Alberta Humanities Research Grant

2021-22

Business Retreats at the Crossroads of Performance and Religion

This project considers the religious and theatrical features of “retreat” and “retreating” in business, with the goal of bridging management studies and the humanities and of assessing how ritual and the performing arts can benefit workers and organizations.  In organizational contexts, performance metrics imply constant evaluation in accordance with norms and standards. Although ultimately aimed at renewed efficacy, business retreats offer a respite from the norms that govern business operations, and promise  ritual goods like personal and organizational transformation (without always delivering). Borrowed from religious traditions and often designed with the help of experts trained in theater, business retreats provide an opportunity to examine how even the most outcome-driven organizations rely on softer skills, such as imagination and role-play, and draw on religious structures, such as the rite of passage, to motivate workers, create community, and foster innovation.

Transitional Impressions: Visualizing Environmental Change

A second grant was made in 2021-22 to support a creative research project that explores the role visual art/printmaking can play in helping society understand the complex issues raised by environmental degradation and climate change, as well as to act as a tool to engage broader communities outside of the academy about these pressing issues. Plans for this project include an exhibition at the University of Calgary’s Little Gallery and Gallery 621, as well as a small catalogue/publication with an accompanying essay(s). The broader, long-term goal of the project is to initiate a network of creative researcher within the prairie provinces working at the intersection of printmaking, design, and eco-critical writing to explore environmental issues. 


2020-21

Determining older women’s experiences of companion animal death, and impacts on wellbeing and aging-in-place

The KIAS-CIH Alberta Humanities Research Grant for 2020-21 was awarded to Dr. Cary Brown (Professor, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta), Dr. Donna Wilson (Professor, Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta), Dr. Eloise Carr (Professor, Faculty of Nursing, University of Calgary), and Dr. Jean Wallace (Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Calgary). Companion animal (CA) death is very difficult for older people; it can significantly affect successful aging-in-place, particularly for women as they more often live alone, live longer, and have less financial resources. CA benefits include physical activity, improved sleep, reduced pain, more social engagement, decreased loneliness and emotional support. With CA death, bereavement grief can be devastating. Grief over spousal, parental or child death has well known gendered aspects, and successful interventions/supports reflect this. There is limited research on gendered aspects of CA-related grief, thus limiting development of effective grief strategies. Our concern is that CA grief often reduces older women’s ability to successfully age-in-place. Through phone interviews, we will explore older women’s experiences of CA death and grief-recovery strategies. vGiven the paucity of existing knowledge about women’s CA grief and recovery, it is important to gain insight from women themselves by giving voice to their experiences, and in turn developing a strong conceptual foundation, particularly in relation to maintaining successful aging in place.


2019-20

Tools and Resources for Indigenous Family Survivors of Violence

The recipients of the 2019-20 KIAS-CIH Alberta Humanities Research Grant, Dr. Gina Starblanket (Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Calgary) and Dr. Tasha Hubbard (writer, filmmaker, and an Associate Professor in Native Studies at the University of Alberta) are the principal investigators of a research team developing Tools and Resources for Indigenous Family Survivors of Violence.

The research team produced eight booklets that focus on the themes and information identified as useful by the family of Colten Boushie, an Indigenous youth who was killed in 2016 in Saskatchewan. Booklet themes include foundational knowledge, how to work with the media, understanding the criminal legal process, and lists of relevant community organizations and legal resources available for families. Colten Boushie’s family not only suggested the themes based on their experiences, but are also involved in revising the booklets.

Tools and Resources for Indigenous Family Survivors of Violence is in the final stages of editing for accessibility and online design and will be released on September 16, 2020, as part of the online release for nipawistamasowin: We Will Stand Up. The film outreach team has a partnership with the National Association of Friendship Centres, and they have adapted the guides for other provinces and territories, and will distribute the printed guides, once completed.

The Regulation of Sexual Violence in Canadian Contexts: New Philosophical Questions

A second award was made to support the costs of a symposium on the philosophical questions raised by attempts to regulate sexual violence — most obviously in Canadian criminal law, but also in institutional policies (such as campus sexual violence initiatives), and in parallel legal systems (such as Indigenous law).


2018-19

Prairie Indigenous Philosophy Project

The Prairie Indigenous Philosophy Project addresses an acute problem within Indigenous thought: despite sustained intellectual production over many decades, the philosophical writings of many of the most esteemed prairie Indigenous thinkers are not easily accessible, thereby hiding the breadth of their intellectual output. The lack of an accessible archive hinders efforts to advance understandings of Indigenous thought rounded in the diverse intellectual traditions of Indigenous peoples. Led by Dr. Daniel Voth, Assistant Professor of Political Science, and Instructor in the International Indigenous Studies Program (UCalgary) and Matthew Wildcat, Instructor Political Science and Native Studies (UAlberta), the project will begin collecting, compiling, and commenting on the works of two esteemed prairie Indigenous thinkers: Métis Elder and writer Maria Campbell, and Blackfoot scholar Leroy Littlebear. Our research objective is to work with Campbell and Littlebear to publish their writings in a single source along with additional commentary and analysis from Indigenous intellectuals.