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Four Emerging Researchers Awarded Insight Development Grants


On January 30, 2019, the Government of Canada announced a major boost for the next generation of social sciences and humanities researchers, which includes four Insight Development grants, from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), awarded in 2018 to four of Laurentian University's emerging researchers. The recipients are Dr. Émilie Pinard, Dr. Celeste Pedri-Spade, Dr. Isabelle Côté and Dr. Serge Miville. Read the summaries of their projects to find out what they will be researching over the next two years!


Headshot of Dr. Émilie Pinard smiling Dr. Émilie Pinard (McEwen School of Architecture)

Building on traditions: Know-how and innovation in vernacular architecture of Senegal and Guinea-Bissau

The main objective of this project is to study the know-hows and practical knowledge linked to vernacular construction in West Africa, along with their current and potential applications to contemporary architectural practice and research.

The growing relevance of sustainable development has sparked renewed world-wide interest in using local and renewable materials. This approach is not only environmentally beneficial, but also an ingenious response to challenges created by rapid urban development, the loss of traditional know-how and the need to include in dominant architectural discourse cultural dimensions that have been so far ignored or rejected. These motivations resonate in West Africa, where the work of renowned architects and activists has paved the way for a great deal of projects based on adapting traditional construction techniques. If these projects are recognized (publications, awards, etc.) for their social contribution, including their ability to affect or transform local construction practices, there remains little information on the veritable impacts of innovations developed. Beyond the techniques and materials used, it is necessary to look at the way in which know-how and knowledge about design and construction in these contexts are inherited, conveyed and adapted.

This project will contribute to an understanding of social and cultural factors that can encourage success and sustainability of architecture using local and renewable materials. It will also promote enhanced collaboration among architects, builders and communities in the design and construction of projects using these materials. Research results will be incorporated into the McEwen School of Architecture program, raising awareness and improving training so that graduates are better prepared to create culturally rich and resilient living spaces.


Headshot of Dr. Celeste Pedri-Spade smilingDr. Celeste Pedri-Spade (School of Northern and Community Studies)

Ogichidaakwewag: The Lives and Stories of Northern Anishinabe Women Through Photographs

Under the guidance of Anishinabekwewag Elders, this research will explore the histories and lived experiences of Anishinabe women in their home territory (lands around Shabaqua, Kashabowie, Lac des Mille Lacs, Raith, Shebandowan and Atikokan) through personal photographs taken from a period of around 1900 to the late 1960s.
Specifically, this research will advance existing knowledge in three ways. First, it will document the lives and stories of Anishinabe women, emphasizing their everyday contributions to their families, communities, and the land. Second, it will work towards the integration of Indigenous feminist, decolonial, visual and arts-based theories and methods in order to further knowledge of the role photographs and stories play in the ongoing resistance of Anishinabe women to ongoing colonial violence. Lastly, it will contribute creative and culturally respectful ways to engage communities in Indigenous women’s photographs and accompanying stories by providing a safe, public art space that welcomes people to both reflect upon these visuals and narratives and contribute their own thoughts and reflections.

This research engages with the priorities outlined in SSHRC's Challenge Area No. 3: How are the experiences and aspirations of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada essential to building a shared future? It brings forward the photographic traces and stories that speak to the lived realities of Indigenous women, which are often rendered invisible in settler colonial States like Canada. Such a shift has positive consequences in both Indigenous and mainstream societies through the implicit and explicit ways that these narratives inform and structure specific cultural values and practices related to improving the safety and wellbeing of women, children, and two-spirited peoples. Thus, this research relates to the urgent mandate established by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. This research will be of interest to scholars/educators in several disciplines given that one of the TRC’s Calls to Action is to educate people about Indigenous history and culture.



Headshot of Dr. Isabelle Côté smiling Dr. Isabelle Côté (School of Social Work)

Development of methodological tools and practices to assess intervention practices focused on the safety and empowerment of women who are victims of domestic violence 

This research study aims to develop and validate practical, methodological tools that assess practices focused on the safety and empowerment of women in shelters who are victims of domestic violence. The study is carried out in partnership with the Regroupement des maisons pour femmes victimes de violence conjugale and the Fédération des maisons d’hébergement pour femmes. Supported by quantitative and qualitative methodology, this study is founded on four objectives: 1) Translate, adapt and pre-test the questionnaire “Measure of Victim Empowerment Related to Safety” (MOVERS) (Goodman et al., 2015); 2) Validate the translated and adapted version of the MOVERS questionnaire; 3) Translate and adapt the MOVERS users’ guide; 4) Develop an assessment approach in partnership with practitioners in shelters for women who are victims of domestic violence.

In terms of social and scientific benefits, the project will allow the development of concrete tools, and make them available in French, for the rigorous assessment of intervention practices focussing on the safety and empowerment of women who are victims of domestic violence. Further, these tools will be incorporated into women’s shelters to improve practices and increase protection of women and children post-separation.

The contributions of female students at Laurentian University are essential to successful completion of the study. To that end, a coordinator and assistants will join the project, with the opportunity to learn more about the issue of domestic violence and intervention in the field, develop strong research and writing skills, and enhance their ability for teamwork within a group that encourages partnership based on the principles of action research and feminist research.



Headshot of Dr. Serge Miville smilingDr. Serge Miville (Department of History and Research Chair in Franco-Ontarian History)

Memories of a Crisis: Sturgeon Falls School Crisis

What transforms a conflict into a historical event? From 1968 to 1971, many Francophones from Sturgeon Falls in Northern Ontario actively advocated to obtain a French-language high school, during a period we now call the Sturgeon Falls School Crisis. 

Despite the fact that the crisis is now recognized as an important historical moment for French Ontario, many francophone parents at the time refused to support the claim for a French-language high school, and for a long time, the provincial government regarded the conflict as a simple disagreement between a school board and taxpayers. For them, the “crisis” does not have the same meaning. 

This research project seeks to understand how an event becomes a site of memory for some, while being forgotten by others. Through a field survey and research in archives, and using documents and testimony from key players of the time, this project aims to gain a deeper understanding of how a linguistic minority manages to create a site of memory and, in particular, how opposition to such a narrative is expressed. It allows our comprehension of Franco-Ontarian society, in all its diversity, to become more complex, and to better understand the relationship between the minority and the provincial government, as well as contributing to identity building in a linguistic minority environment. 

Laurentian students will have the unique chance to perfect their transversal competencies, which will later help them in academic and professional contexts, by contributing to the realisation of research using conventional research methods (analyzing sources) and new methods (oral interviews), as well as communicating the knowledge to a wider public.