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Grad student profiles

Our department is home to about 50 graduate students engaged in a variety of research areas and programs.

Besides the regular MA and PhD programs, we have students in individual interdisciplinary programs, concentration in CSPT (Cultural, Social and Political Thought) or with add-on GPIN (Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Nationhood).

Current MA students

Supervisor: Dr. Daromir Rudnyckyj

Themes: Culture, health and inequality

Hi, my name is Roberto Norman Manuel Alberto, but I go by Robbie. I was born and raised in Victoria, British Columbia. My family roots are primarily El Salvadorian.

I completed my BA in anthropology at the University of Victoria in April 2021. It was in my third year that the idea to pursue a master’s in anthropology began.

As someone who has a large personal interest in video games and eSports, I decided to blend my interest outside of university with my interest in university. This gave me the unique opportunity to conduct ethnographic research on a topic close to my personal interests.

Under the supervision of Dr. Daromir Rudnyckyj, my master’s research focuses on the neo-liberalization of the eSports industry. My master’s project seeks to provide evidence through participant observation and interviews of a possible application and influence of neoliberal attributes described by Michel Foucault on the eSports industry and its economic rationale.

Specifically, I wish to investigate the trading and selling of players from team to team, the neoliberal aspects players are implicating in their day-to-day lives and practices with their teams. I am looking at a general interest in the history of the eSports industry and how it became an industry with an estimated value of over $USD 1 billion.

Outside of university, I volunteer at the Inter-cultural Association of Greater Victoria. I am a huge football (soccer) fan and a coach at Bays United Soccer Club. I have a large passion for playing all types of video games, including the same ones I wish to study.

Supervisor: Dr. Tommy Happynook & Dr. Duncan McLaren

Themes: Evolution and ecology & Space, place, knowledge and power

I am an MA student under the supervision of Dr. Duncan McLaren and Dr. Tommy Happynook. I am extremely grateful to have the opportunity to live play and learn on the traditional territories of the Lekwungen, Songhees, Esquimalt, and WSÁNEC peoples.

I completed a BA in Archaeology at Simon Fraser University in 2019 with an interest in the Pacific Northwest Coast. My practical experience in archaeology comes from working across British Columbia as a consulting archaeologist since 2018. Through the world of CRM, I have been fortunate enough to learn from and work alongside many Indigenous individuals and groups.

My research focuses on archaeological evidence of human occupation at caa-caa-tsii-as (also known as Carnation Creek), the traditional land of the Happynook family. My work is being conducted at the request of Dr. Tommy Happynook, and with the support of the Huu-ay-aht chief and council.

Supervisor: Dr. Margot Wilson & Dr. Helene Cazes

Themes: Evolution and ecology & Space, place, knowledge and power

I obtained a BA (University of Toronto, 1980) focusing on Classics and an LLB (Osgoode Hall Law School, 1983), after which I practiced criminal law briefly before fleeing into legal publishing. I also trained as a homeopath, and have a long-term interest in psychoanalysis. I have maintained an abiding interest in Latin and Medieval Studies, and on being released from a life of corporate servitude in early 2014, now, with great excitement, embark on an Interdisciplinary Master’s Program, under the supervision of Margot Wilson (Anthropology) and Helene Cazes (Medieval Studies).

My research will investigate how Hellebore, a plant with medicinal properties, and used in the past for curing depression and madness, had, by the 13th century, become associated with the Devil and witchcraft.

In Antiquity, in the Hippocratic Corpus, Hellebore was prescribed more frequently than any other remedy, even though it is so poisonous as to be frequently lethal. My research investigates how and why this change in societal attitudes towards this plant occurred. I will examine how Hellebore is described in the herbals, from the 1st century CE through to the 16th, as these are the primary sources for descriptions about the medicinal properties of plants, together with instructions for harvesting them, and for the myths and folklore which surround them. One challenge will be to determine what plant we actually mean when we talk about ‘Hellebore’, because it was referred to by different names and often depicted with misleading illustrations in the herbals.

I will explore under what circumstances, how, and by whom, Hellebore was prescribed in the Middle Ages. For example: was it prescribed differently by monks and nuns, compared with folk healers? Folk healers were typically women, and one facet of the research will explore the cultural construction of illness and the symbolic meanings attached to medicinal plants, and will illuminate the dynamics of stigmatization as they apply to medicinal plants and healers.  The social and symbolic meaning of this particular plant will be examined, and what this tells us about the public perceptions and the individual being ‘demonized’ by association with the plant. For example, was it the properties of the plant itself, such as toxicity, or was it the way in which it was prescribed (its purgative quality might cause abortions, intentional or otherwise), which led to its problematic association? Did the plant become an ideological tool used to denounce women healers with accusations of witchcraft?

Supervisor: Dr. Brian Thom

Themes: Space, place, knowledge and power

Broadly speaking, I’m from Northern BC. Coming from an avid fishing family I had the fortune to explore the north - lake by lake and stream by stream - throughout my youth. 

My work in geomatics over the past dozen years has allowed me to explore even more of these wild landscapes. My introduction to the field was via legal land surveying in the Cariboo and Chilcotin regions throughout my undergrad. I also worked in the UNBC GIS lab on various conservation and other research projects as geospatial support. Since completing a Bachelor of Arts degree (Major in Human Geography, Minor in GIS) from the University of Northern BC in Prince George, my work has inextricably melded the technical aspects of cartography with the socio-cultural. 

As a development intern in Ayacucho, Peru, I worked with El Equípo Peruano de Anthropología Forense to map mass grave sites from recent political violence, as well as to coordinate culturally-sensitive mapping of water and agricultural resources for communities affected by the violence.

