Announcing the winners of the Hub’s new Public Engagement Awards

Photos of Michelle Stack and Joash Gambarage on light blue background with title "Public Engagement Awards"

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.

Outdoor portrait of Michelle Stack with trees in the background

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.

"Building equitable, accessible and affordable campuses through Co-operatives" title beside a letter C whose shape is filled in with a photo of a person, smiling, wearing glasses holding books

Image from Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies

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

Michelle looks forward to post-pandemic dipping her small toe again in standup comedy.

Screenshot of article by Michelle Stack in The Conversation with title "With campus co-operatives, universities could model new ways of living after COVID-19" overlaid on photo of white and grey mosaic floor tiles spelling "Co-op".

Image from

Studio portrait of Joash GambarageThe 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 Vision International Association (SVIA).

Swahili Vision International Association photo of group members standing with elected officials from the Province of British Columbia in hall with flags and "Hall of Honour" sign above them, including Premier John Horgan and Minister Anne Kang

Image from Swahili Vision International Association

Inspired by SVIA’s 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.

Poster for Canada BC Swahili Community Day on June 28, 2020, with photos of 6 speakers, and the CN Tower in Toronto in the background. Theme: Growth of Swahili.

Image from Swahili Vision International Association Facebook page

Congratulations to both winners!

Honorable Mention:

Studio portrait of Erin Goheen

Dr. Erin Goheen Glanville, 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.

"borderstory" in cursive written with red crayon against a grey mottled background