Department projects

A breathtaking sunset graces Goose Island, an important place for the Heiltsuk First Nation, one of the many communities in which members of our department work.

Our Geography Department seeks to contribute new knowledge, understanding, and solutions to the challenges facing society. These contributions - disciplinary and interdisciplinary - range from the local and humanistic to the international and biophysical. We endeavour to maintain our commitment to the many, varied communities that comprise the department, including faculty (full-time, adjunct, emeriti, and sessional), staff, graduate students, undergraduate students, and alumni.

In addition, our departmental members have multiple commitments to external communities, be they on our UVic campus, or in our city, region, nation, or overseas. Often, such engagement is a challenging process as we seek to understand and mediate disparate and sometimes conflicting community goals.

This is the essence of much of our commitment as geographers - to seek the best in our communities and to offer our knowledge to assist in building sound communities.

  • The Water and Climate Impacts Research Centre (W-CIRC) was established in September 2002 at the University of Victoria (UVic) as part of a co-location agreement between the UVic Department of Geography and the National Water Research Institute (NWRI) of Environment Canada.

    A primary focus of W-CIRC's current research is participation in the hydrology, hydro-climatology, hydrologic-hydraulic modelling, sediment processes and ecological flow needs sub-components of the Water Quantity/Hydrology/Sediment program that forms part of EC's ‘world-class’ Oil Sands monitoring program. Additional areas of scientific foci are on the hydrologic and ecological impacts of atmospheric change and variability, particularly in the Canadian Arctic.

    Also affiliated with the centre are NWRI scientists and research technicians located at the National Hydrology Research Centre (NHRC) in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and the Canadian Centre for Inland Waters (CCIW) in Burlington, Ontario.

    Through the co-location model, W-CIRC has established, grown and built a renowned network of academic scientists over the previous 10 years who are now working in collaboration to fulfill W-CIRC’s program delivery as it relates to EC’s mandate.


  • Participatory Sustainable Waste Management (PSWM) is an interdisciplinary collaboration between UVic and Universitário Fundação Santo André, Brazil undertaking innovative projects dedicated to more sustainable lifestyles suited to the needs and wants of current and future generations.

    PSWM presents a viable option to make better use of the world's resources, including exploring opportunities to generate income and improve the quality of life for informal recyclers, while promoting environmental sustainability and inclusive public policies.


  • The New Emerging Team for Health in Rural and Northern British Columbia (NETHRN-BC) is a multidisciplinary research program based at five BC universities (University of Victoria, University of Northern BC, Thompson Rivers University, Simon Fraser University, and University of British Columbia).

    With investigators in epidemiology, geography, psychology, sociology, and statistics, the program will develop research capacity in the social dimensions of rural, remote, and northern health in BC in order to improve the health of residents living in these regions of the province.


  • The Coastal Aquaculture Research and Training (CART) Network at UVic comprises a multidisciplinary team of scientists that form an intra-university collaborative network to address research and training initiatives associated with coastal aquaculture.

    Working on both temperate and tropical region programs, the CART 'network' also extends to the working relationships we have developed with other institutions, both within Canada and abroad.

Often, our research and academic pursuits will focus much of our attention inward to very specialized and specific academic pursuits, but all members of our UVic Geography "family" are encouraged to extend our knowledge and excitement about geography into the larger, external community.

Starting with our undergraduate geography course union, the Society of Geography Students, and including our alumni, graduate students, faculty, and staff, we seek to promote geography as an excellent medium for building community.

Through the auspices of the university's Speakers Bureau or through informal student groups, such as our undergraduate initiative, Geographers-In-Schools, we seek to both educate and entertain with our geography presentations, speakers, seminars, and workshops.

Community Mapping

Community mapping is a graphic learning, development, and planning tool that connects people to one another and their home places.

Community maps are the collective representations of geography and landscape, and community mapping is the process to create such representations. It also tells the stories of what is happening right now and what may happen in the future.

The Department of Geography has facilitated, supported, or participated in a number of printed and interactive online community green map projects since 1999. To hear about the projects or to get involved, have a look at the UVic Community Mapping Collaboratory website.

This legacy is continued today through the work of the UVic Map Shop, a community-campus initiative dedicated to collaborative place-based learning and mapping. The Map Shop partners with community organizations to conduct geographic research and mapping.

Community-based Research

Community-based research is committed to conducting research with community, instead of on it, whereby the research process becomes as important as the results. Here community is understood as either bound by interests or by geography.

The research unfolds new dimensions and perspectives of social and spatial power relations, not always evident in the product itself, and the praxis contributes to the empowerment of the participants. Community members become the leaders of investigation, and through the process can create their own solutions for change.

It is a learning process for all participants, and it builds new skills and capacity to make decisions, engage, interact, and build relationships.

The Department of Geography has a long history of international engagement, and is known for its strong support of international initiatives on campus. It plays a pre-eminent role in advancing UVic's Strategic Plan objectives of enhancing the quality of both undergraduate and graduate education through greater internationalization of the university. Internationalization pervades the department's mandated responsibilities of teaching, research, and service.

Department Involvement

Many faculty members are involved in international research and development projects around the globe, and have been for many years. Many of our graduate students become involved in international work, and Geography currently hosts three large CIDA projects.

The research conducted through the Community-based Research Lab in collaboration with local institutions, for example, works on Participatory Sustainable Waste Management in Brazil's São Paulo metropolitan region, or on co-management fisheries in the marine protected extractive reserve in Arraial do Cabo, Brazil.

Two departmental members are co-investigators in a recently awarded SSHRC-IDRC International Community University Research Alliance (ICURA) based at Vancouver Island University involving work in Tanzania, Ghana, and Canada. All graduate students (9 PhDs, 6 Masters) funded under this initiative will undertake their work in the department.

In addition, several faculty members are actively involved in advising international organizations and overseas governments on various development issues, and their experiences are readily shared with students through their teaching.

Research Centres

Several faculty members also have key roles (e.g., Members of the Executive Committee) with internationally focused research centres on campus such as the Centre for Global Studies and the Centre for Asia Pacific Initiatives.