Returning home, I worked with First Nations knowledge keepers from across British Columbia to map cultural values and disturbance concerns along proposed large-scale linear developments, notably oil and gas pipelines. I joined the Tŝilhqot’in National Government in 2014 (directly following their historic victory for Aboriginal Title) as a mapping technician on a two-year traditional use study. My role with the Tŝilhqot’in Nation has grown over the following years to centre on geospatial support for various projects related to ongoing negotiations with British Columbia and Canada. Notably, I’ve been leading a project to research and map the Tŝilhqot’in toponymy and submit these historic place names to the Province of BC for official adoption. It’s been such a successful and interesting project, but has demanded more focus than I can give it outside the academy.

Dr. Brian Thom has agreed to supervise my MA which will take a deep dive into the Tŝilhqot’in cultural landscape to ask whether or not the the adoption of indigenous toponymies by settler governments is a fundamental step towards tangible peace and reconciliation, and why.

Supervisor: Dr. Iain McKechnie

Themes: Culture, health and inequality & Space, place, knowledge and power

My Name is Luke George I am from the Tseshaht First Nation, I have been an elected leader for my community for 12 years.  I completed my BA major in Anthropology 2005 and I am now an MA student working under the supervision of Dr. Iain McKechnie. I’m grateful to be here studying on the traditional territory of the lək̓ʷəŋən peoples.

During my undergrad I began to explore how fishing rights of the Nuu chah nult have been excluded and squeezed out of the commercial fishery. My thesis research explores focusing on modern fishing technologies have evolved for the Tseshaht and Hupacasath since contact with colonial governments. 

My researcher will primarily be focused on rights and title concerning indigenous fishery issues. I hope that my work can bring further awareness to the modern issues that arise for contemporary First Nations people.  I have always been interested in Space, Place, Knowledge and Power & Culture, Health and Inequality.

Supervisor: Dr. Brian Thom

Themes: Space, place, knowledge and power

Positionality Statement: I am a settler and uninvited guest to the lands of the lək̓ʷəŋən and SENĆOŦEN speaking peoples of the Songhees, Esquimalt, and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples. My ancestry is British from both my mother’s and father’s sides. I have lived in lək̓ʷəŋən territory for the last twenty-seven years; before this, I lived throughout much of Turtle Island due to being part of a military family.

Research: In collaboration with Dr. Brian Thom, my research focuses on the integrative theme of space, place, knowledge, and power. I completed my Honours BA at the University of Victoria (2022) in anthropology with a focus on Indigenous food systems and the connection to an ancient undocumented intertidal stone fish trap at ȾEL ̧IȽĆE / c̓əl̓íɫč (Cordova Bay, Victoria BC), in W̱SÁNEĆ peoples’ territory. My Master’s research will continue working at ȾEL ̧IȽĆE with Tsawout First Nations and focus on the W̱SÁNEĆ ‘right to hunt and fish as formerly’ stated in the South Saanich Treaty of 1852, which ȾEL ̧IȽĆE is part.

Interests: Outside of my academic work, I volunteer at the Vancouver Island Sexual Assault Centre. I love to bake and cook, where I work with herbs and the healing qualities of food. I teach and practice yoga learning from my teacher Yogrishi Vishvketu in Rishikesh, India, where I was given the name Devika. I am an Aunty to my two wonderful nieces. I believe that we are always and foremost students in life; even when we think we know something, there is always more to learn and understand about ourselves, our fellow humans, and the worlds surrounding us.

Supervisor: Dr. Iain McKechnie

Themes: Evolution and ecology & Space, place, knowledge and power

After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology with a minor in Business (2021) from the University of Victoria I applied to the graduate program to continue work on my Honours project.

My MA thesis focuses on broadening the scope and accessibility of the University of Victoria Zooarchaeological Lab (UVicZL) facility’s comparative collection. UVicZL maintains the largest and most representative collection in the region for the identification of fragmented archaeological remains.

Supervised by Dr. Iain McKechnie, and as a member of the Historical Ecology and Coastal Archaeology HECA Lab, I'm combining applied library science and virtual cloud data access (linked open data) to annotate collection specimen data with biodiversity and taxonomic information, Indigenous animal names, and geospatial location data. My research will enhance access, improve discoverability, and expand UVicZL collection data as a citable reference resource. Used by researchers, students, educators, and Indigenous scholars and community members, it is an essential resource used to expand deep time appreciation of how Indigenous peoples sustained themselves and managed their coastal landscapes for millennia. My goal is to improve access, link Indigenous knowledge, expand outreach education, and foster ecological and ethnobiological research.

Supervisor: Dr. Quentin Mackie

Themes: Evolution and ecology & Space, place, knowledge and power

I received my undergraduate degree in Philosophy and Classical Studies with a minor in Archaeology from University of Idaho in 2009.  My first job was in an archaeology lab cataloguing Idaho’s largest archaeological excavation, a late 1800’s historic site in Sandpoint, Idaho.  I interned as lead diver on a project surveying for a late 1600’s Spanish Manilla Galleon known as the Beeswax Wreck off the coast of Oregon in 2013, and also worked on an underwater CRM survey on the Seattle waterfront.  After 2013 I returned home to Alaska and began a career in Alaskan Cultural Resource Management. I’ve worked north of the Arctic Circle in Coldfoot, AK, as well as in Fairbanks, Anchorage, on the Kenai and finally closer to home in Southeast Alaska.  Most recently I worked for the US Forest Service on Prince of Wales Island, utilizing paleo shoreline modeling to predict the elevations of Pleistocene era shorelines in SE Alaska to test for sites from that time period.

