Urban Agriculture Project Website Just Launched

Just launched! The Kuching Gardens project website is live. This is a collaborative project between McGill University (Montreal, Canada) and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, or UNIMAS (Kuching, Malaysia). The project aims to examine the realities and possibilities of urban agriculture for Kuching, which is the capital of Sarawak in East Malaysia (on Borneo). Specifically:

  • Where is urban agriculture happening?
  • Why are people growing their own food?
  • Who is benefitting from urban gardening and who is left out?
  • What are the challenges and barriers to growing food in Kuching?
  • How are policies enabling or restricting urban gardens, and what can be done better?

Check out the site, here.

New popular article published on gender, class and ethnicity in marine conservation

I was recently invited to write a popular article for the Stories Section of the GenderAquaFish website, which is supported by the Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries Section of the Asian Fisheries Society. My article outlines resistance to marine conservation policies along lines of ethnicity, class and gender in the Wakatobi National Park in Indonesia, and is based on research recently published in Gender, Place & Culture.

Read the popular article here.

Read the peer-reviewed article here.

AAG 2022 CFP: Teaching Qualitative Methods in Geography

AAG 2022 Call for Panelists

Teaching Qualitative Methods in Geography

Virtual Panel Session

How can we best prepare the new generation of geographers to undertake qualitative research?

Qualitative methods in geography have increasingly gained recognition since the 1980s. As such, dedicated qualitative research courses have become more and more common in geography departments. However, several departments still do not have structured or systematic ways of teaching qualitative methods to students at both graduate and undergraduate levels. We wish to contribute to ongoing discussions about best practices, innovative approaches, and challenges to teaching qualitative methods in geography in various contexts. 

In this panel session, we seek to explore the following topics, among others: 

  • Innovative pedagogical approaches to teaching qualitative methods 
  • Challenges to teaching qualitative methods, particularly in quantitative-focused departments and/or during the COVID-19 pandemic 
  • Benefits and barriers to teaching through experiential learning 
  • Teaching on differing epistemological foundations underlying qualitative research 

Interested participants are encouraged to email a brief statement of interest to Melody Lynch (melody.lynch@mail.mcgill.ca) and Nino Antadze (nantadze@upei.ca) by November 1st. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. 

This session is organized by the Qualitative Research Specialty Group.


Deborah G. Martin (2010). Reflections on teaching qualitative methods in geography, pp. 406-417. In: D. DeLyser, S. Herbert, S. Aitken, M. Crang and L. McDowell (Eds.) The SAGE handbook of qualitative geography. SAGE Publications Ltd. 

Dydia Delyser (2008) Teaching Qualitative Research, Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 32:2, 233-244, DOI: 10.1080/03098260701514074. 

Dydia DeLyser , Amy E. Potter, James Chaney, Stephanie Crider, Ian Debnam, Gentry Hanks, Corey David Hotard, E. Arnold Modlin, Martin Pfeiffer & Jörn Seemann (2013) Teaching Qualitative Research: Experiential Learning in Group-Based Interviews and Coding Assignments, Journal of Geography, 112:1, 18-28, DOI: 10.1080/00221341.2012.674546

Michelle S. Lowe (1992) Safety in numbers? How to teach qualitative geography?, Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 16:2, 171-175, DOI: 10.1080/03098269208709191.

Steve Pile (1992) Oral history and teaching qualitative methods, Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 16:2, 135-143, DOI: 10.1080/03098269208709186.

Documentary Short on Qanuilirpitaa? Inuit Health Survey

In 2017, I travelled on board the CCGS research icebreaker Amundsen to carry out data collection in each of the 14 communities of Nunavik as part of the largest regional Inuit health survey. The recently released CBC documentary short, Qanuilirpitaa? How are we now?, follows the icebreaker–which was converted into a floating clinic–into the North during the survey to explore some of the challenges Nunavimmiut face today. The feature-length documentary will be released next year.

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View documentary short here.

Teaching Environmental Management at Concordia University

This semester, I am teaching an upper-level undergraduate course entitled Environmental Management, in the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment at Concordia University.

This course takes an interdisciplinary approach as we explore the scientific and political angles of environmental management. We trace the evolution of thought that has shaped how we imagine the environment and our role within it. We unpack the ecological, social, economic, political, and cultural dynamics of conservation and management practices. We think about the different stakeholders that are involved, and how science and policy translate on the ground. Through a critical lens, we question assumptions and taken for granted concepts in assessment practices, such as baselines and indicators. Overall, we contemplate different possibilities for sustainable futures, and think about different approaches to getting there.

New publication on intersectional resistance to marine conservation policies in Indonesia

Lynch, M. and Turner, S. (2021). Rocking the boat: intersectional resistance to marine conservation policies in Wakatobi National Park, Indonesia. Gender, Place & Culture. DOI: 10.1080/0966369X.2021.1971630.

