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PURE Award winners 2014: Daniel Fishley

Student researcher studies Calgary's LGBTQ community spaces 

Committed to a goal of research excellence with its bold Eyes High strategy, one of the University of Calgary’s most important initiatives is the Program for Undergraduate Research Experience, better known as PURE. 

Each year undergraduates can apply for the prestigious PURE Awards, which provide financial research support to some of the university’s most promising students over the Spring and Summer months. 

The program is designed to give undergraduate students the opportunity to learn how to develop research projects, undertake independent research and contribute to knowledge in their respective fields. 

In this Q&A series we will meet the PURE Award winners from the Faculty of Arts. Good luck to each of them in their research pursuits! 


Name – Daniel Fishley 

Degree sought – "I recently received my degree in sociology, with a minor in religious studies, this past spring. I start my masters in religious studies this coming fall." 

Research Topic –  "I'm exploring the ways in which LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) activists construct safe spaces for the LGBTQ community in Calgary; I am looking at the events, programs, and workshops that these individuals facilitate throughout the city."

What attracted you to this research project? – "Calgary’s lack of a notable ‘gay village,’ or any physical ‘queer space’ for that matter, led me to consider the ways in which the local LGBTQ community and its allies create physical spaces within Calgary. My aim has been to understand how, despite a lack of centralized ‘village,’ there is nonetheless a vibrant and active LGBTQ community within Calgary. This topic appeals to me because I am particularly fascinated by the relationship between individual identity and spatial construction."

Why is this research important? – "This research is important in understanding the unique methods that activists and outreach groups deploy in order to create safe areas that facilitate personal expression and exploration for the LGBTQ community. As well, it is important to shed light on a community in Calgary that too often seems invisible."

What do you hope to achieve with this research? – "My aim is to get a broad sense of the ways in which public space actively and latently excludes certain identities. As well, the intent of my research is to explore which strategies are effective, and which strategies are not, in facilitating and producing safe public spaces for Calgary’s LGBTQ community."  

What do you love most about your field of study? – “What I enjoyed most about this project was getting an in-depth understanding of all the work that LGBTQ activists do in Calgary. There is a hard-working and dedicated group of individuals who are passionate about producing positive and safe spaces for Calgary’s LGBTQ community."