My research interest lies in the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene time periods of migration and the peopling of the Americas.  I’m interested in utilizing site formation models and paleo environmental reconstruction to identify and test high potential ancient tidelines in search of cultural evidence.

Supervisor: Dr. Andrea Walsh

Themes: Visual anthropology and materiality

I am Fabiola Sanchez, an anthropological archaeologist with a focus on Mesoamerica and a primary research interest in the Maya area and the Huastecas region.

My research interests are in household and everyday life, symbolism, identity, gender, feminism, foodways and cuisine, craft production, textile production, space and place. I have been fortunate to have worked in ethnographical, archaeological and ethnoarchaeological projects in the Maya area (Yucatan Peninsula and Chiapas) and among the Rarámuri in Chihuahua.

Since 2005, I have been conducting research in collaboration with the Maya Lacandon community of Mensäbäk in Chiapas, Mexico, with the Mensabak Archaeological Project. My research has included the study of rock art, textile, cuisine and foodways, and craft production, intersecting with gender, identity, and symbolic representation and its results have been presented in conferences and published.

Recently, I have been undertaking research in symbolism, identity, sacred landscape, textiles, and gender. I have worked in museums and galleries, where I have curated several exhibits, including “Lacandon Images: photography of Trudy Duby” presented in the Archaeological Museum of Bologna, Italy, and the Franz Mayer Museum in Mexico City. The most recent exhibit that I curated was “The Mayan Dress Code: Legacy and continuity in Chiapas, Mexico” presented in the Ferry Building Gallery and the Library of the University of British Columbia in 2018. These opportunities lead me to pursue studies in the field of anthropology.

My research proposal uses archaeology and ethnographic methods to investigate ancient and current Maya foodways and traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) in the Late Postclassic period and of contemporary Lacandon people from the Puerto Bello Metzabok community in Chiapas, Mexico. The aim is to understand how changes in political and economic landscapes impacted household production and consumption within specific cycles of time (individual and communal lifetimes from the Late Postclassic to contemporary times) and how contemporary transformations among present-day Maya Lacandon have impacted everyday food consumption and food sovereignty.

I am also interested in how foodways and cuisine are related to migration and resistance during these cycles of time.

Inspired by Dr. Walsh’s course Ethno-Graphic Novel, my research will apply drawing as part of my ethnographic research method. I am grateful to have Dr. Andrea Walsh as my supervisor on this wonderful academic journey.


Supervisor: Dr. Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier

Themes: Visual anthropology and materiality

My name is Graydon Smith. I grew up in rural eastern Ontario, outside of St. Andrew’s West. I completed my BA at Trent University in 2022, where I did a major in Anthropology and a minor in Sociology. I am in the middle of an MA at UVic under the supervision of Dr. Boudreault-Fournier.

My research uses visual and ethnographic methods to consider Cuban life in the present day, examining themes of hope and the future in a period of dynamic change. Cuba remains in flux following the pandemic and various political changes, which have resulted in a current economic crisis and large waves of emigration. My fieldwork, conducted in the summer of 2023, is guided by the integrative theme of Visual Anthropology and Materiality, incorporating visual methodologies, primarily photography, in a process of representation and consideration of how different viewpoints shape how Cubans view their place in the world in a tumultuous present and an unclear future. 

In my personal life, I enjoy photography and other visual arts, listening to music, collecting retro video games, reading, bouldering, and snowboarding during the winters. I also make dream pop music as a member of Portrait Ghosts, where I pretend to know how to play guitar.

Supervisor: Dr. Brian Thom

Themes: Space, place, knowledge and power

I completed my BA in Anthropology and Environmental Studies at UVic in 2021.

I was inspired to continue my studies because of the potential for my research to go beyond academic conventions and become place-based and participatory. My MA research will focus on the frameworks within which archaeological work is conducted in so called British Columbia. My concerns lay with current renegotiations of the Heritage Conservation Act (HCA) in the ongoing Heritage Conservation Act Transformation Project and the broader framework of atomized development in a settler colonial context that is largely the backdrop on which archaeological work is undergone in the province.

I am excited to begin work on my thesis, but in the meantime will contend with extending the breadth of my knowledge through introductory course work.

Supervisor: Dr. Tommy Happynook & Dr. Andrea N. Walsh

Themes: Visual anthropology and materiality

I am a Master’s student studying under Dr. Andrea Walsh and Dr. Tommy Happynook. I received my undergraduate degree from UVIC with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Anthropology and a minor in Museum Studies. Most of my interests are within museums as sites for intersectionality and dynamic identities to interact and influence the power of sharing knowledge.

Studying in a program and working in institutions which both have heavy colonial roots, I want to explore how decolonization can be achieved or if it can be achieved. I want to utilize community based research to listen to the lived experiences of people and apply their knowledge to achieve a museum which better reflects and serves the community.

Over the past two years, I have gained significant experience within museums by working as the Collections and Exhibits Manager at the Sooke Region Museum. Additionally, I have been working alongside Dr. Walsh and Dr. Happynook with the Huu-ay-aht Nation on a Traditional Name Reclamation project for the community. Both have given tremendous insight on working within a museum and a Nation.

Current PhD students

Supervisor: Dr. Brian Thom

Themes: Space, place, knowledge and power

I am a PhD student under the supervision of Dr. Brian Thom. I have spent the last several years conducting ethnographic research on traditional Native American land and resource use in lands currently occupied by national parks in the U.S. Projects have included ethnographic overviews and assessments, ethnohistories, traditional use studies, and development of ethnographic databases.