Abstract: Much scholarship has stressed the need for conservation initiatives to consider local livelihood realities in order to effectively manage marine ecosystems; however, the gendered implications of marine conservation often remain overlooked. This paper takes a feminist political ecology approach to examine intersectional resistance to conservation policies in one of Indonesia’s largest and most populous marine protected areas (MPAs), Wakatobi National Park. We show that current Park policies and management fail to account for the livelihoods and culture of local ethnic minority fishers. In response, and along lines of gender, ethnicity, and class, ethnic minority fishers resist conservation measures in novel ways. Justified by their moral economy, these include continuing to access natural resources surreptitiously, allying with each other, and critiquing authorities. While many fisherwomen face additional barriers due to local cultural gender norms, they resist by pursuing livelihood activities against their husband’s wishes. A key mechanism for this gendered resistance is increased mobility for women, achieved through their clever use of new infrastructure. Concurrently, Park authorities work to regain control through ‘creative enforcement’ by accepting bribes, intimidating locals, and wasting fishers’ time – techniques that further expose class, ethnic, and gendered frictions. Overall, we find that MPA residents use resources differently across intersectional lines and reveal the extent to which everyday resistance can undermine conservation efforts if regulations ignore local needs. We thus stress the need for an intersectional and multi-scalar approach that is contextualized within local communities and wider infrastructures to improve marine conservation research and policy.

Read the full article here.

New Publication: Defining and Modelling Inuit Social Determinants of Health

As the Project Coordinator for the community component of the most recent regional Nunavimmiut health survey called Qanuilirpitaa? (How are we now?), I am pleased to share that the results of the community component are now published. This research is being used by the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services to identify priorities for a new strategic regional health plan.

In this report, we develop our IQI model, which is built on the concepts of ilusirsusiarniq (having a strong, healthy and capable body), qanuinngisiarniq (feeling of being comfortable, content and without worries or pain) and inuuqatigiitsianiq (harmonious relations among people who share a place). We then outline eight determinants of health in the Nunavimmiut context: community, family, identity, food, land, knowledge, economy and services.

You can read the whole report here.

Fletcher, C., Riva, M., Lyonnais, M.-C., Saunders, I., Baron, A., Lynch, M., Baron, M. (2021). Definition of an Inuit cultural model and social determinants of health for Nunavik. Community Component. Nunavik Inuit Health Survey 2017 Qanuilirpitaa? Quebec: Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services (NRBHSS) and Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ).

New publication on conceptualizing Inuit health

Just published in Social Indicators Research:

Conceptualisation and Operationalisation of a Holistic Indicator of Health for Older Inuit: Results of a Sequential Mixed‑Methods Project

Abstract: Elder Inuit define health as holistic and multifaceted, which contrasts with health-related research where single factor indicators are usually used to measure health in an Inuit con-text. As the number of Inuit elders is growing, indicators derived from an Inuit definition of health are important if health systems are to be inclusive of the realities of Indigenous Peoples and culture. This study explored and operationalised a model of Inuit health in aging that draws from physical, emotional, spiritual, and interpersonal components identified as salient by participants in this research. Qualitative data gathered through two workshops with 21 participants were analysed to identify key dimensions of health from an Inuit perspective. Quantitative data were retrieved from Statistics Canada Aboriginal Peoples Survey (APS; 2006) with a weighted sample of 4450 Inuit aged ≥ 50 years residing across Inuit Nunangat. Using measures corresponding to the dimensions identified previously, Latent Class Analyses were applied to group survey participants into health pro-files to create a holistic indicator of health. Multinomial regressions were conducted with related health and social measures to assess the concurrent validity of the indicator. Health was conceptualised along eight themes: general health balance, mental health, spirituality, not experiencing many activity limitations, being loved and having positive relationships, speaking Inuktitut, and being free of addiction. The holistic indicator grouped participants into three health profiles: (1) good health for most variables; (2) very good perceived and physical health, but poor mental health; and (3) poor health for most variables. Using mixed methods to bridge the concept of health defined in qualitative workshops with quantitative health indicators can contribute to the definition and description of a culturally relevant and sociologically complex understanding of healthy aging in an Inuit context.

Keywords: Cultural models of health, Inuit, mixed-methods, holistic indicator of health, aging

The full article can be viewed online here.

Qanuilirpitaa? Nunavik Regional Inuit Health Survey results are out

Between 2017-2019, I worked as the Project Coordinator for the community component of the most recent regional Nunavimmiut health survey called Qanuilirpitaa? (How are we now?). I am pleased to share that the results are now published on the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services website.

Reports are available on the following themes: mental health and wellness; sociocultural determinants of health and wellness; substance use; iron deficiency and anemia; oral health; respiratory health; unintentional injuries; housing and drinking water; and sociodemographic characteristics.

Researchers from the community component team will also be presenting at this year’s virtual Arctic Change conference, next week! You can view the program here. Look for our paper presentation:

Fletcher, C., Riva, M., Lyonnais, M.C., Saunders, I., Baron, A., Lynch, M. and Baron, M. December 2020. Development of the “IQI” Inuit health model and community-level social determinants of health in Nunavik, Health, Well-Being and the Social Determinants of Health in the North. Arctic Change, Virtual Conference.