (PACE) Research Agenda
  • Chloe Taylor (Women's and Gender Studies): Prisons, Teaching and Social Justice.
  • Debra Davidson (Faculty of ALES, Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology): Advancing Environmental Impact Assessment for Canada's Socio-Ecological Systems

The researchers, along with David Turpin, President; Michael O'Driscoll, Vice-Dean, Faculty of Arts; Steve Patten, Associate Dean (Research), Faculty of Arts; and Walter Dixon, Interim Vice-President (Research), were on hand for the announcement.

"The cluster grants are a model that works," says Turpin. "They are instrumental in identifying the role that social sciences, humanities and fine arts research have in the University of Alberta's cross-intuitional excellence in areas such as future energy systems and the intersectionality of gender. I would like to commend the Kule Institute and the Faculty of Arts for the role they play in nurturing and supporting emerging interdisciplinary excellence."

Philomina Okeke-Ihejirika's team of Canadian and international scholars will explore African newcomer integration in Canada, particularly in Alberta. "Canada increasingly relies on immigrants for population growth, labor supply, and cultural diversity, but very little is known about how these newcomers fare in their new homelands," says Okeke-Ihejirika. "Our collaboration engages African immigrants in their diversity as a resilient people, change agents and knowers whose active participation in social inquiry is crucial to developing culturally effective policies and practices that will enhance their successful integration as fully functioning Canadians."

With a team of scholars drawn from the Faculties of Arts, Native Studies and Education who work in the area of critical prison studies and/or teach in correctional institutions, Chloe Taylor's project will look at how education can be used as a means of addressing social injustices in those communities. "Particularly with respect to criminalized populations and Indigenous people who are hyper-incarcerated across Canada, and especially in the Prairie Provinces," says Taylor.

Debra Davidson's project, co-led by Davidson and Ian Stewart at University of King's College, considers the impact of resource industries on the shared sustainability of our complex social and interactive natural systems. "Assessing and addressing industrial impacts are urgent and increasingly complex challenges for Canada, to which social sciences and humanities scholars can offer critical contributions," says Davidson.

Since its founding in 2010, the Kule Institute has funded over 225 projects totaling 2.1 million dollars, led by over 160 different principle investigators across 14 faculties, 28 departments and nine Centres and Institutes.

For more information about the Kule Research Cluster Grant recipients, visit the KIAS research project page.

Presenters at the Celebration of Research event. Photo: Terje Snow

Read more about the 2018 Celebration of Research: Research. Creativity. Impact. event here.