My interests lie in exploring ways researchers might bridge the gap between academic objectives and the legal mandates of land management agencies in collaboration with associated Indigenous communities. Much of this concerns issues relating to state occupation and management of Indigenous lands and how colonial narratives, methods of mapping, and decisions on what to protect have both physically shaped the landscape, public perception, and interpretation. I particularly gravitate toward interdisciplinary research examining multiple lines of evidence to explore the divergent narratives projected onto contested landscapes, seeking to develop context and nuance.


Bloom, Rochelle and Douglas Deur

2021    Through a Forest Wilderness: Native American Environmental Management at Yosemite and Contested Conservation Values in America’s National Parks. Public Lands in the Western U.S.: Place and Politics in the Clash between Public and Private. Kathleen M. Sullivan and James H. McDonald, editors, pp. 151-173.

2020    Reframing Native Knowledge, Co-Managing Native Landscapes: Ethnographic Data and Tribal Engagement at Yosemite National Park. Parks and Protected Areas: Mobilizing Knowledge for Effective Decision-Making, special issue of Land, edited by Glen Hvenegaard, Elizabeth Halpenny, and Jill Bueddefeld.

Deur, Douglas and Rochelle Bloom

2020    Fire, Native Ecological Knowledge, and the Enduring Anthropogenic Landscapes of Yosemite Valley. The Routledge Handbook of Indigenous Environmental Knowledge. Thomas F. Thornton and Shonil A. Bhagwat, editors, pp. 299-313.

Supervisor: Dr. Daromir Rudnyckyj

Themes: Culture, health and inequality & Space, place, knowledge and power

I am a doctoral candidate currently conducting federally-funded (SSHRC) fieldwork under the supervision of Dr. Daromir Rudnyckyj. 

My anthropological interests focus broadly on the Latter-day Saint (LDS/Mormon) population of southern Alberta. Currently, I am interested in ways that LDS cultural practices and economic practices inform each other in Cardston, Alberta. My research aims to identify an LDS economic subject, the ways that this subject is created through official institutional discourse, and the ways that this subject is creatively negotiated in the lives of Latter-day Saints themselves.

My Master's thesis addressed inter-generational narratives of acculturation and transnational identity construction as told by Latin American immigrants to the Greater Toronto Area. I pulled on theories of performative identity to highlight how perceived notions of what it meant to be Canadian vs. Mexican, for example, resulted in conflict as individuals and families attempted to perform these identities, which often were conceived of as being in opposition to each other. I received my MA from the University of Guelph in 2015.

Supervisor: Dr. Andrea Walsh

Themes: Visual anthropology and materiality

I am a settler living with gratitude on Lekwungen territory. My pronouns are they/them.

I have been pursuing my studies at UVic since 2017, completing first a BA (2020) and then an MA (2022) in anthropology. I am now embarking on a PhD under the supervision of Dr Andrea Walsh.

Through my SSHRC-funded MA research, I took up comic drawing as a means of exploring nonbinary experiences with visuality and the dynamics of being seen. I conducted this research primarily through social media, connecting with nonbinary individuals throughout Canada and the US.

As the Smyth Chair Fellow working in the Visual Stories Lab (Visual Research Lab) in the anthropology department, I have had the pleasure of learning from Dr Andrea Walsh and Dr Jennifer Robinson as part of their curatorial team. Assisting in exhibition design, digital communications development, and archiving has allowed me to pursue another area of interest: creative applications of digital technology to visual anthropology. 

In pursuing a PhD, I am interested in further developing my drawing methodology in all stages of research, including research communications and knowledge mobilization for the purpose of advocacy and education. I am grateful for the opportunity to pursue this goal in an interdisciplinary way through a research assistantship with Dr Charlotte Schallié (Germanic and Slavic Studies) on the Narrative Art & Visual Storytelling project (SSHRC Connections Grant).

My research interests involve queer creative research, alternative archives, life story drawing, and social justice research. My non-research interests involve playing piano, baking, writing sci-fi, and picking up shiny rocks on the beach.


Supervisor: Dr. Ann Stahl

Themes: Visual anthropology and materiality

I am a Ph.D. student working under the supervision of Dr. Ann Stahl. My interests are largely in archaeology, cultural anthropology, conservation and protection of cultural heritage, landscape and architecture.

During my doctoral studies, I would explore the concepts, methods, and techniques of Visual Anthropology and Materiality and how these can inform and shape my research into the indigenous architecture of Banda, Ghana. The architectural landscape is one aspect of the Ghanaian culture that has and is experiencing drastic transformations and while we believe in the dynamism of culture, it is still important to preserve some parts that may be considered as their ‘tradition’ or ‘heritage’. My research will be part of Dr. Ann Stahl’s partnership project in Ghana – IAfF and Banda Through Time.

I hold a BA and MPhil in Archaeology from the University of Ghana. My MPhil thesis focused on building processes, settlement, and compound layouts and their relationship with the social organization of the people of Old Buipe, in northern Ghana. My research and studies were funded by the Gonja Archaeological Project, a project based at Old Buipe that I participated in from 2015-2017. I also worked as a TA and Graduate Assistant at the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies, and a Researcher at the Leventis Digital Resource Centre.

I love to read fictional novels, some of my favorites are from African writers and I love arts widely, which is why I volunteer with Benpaali Young Filmmakers’ Festival where we provide young talented people with the platform to share stories that matter.  

