Congratulations JCURA winners: Michael Graeme, Melanie Heizer and Dalton Pagani

Connect with the next generation of Canadian researchers! UVic's Jamie Cassels Undergraduate Research Awards (JCURA) offer exceptional undergraduate students the opportunity to carry out research in their field of study. The JCURA Research Fair featured over 100 of these inspiring projects, ranging from the latest in biomedical technologies to the politics of decolonization. Each winner recieved $1500.

Anthropology is proud to recognize their three researchers and wishes them all the best in their future endeavors.

Michael Graeme

Project title: The Agroforestry Antidote: Enacting Biocultural Restoration in Ecuador

Department: Anthropology

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Margo Matwychuk

"Land extensification is a land-use pattern that involves the clearing of forests for short-lived, unsustainable pastoral and agricultural operations. This pattern of razing forested landscapes, cultivating them briefly until soils become depleted, and then repeating the process in a new area, is common in Ecuador. As a result, Ecuador has experienced mass deforestation (28.6% of Ecuador's forest cover was lost from 1990 to 2010) along with a concomitant degeneration of ecosystems, loss of biodiversity, soil degradation and erosion. My project proposes to address the underlying factors allowing land extensification to continue in Ecuador, as well as demonstrate how sustainable alternatives might be (and are being) achieved. In particular, a viable solution I wish to explore is the implementation of agroforestry systems by small-scale farmers in collaboration with environmental programs and organizations. Agroforestry practices are based in using the interrelationships of trees, animals and crops to provide food security and economic well-being, while at the same time conserving, even enhancing, biodiversity and ecosystem integrity. Agroforestry has been employed in many forms in the neotropics since time immemorial, yet these various Indigenous practices have greatly declined since conquest. Therefore, my research will examine how moving away from industrial agriculture and ranching can encourage cultural restoration while providing stimulus for ongoing processes of decolonization. Participating in a UVic-accredited Spanish language exchange to Ecuador this fall will both situate me in my region of study, and allow me to conduct deeper research by accessing literature published in Spanish or by visiting local library resources."

Heizer, Melanie

Project title: Grave Monument RTI Photography: Uncovering Lost Inscriptions

Department: Anthropology

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Erin McGuire

"By performing Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) photography on grave monuments, we are able to rediscover inscriptions and motifs that have been lost through environmental damage and degradation. With this project, I would select monuments from three cemeteries in Victoria (Emanu-El Jewish cemetery, Ross Bay cemetery, and Harling Point Chinese cemetery) and use RTI to try to uncover what we can no longer see on the monuments. I will compare the results with historical records of these sites. I will also look at the materials used and the environments surrounding them in order to identify how the damage is being caused, look at similarities and differences between the sites, and propose conservation techniques, and ways to combat further damage."

Dalton Pagani

Project title: Archives, Museums, and Public Space in the Production of History

Department: Anthropology

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Ann Stahl

"My hometown of Powell River, BC, is a settler community located on the traditional territory of the Tla’amin Nation. The historical narratives of both groups have crossed and intertwined throughout the 20th century, and this is evident in the local archives, museum, and public spaces. Many questions, however, arise in regards to what the story of Powell River is and who is telling the story. Using archival, museum, and public information, I hope to explore the production and presentation of history in Powell River."