May 26, 2021
Announcing the winners of the Public Humanities Hub’s new Public Engagement Awards! These awards were created to honour individuals who have exhibited outstanding public humanities engagement in the past two years. The Hub received 30 outstanding nominations in this inaugural year. The Hub’s Awards Committee was blown away by the variety of creative, impactful, and inspired public engagement activities UBC-Vancouver Humanities professors are involved in. Selecting a winner for this award was no easy task.
The winner of the award to recognize the contributions of a tenured or tenure-track UBC-V Humanities faculty member (in research or educational leadership streams) is Dr. Michelle Stack, an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Studies in the Faculty of Education.
Michelle is an exemplary public scholar. She has developed courses in media education and knowledge sharing. She has conducted workshops focused on engaging with media for colleagues across the university and for schools and community groups that include participants as co-researchers and spokespersons for themselves through engagement with media and policymakers.
Her research analyzes the ways university rankings reinforce inequity and narrow who counts and what and how scholarly work is conducted. She argues this is bad not only for academics but also for universities trying to be leaders in expanding scholarly informed public conversations about urgent local to global issues.
Most recently, Stack is going back to what early in life informed her commitments around research and relationships: co-operatives. She is leading a co-operative working group funded by the Peter Wall Institute. She hopes that by bringing together students, staff, and faculty, campus co-operatives could provide affordable food, housing, and other services and be spaces to learn how to work, live, and learn in healthy and equitable ways. Her most recent commentary on coops was published in TheConversation.com.
Michelle looks forward to post-pandemic dipping her small toe again in standup comedy.
The winner of the award to recognize the contributions of a Humanities graduate student, postdoctoral fellow, or sessional, or lecturer is Dr. Joash J. Gambarage, a Sessional Lecturer in the Department of Linguistics in the Faculty of Arts.
Joash is a model Public Humanities scholar. His public engagement work has demonstrated a deep commitment to fostering cross-cultural understanding through Swahili language, arts, and culture. He is a founding member and program director of the Swahili Vision International Association as well as a founding member of a school in his hometown of Mugeta, Tanzania. In BC, he has given talks, helped facilitate a Swahili language and culture camp for children, and hosted many cultural events in collaboration with BC’s Swahili-speaking community.
Inspired by these efforts, the BC Government officially recognized June 22 as BC Swahili Community Day. In all his Public Engagement efforts, Joash takes a creative approach. For example, he recently recorded three songs he composed to teach Swahili grammar and is currently in negotiations with a cartoon network to develop animated instructional videos to teach children Swahili. In summary, Joash has been an indefatigable champion of Swahili among children and adults, speakers and non-speakers, around the world.
Congratulations to both winners!
Dr. Erin Goheen, a Sessional Lecturer in the Department of English Language & Literatures in the Faculty of Arts, was awarded an honorable mention for her collaborative, community-engaged research and creative knowledge mobilization about refugee cultures and humanitarian communication.
Her film Borderstory is a 24-minute multimedia documentary that re-narrates the word “border” using anticolonial filmmaking tactics, and has been used as an educational resource by universities and community groups across Africa, North America, Europe, and Australia. Erin has interviewed and collaborated with members of local refugee claimant communities, organized a workshop on humanitarian storytelling for Kinbrace Community Society for refugee claimant housing and support, hosted film screenings and speaker series with local organizations, and delivered a talk for a provincial consultation hosted by the BC Refugee Hub and Vancouver Immigration Partnership.