Supervisor: Dr. Quentin Mackie & Dr. Iain McKechnie

Themes: Evolution and ecology & Space, place, knowledge and power

Research: Robert is a geospatial archaeologist focusing on creating estimates of precontact population size on the Northwest Coast. His work centers on the application of GIS-based techniques to better understanding the scale and scope of Indigenous population decline through the Contact period. Additionally, Robert looks at the distribution and availability of past marine resources on the Pacific Northwest Coast through computer modeling.

Robert completed his BA at Humboldt State University and did his MA at the University of Alberta where he was an ESRI Canada Young Scholar award winner. His thesis work looked at the application of Least Cost Path Analysis to maritime migration on the Pacific Northwest Coast during the Late Pleistocene. Specifically, this project created models which more accurately allow for the identification of very old sites on drowned and stranded shorelines. He is now working on his Ph.D. studies under the supervision of Iain McKechnie and Quentin Mackie 

Interests: GIS, Population Estimation, Demography, Remote Sensing, Late Classic Maya, Landscape Archaeology, and Digital Archaeology.


Gustas, Robert and Kisha Supernant: 2019 Coastal Migration into the Americas and Least Cost Path Analysis. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 54:192–206. DOI:10/gfz2dr.

Gustas, Robert and Kisha Supernant: 2017 Least cost path analysis of early maritime movement on the Pacific Northwest Coast. Journal of Archaeological Science 78(2017):40-56. DOI:10.1016/j.jas.2016.11.006.


Supervisor: Dr. Iain McKechnie

Themes: Evolution and ecology

Research: I am a PhD student working under the supervision of Dr. Iain McKechnie in the Historical Ecology and Coastal Archaeology (HECA) Lab. Drawing upon archaeological methods and ecological modelling techniques, my research examines the history of ocean climate change on the Northwest Coast and how coastal Indigenous fisheries responded to and managed environmental change. My NSERC and SSHRC-funded doctoral research aims to document millennia of Indigenous fishing effort, establish ocean temperature baselines, and identify resilient fisheries practices that can inform contemporary management.

I completed my BA at the University of Victoria in 2018, double majoring in Anthropology and Geography with a focus on environmental sustainability. In the final year of my BA, I conducted honours research that examined dietary variation in ancient domestic dogs on the West Coast of Vancouver Island (Barkley Sound) using stable isotope modelling techniques. I completed my MA at the University of Victoria in 2022. My Master’s research investigated ocean temperature change over the past five millennia at two ancient Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation village sites in Barkley Sound, BC, using quantitative approaches to zooarchaeological data. Since finishing my degree, I have continued to work as a Research Assistant in the HECA Lab and served as the teaching assistant for the UVic Barkley Sound Archaeology Field School (2021 and 2022).

Interests: My research interests include anthropology, climate change, coastal and island archaeology, domestic dogs, ecology, environmental archaeology, fisheries, food security, historical ecology, Indigenous food systems, Northwest coast archaeology, Nuu-chah-nulth archaeology, resource management, resilience theory, sea otters, stable isotope analysis, zooarchaeology, ZooMS. Outside of academia, my interests include birding, cartography, habitat restoration, hiking, and sea kayaking.

Positionality Statement: I would like to acknowledge with respect the privilege it is to work and study in the Indigenous lands of the Esquimalt, Lekwungen, Songhees, and WSÁNEĆ peoples. I was born and raised on Salt Spring Island and grew up amongst the southern Gulf Islands – lands that reside within the traditional and unceeded territories of Coast Salish peoples.

As a descendent of settlers, my family has resided in British Columbia for four generations and has primarily engaged in the forestry and fishing industries. My family’s connection to the commercial fishing industry and my own experience working as a deckhand on my father’s fishboat has been instrumental in fostering my sense of place and identities. Ultimately, this heritage motivates my interest in marine historical ecology and fisheries management.


Salomon, A., Okamoto, D., Wilson, K.B., Happynook, H.T., Wickaninnish., Mack, W.A., Davidson, S.H.A., Guujaaw, G., Humchitt, W.W.H., Happynook, T.M., Cox, W.C., Gillette, H.F., Christiansen, N.S., Dragon, D., Kobluck, H., Lee, L., Tinker, T.M., Silver, J., Armitage, D., McKechnie, I., MacNeil, A., Hillis, D., Muhl, E., Gregr, E., Commander, C., & A. Augustine. (2023). Disrupting and diversifying the values, voices, and governance principles that shape biodiversity science and management. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 1881(378).

Hillis, D., Gustas, R., Pauly, D., Cheung, W., Salomon, A., & McKechnie, I. (2022). A paleothermometer of ancient indigenous fisheries reveal increases in mean temperature of the catch over five millennia. Environmental Biology of fishes,

Hillis, D., McKechnie, I., Guiry, E., St. Claire, D. E., & Darimont, C. T. (2020). Ancient dog diets on the Pacific Northwest Coast: zooarchaeological and stable isotope modelling evidence from Tseshaht territory and beyond. Scientific reports, 10(1), 1-12.

Supervisor: Dr. Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier

Themes: Culture, health and inequality & Visual anthropology and materiality

Luke is a SSHRC-MSFSS scholar, literary anthropologist, graphic novelist, internationally published poet, and an anthropology PhD student at the University of Victoria. He is in the process of completing his first book of love poetry, NUOVA; one that has been modeled after Dante’s La Vita Nuova in exploring a contemporary Fedeli d'Amore (“the Faithful of Love”) praxis, poetics, and spirituality. Also, his graphic novel series, SAMÆL, is geared for submission to IMAGE COMICS. This dark, mythopoetic comic-narrative focuses on sublime grittiness and a supernatural multiverse of dæmons and world story-weaving.

