Crystal Tremblay

Crystal Tremblay
Assistant Professor
Environmental governance; participatory community-based research; social justice
Office: DTB B356

PhD (UVic)

Area of expertise

Environmental governance; participatory community-based research; social justice

Crystal Tremblay is a social geographer and community-based scholar with interest in the areas of environmental sustainability, participatory resource governance and critical pedagogy. She specializes in using participatory video and arts-based methods for creative citizen engagement and the co-creation of knowledge leading to environmental and social equity.​  In her capacity as Special Advisor on Community Engaged Scholarship, she provides leadership and research in support of UVic's community engagment portfolio.  She has published widely on topics related to community university research partnerships, training in community-based research, social innovation and participatory policy in water and waste governance.

Crystal is not accepting graduate students for the 2023-24 academic year.


For more then a decade my work has focused on uncovering the complex and interwoven relationships between the environment and humans with a focus on governance, power, and equity. My work is community-based, participatory and action-oriented exploring such topics as indigenous innovation and environmental sustainability in Canada (ongoing), issues of (in)access and citizenship in water governance and sanitation with underserved communities in urban Ghana and South Africa, livelihood enhancement and inclusive waste management with recycling cooperatives in the Global South (ongoing), and advancing institutional structures in support of community university research partnerships. Through this work I have developed critical perspectives of environmental governance focusing on inquiries such as how participatory policy processes might help destabilize dominant power structures, which may then lead to enhancing livelihoods and environmental-social justice. My approach to this work also brings a bio-cultural lens, recognizing the intrinsic connection and dependency between culture and the environment.

 For the last five years, I have worked closely with the UNESCO Chair in Community-based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education, co-leading multi-institution and multi-lingual global research projects in the area of engaged scholarship, transformative pedagogy and training in community-based research. Other recent work includes a co-edited book on global community university research partnerships (2015), and over 10 co-produced community films in multiple languages (Xhosa, South Africa; Ga, Ghana; Portuguese, Brazil).


My teaching philosophy is based on a dynamic and interactive approach, acknowledging and appreciating the various forms of learning in and outside the classroom.  As such, my teaching style reflects the value I place on all forms of knowledge production, which is greatly influenced and inspired by research methodologies and pedagogies from scholars such as Paulo Freire and others within the realm of popular education and participatory community-based research.  I currently co-teach a community service learning course 'Working in the Community' (SOSC 300) and a graduate seminar in Leadership Studies on 'Community Engaged Learning & Practice' (ED 591).  Previous courses taught include Qualitative Research Methods (GEOG 327), Economic Geography (GEOG 211), and Sustainable Cities (406).