Often, he performs poetry at spoken-word venues in either Kelowna or Victoria. As a volunteer at Foundry Victoria, he is actively organizing a poetry and music open mic fundraiser, Unquiet Minds II, to support youth mental health initiatives via Foundry BC, a new network integrated mental health clinics for youth, and the Children’s Health Foundation (CHF) of Vancouver Island.

Currently, he is researching psychosis narratives for his PhD, wherein he will conduct ethnographic fieldwork and publish an original, innovative, multimedia volume of comics-poetry on the matter to accentuate and accompany his dissertation. UVic’s Dr. Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier, a Center for Imaginative Ethnography co-curator, is his supervisor. He is interested in imaginative ethnography and how comics-poetry, inter-arts narratives can be incorporated in anthropological writing—essentially how depth and expression can break and remold plateaus of communication.

Research Areas: Visual, medical, and symbolic anthropology; consciousness studies; psychosis and altered states of mind; mythography; indigenous storytelling and myth; comics; creative writing and inter-arts practices; ethnography; ethno-poetry; art therapy.


Publications & Contributions

Peer-Reviewed Articles

2020 “‘Psychotic Bodies/Embodiment of Bipolar Suicidal Poets’—Navigating through the Sensorium of Immersive Worlds and Psychoscapes.” Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies. 16(1): 1-31.

2019 “Somatic Shockings across Ailment Narratives: Lessons from the Sacred Geographies of an Indigenous Spirit-world.” PlatForum. Vol. 16: 52-83.

2011 “The Mythopoetic Mind of Plato: The Kingdom-Sage’s Muthos in Timaeus, The Republic, and The Symposium.” Metapsychosis.


2019 “Psychosis and Catastrophic Ontological Precedence—A Case for (Re)Futuring Co-Transformations in Community Arts Practices,” AAA-CASCA 2019 Conference. Vancouver, BC.

2019 “‘Minding Myth-Scapes’—Sensorial, Theoretical, and Psychotic Engagements with Ethnographic Hauntologies. Conference on ‘Folk Belief’ & ‘The Supernatural in Literature and Film.’ Svaneti and Tbilisi, Georgia.

2019 “Dictionary of the Lost.” Summer of Theory CSPT Symposium. Cultural, Social, and Political Thought Program. University of Victoria, Victoria, BC.

2019 “Storytracking SAMÆL: Synesthetic Trance, Entoptic Storytelling, and Comics as a Creative Process.” Anthropology of Consciousness 38th Annual Conference. Portland, Oregon.

2019 “Of Violent Ends, Of Virtue Erased: Dæmonic Echoes in a Time of Atrocities.” Worlds Without Us – Cultural, Social, and Political Thought Conference. University of Victoria, Victoria, BC.

2018 “Co-Assembling Contrapuntal Realities in the Field—An Ethnographic Exodus into Creative Liminalities, Spirited Innovation, and the Mythscapes of the Comics Mediums,” CASCA-Cuba 2018 Conference. Universidad de Oriente, Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.

Creative Outputs

2019 “abandon.” Published in poetry audio collections: Soundbite, vol. 2. 

2017 “Inspired Word Café: Season 2, Episode 22.” Featured poet for recorded TV broadcast. Shaw TV (Channel 11). Kelowna, BC. April 20, 2017.

2016 “Meridians of Melolight.” Published in poetry anthology: Reinventing Myths (Mytho-मंथन), Authorspress. December 11, 2016.

2016 “A Highlander, a Whitebeam.” Invited for poetry reading and performance, poetry workshop, and chapbook printing: Beginnings and Endings: The Creation of Meaning, Central Okanagan Hospice Association (COHA), Kelowna, BC. November 18 – December 2, 2016.

Selected Performances

2019 “Elegy” and “Skylarks Swallowing Stars.” Invited for poetry reading and performance: Public Reading with Local Contributors of The Anti-Languorous Project. Victoria, BC. June 5, 2019.

2019 “Sketches of Adnan Selimović; Heteroglossic Hearts.” Invited for poetry reading and performance: HREV Presents: UVIC Spoken Word ‘Injustice.’ Victoria, BC. February 27, 2019.

2018 “Sonnet 01: Lala Ragimova,” “Sketches of Adnan Selimović; Heteroglossic Hearts,” “The Hanged Man’s Nous; The Note-Taker’s Needle,” “Rilke Soaring,” “Dark Phoenix,” “Skylarks Swallowing Stars.” Featured poet. August Château Dome Soirée. Victoria, BC. August 18, 2018.

2017 “Serenade for Ika Chigogidze; the Starless Seas of the Storm.” Accepted for poetry reading and performance: Tonight It’s Poetry. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. August 20, 2017.


  • 2017-Present Foundry BC – Kelowna and Victoria, BC.
  • 2018-Present Mental Health Recovery Partners. Victoria, BC.
  • 2017 BC Schizophrenic Society (BCSS) – Kelowna, BC.
  • 2017-Present Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) – Victoria, BC.
  • 2016-2017 Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) – Kelowna, BC.
  • 2013 Kanamkek-Yile Ngala Museum, Wadeye Aboriginal Languages Centre (WALC), and Thamarrurr Catholic School – Wadeye, Northern Territory, Australia.
  • 2010-2011 Saint Vincent de Paul Society (SSVP) – Kamloops, BC.

Supervisor: Dr. Lisa M. Mitchell

Themes: Culture, health and inequality

My SSHRC-funded doctoral research project examines the experiences of pregnancy loss and reproductive disruptions among Punjabi Canadian women and families. Supervised by Dr. Lisa Mitchell, I'm using ethnographic methodology to understand how migration, diasporic lifeways and cultural identity affect the health and reproductive lives of Punjabi-Canadians who must negotiate belonging within the Indian community, and within wider Canadian society, in their practices around reproduction, gender, family, and media.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology (2011) and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and English (2013) from the University of Manitoba, I went on to complete a SSHRC-funded MA (2016) under the advisement of Dr. Stacie Burke at the University of Manitoba. I conducted an ethnographic study on narratives of psychological distress by post-secondary students on an anonymous social media app, based on theories of stigma and online self-disclosure. Stigma and secrecy figure in pregnancy loss as they do in mental health and I believe that research on these topics can help demystify and destigmatize them, thereby helping to improve access to healthcare and support for individuals and families.

I have also carried out a number of community-based research projects in Victoria, BC, and provide workshops and training on: diversity, anti-oppression and anti-racism; career planning, resumés and job skills; social media and networking; reproductive health and justice; and, cultural competency in the community.

Research Interests: anthropology of health, body and reproduction; migration and diasporas; South Asian studies; social media and online social networking; online ethnography and digital methods.


Supervisor: Dr. Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier

Themes: Visual anthropology and materiality

Hi, I’m Mark McIntyre (he/him). I’m a cultural anthropology PhD student working with Dr. Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier.

My work engages with the processes of deindustrialization and post-industrialization in Canada and how communities left to live in, and around, industrial ruin repurpose industrial spaces while participating in world-making projects. How is future imagined in communities that are navigating processes of deindustrialization?

My interests intersect with visual anthropology and materiality, infrastructure and media studies, inequality and health, public anthropology, migration, and multimodal ethnographic methodologies. Regarding visual anthropology, I believe that incorporating arts-based practices, such as soundscape, video, photography, and others into our ethnographic toolkit helps to conceptualize aspects of places and experiences that we may not otherwise consider and serves to access emotional, sensorial, and subjective knowledges.

I completed a SSHRC funded MA at the University of Victoria (2018) which focused on how Cape Breton migrant labourers and their families eke out a living in the marginalized community of Glace Bay nearly 20 years after the last coal mines and steel plants closed. This work was the result of ethnographic fieldwork on Cape Breton Island and also incorporated elements of digital ethnography as a large part of the project was about understanding how migrant labourers and their families perform family and community online across long distances.

I happily hold a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship and I am thankful to be able to continue my work regarding deindustrialization in Canada.

Supervisor: Dr. Daromir Rudnyckyj

Themes: Space, place, knowledge and power

Hello! I am a doctoral student in cultural anthropology under the supervision of Dr. Daromir Rudnyckyj from the Department of Anthropology and Dr. Paul Bramadat from the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society.

My anthropological interests focus broadly on how evangelical Christians in North America negotiate their relationships to the broader cultures in which they take part. In this vein, my current research explores the intersection of modern postural yoga and Christianity in Canada and the United States. How (and how much) do Christians who practice yoga transform the practice into something altogether different? And to what extent does yoga, and the broader milieu of “self-spirituality” that often surrounds it, transform Christian belief and practice?

I hold a BA in Linguistics and Cultural Studies from Seattle Pacific University and an MSc in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Leuven in Belgium. My MSc research was my first glimpse into the world of Christian yoga, where I explored how Christian yoga practitioners in Washington State circumvent spiritual concerns surrounding the practice and manage yoga’s perceived connections with Hinduism. As a participant-observer in the yoga world, I also learned how to touch my toes for the first time.

Supervisor: Dr. Ammie Kalan

Themes: Evolution and ecology

I am a PhD student working under the supervision of Dr. Ammie Kalan in the Great Ape Behaviour Lab. I received my Bachelor of Arts and Science from McGill University in 2021 with major concentrations in biology and anthropology, and a particular focus on archaeology. I joined the GAB lab in 2021 to conduct my MA research on chimpanzee accumulative stone throwing and I am looking forward to continuing this work in a PhD starting in September 2023. In my research, I take a landscape approach to study the chimpanzee accumulative stone throwing behaviour from an archaeological perspective. I am interested in investigating the transmission of this rare behaviour and its potential symbolic significance.  

Supervisor: Dr. April Nowell

Themes: Evolution and ecology & Visual anthropology and materiality

Hello! I am a new PhD student here. I was born in Ottawa on Anishinabe Algonquin territory. I have always been interested in human biological and sociocultural evolution.

I completed my undergraduate degree at Carleton University in Theoretical Linguistics and Anthropology, with an almost-minor in Biology, hoping to study the evolution of human language in some respect. I completed my MA at Carleton in applied Linguistics. I also have schooling in visual arts from the Ottawa school of Art.

I will be studying signs in Palaeolithic cave art and stone tools in Europe, supervised by Dr. April Nowell and Dr. Christian Bentz. Through the use of, and contribution to, online databases of sites and signs, I hope to possibly gain insight into a number of things, including the development of written language, human cognitive development, and more accurate dating of sites and objects. I hope to make use of, and potentially contribute to, online visual databases of sites and signs that were established in previous research.

Supervisor: Dr. April Nowell

Themes: Space, place, knowledge and power & Visual anthropology and materiality

My legal name is Olga Szynkaruk; my chosen names are Vivien and Nauthiz.

I raise my hands in acknowledgment, respect and gratitude to the Lək̓ʷəŋən peoples on whose territories the University of Victoria stands, and the Songhees, Esquimalt, and WSÁNEC peoples whose historical relationship with the land continues to this day. I intend for my work to play a role in decolonization, and to aid the healing of the land and all its beings.

Between the years 2013 and  2021, I have acquired MA degrees in Archaeology, History and Sociology at the University of Szczecin in Poland. While I will always remember my alma mater with fondness and gratitude, I am glad that the next stage of this journey has brought me to the University of Victoria, under the supervision of a scholar I have admired for a long time: Professor April Nowell.

The main goal of my research is the construction of a comprehensive body of information on the world's known Upper Palaeolithic burials, focused especially on evidence of symbolic behaviours practiced, as well as their implications in relation to the buried individual and the society they lived in. My goals include also an attempt to re-interpret some of the traditional narratives pertaining to certain burials. Another anticipated contribution is for my work to provide a methodological model for the choosing of sound and scientifically persuasive archaeological and ethnoarchaeolgical analogies in interpretive research.

Outside of academic pursuits, my interests include historical martial arts, game design, and fashion.


The Exile’s Lament. Solitude and Togetherness in Ovid’s Later Works. Paedagogia Christiana [online]. 15 May 2020, T. 45, nr 1, s. 217–224.


Supervisor: Dr. Robert Hancock

Themes: Culture, health and inequality & Space, place, knowledge and power & Visual anthropology and materiality

Research & Interest

Tansi, Lydia nitisiyigason. My name is Lydia (they/them) and I am a Two-Spirit Bungi-Metis and settler person and am I am a registered citizen of the Metis Nations of both BC and Greater Victoria. I work in the areas of Indigenous and Metis studies, audio-visual and sensory anthropology, and participatory and community-engaged research. I completed my honours and master's degree in anthropology at UVic working with Dr. Alex Boudreault-Fournier, Dr. Christine Loignon, and Dr. Rob Hancock. I have also held staff positions at UVic as the Indigenous Student Recruitment Officer and most recently the Tri-Faculty Indigenous Resurgence Coordinator. I am interested in decolonizing research and post-secondary practices and systems. I am also interested in Two-Spirit, trans, and queer Indigenous and Metis studies.

In my doctoral research, I am working with 2SLGBTQIA+ Metis people to collect and create 2SLGBTQIA+ Metis stories, art, and resources to contribute to the reclamation, revitalization, and resurgence of 2SLGBTQIA+ Metis people, teachings, stories, language, community roles, and cultures of acceptance. I will collaborate with community members to create content for a website/digital museum that will host and share our knowledge, culture, and joy. Off campus, I am also a beadwork artist, drag performer, and singer-songwriter. I am a Vanier scholar, am affiliated with the Two-Spirit Dry Lab and the Chair in Transgender Studies, and I am also involved in Two-Spirit and Indigiqueer leadership at the regional, provincial, and national level.



Toorenburgh, Lydia and Holly Reid. 2023. "Queering Collective Dreaming: Weaving Métis Futures of Belonging." Pawaatamihk: A Journal of Métis Thinkers 1(1): 1-28.

Forthcoming Articles:

Toorenburgh, Lydia and Loren Gaudet. 2024. "Doing Our Work in a Good Way: A framework of collaboration and a case for Indigenous-only writing classrooms." Discourse and Writing/Rédactologie (DW/R) 34.


Toorenburgh, Lydia. 2023.“Walking-With Wellness: Understanding Intersections of Indigenous Literacy and Health Through Podcasting,” Master’s thesis, University of Victoria. 

Toorenburgh, Lydia. 2018.“‘Nitawâhtâw’ Searching for a Métis Approach to Audio-Visual Anthropology: Cultural, Linguistic, Methodological, and Ethical Considerations,” Honours thesis, University of Victoria.


Toorenburgh, Lydia. 2020. “RAVEN (De)Briefs Podcast: Indigenous Law in Action.” BC Studies 207: 128-29. 

Magazine Articles:

Toorenburgh, Lydia. 2023. "What it Means to be Two-Spirit." Monday Magazine. June: 16.


Walking-With Wellness Podcast: Indigenous Health and Literacy. 2023. Soundcloud:

Supervisor: Dr. Andrea Walsh

Themes: Culture, health and inequality & Space, place, knowledge and power

My name is Mavis Underwood of Tsawout Community, WSANEC Nation. My interest in pursuing a PHD direction at this point in my life is related to accumulated knowledge, experience and teachings as a WSANEC Woman growing up in part of our homelands on the Saanich Peninsula. My work has been rich and varied. My learning quest has been to promote betterment in opportunities for First Nations and to influence needed social change, particularly in areas of education, human and social development, health, and housing. The themes for my work embrace Culture, Health and Inequality and Space, Place, Knowledge and Power. I am quite certain I will overlap many themes the more immersed I get into the academic stream.

My initial experience with UVIC was completion of a B.A. in Child and Youth Care in 1978, and a Professional Teachers Certification and Certification in Sexual Abuse Counsellors Training in the 80's. I completed my M.A. in Indigenous Governance in May 2018. I am hoping to incorporate lived experience and the guidance of teachings to influence and refine intersections of Indigenous Knowledge, History, and Encounter with Anthropology. Most recently I have been emphasizing the impact of history of ancient village sites, ancestral remains, and artifact remains in revitalizing history of Indigenous First Nations life, civilization in fulsome traditional homelands. Personally, for me, I want to deepen the understanding of the Truth of the extent of the WSANEC homelands that include land and marine territory, and history of prior use and occupation reinforced by numerous defenses of Douglas Treaty and the Saanichton Bay Marina Case pf 1988.