Nov. 24 – Starting a Conversation with Bethany Presley: How do smaller Canadian cities address homelessness with limited funding and resources?

Please join us for the next Starting a Conversation discussion series!
These noon hour discussions are an informal opportunity for presenters and audiences to explore a variety of topics and works-in-process. Everyone is welcome!

To receive the Zoom link, please email:


Homelessness is growing in smaller cities across Canada. Planning to tackle homelessness is increasingly prevalent, but we know little about how the service sector in smaller Canadian cities strategize and addresses homelessness with limited funding and capacity. This lack of knowledge at both the academic and community level means agencies and stakeholders in smaller communities have limited resources in mitigating homelessness. Using a community-engaged research methodology, my research explores the optimal ways of ending and managing homelessness in smaller Canadian cities using Vernon, BC, as a case study. My research aims to investigate how Vernon’s social service sector has organized to address homelessness, to provide other smaller Canadian cities with a set of best practices in mitigating homelessness with limited funding and capacity. My research will fill the knowledge gap by examining the challenges and successes of developing homelessness policies in smaller Canadian cities with a population size of less than 50,000.


Bethany is in the second year of her MA in Community Engagement, Social Change, and Equity at UBCO. She also holds a BA in Communication Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University. Prior to her graduate studies, Bethany was an Academic Program Assistant at the University of Guelph where she worked alongside faculty and grad students in the School of Languages and Literatures.

Bethany relocated to the Okanagan in the fall of 2020 for her graduate studies at UBC. She connected with the Social Planning Council for the North Okanagan at the beginning of her studies, who became a key community partner in her research. Through this partnership, Bethany collaborated with the social service sector in Vernon to better understand how they have organized to address homelessness in the community.

Her goal is to destigmatize homelessness by bringing awareness to the perils and causes of this social issue and advocate for the policy changes needed to address the growing problem of homelessness in smaller Canadian cities.

Dec. 1 – Truths, Myths, and Kelowna’s Transportation Master Plan

Wednesday, December 1, 2021
7:00 pm

Climate Change, Urban Sprawl, Habitat Destruction, Sedentary Lifestyles …

These issues and many more are connected to our land use choices, and those choices are heavily influenced by the way we build and manage our transportation infrastructure. Kelowna is in the final stages of developing its transportation master plan, a plan that is a critical part of addressing these issues.

Join The Kelowna Sustainability Coalition and ICER to hear from three experts on how the proposed TMP intersects with the important values provided by our landscape and
environment here in Kelowna.

To register for this Zoom event email:

Dr. Gord Lovegrove Transportation Success Stories with Radical Results
Gord Lovegrove, Associate Professor of SMARTer Growth, UBC School of Engineering
SMARTer Growth Partnership
Dr. Andrea Craig Housing Impacts
Andrea Craig, Assistant Professor, Economics, Philosophy and Political Science, UBCO
Urban Economist
Kelowna’s Transportation Plan: Visions and Realities
Peter Truch, Senior Transportation Planning Engineer and Small Business Owner
Kelowna, BC

This will be a Zoom event, moderated by Dr. John Janmaat, and with a Q & A session.

Everyone is welcome to attend.

Apr. 21 – Starting a Conversation with Alanna Coady

How do shame and social support impact depressive symptoms for people living with chronic pain?

Wednesday, April 21,
12 Noon – 1 pm

Please join us for the next Starting a Conversation discussion series! These noon hour discussions are an informal opportunity for presenters to and audiences to explore a variety of topics and works-in-process. Everyone is welcome!

Please register via to receive the Zoom link.


Approximately one in five adult Canadians lives with chronic pain. Sixty percent of those with chronic pain also experience depression. Depressive symptoms related to pain increase with experiences of social invalidation, such as discounting the legitimacy of one’s pain, yet little is known about the affective mechanisms that link invalidation to harmful mental health outcomes. This study is the first to investigate shame as an affective pathway through which social invalidation can lead to depressive symptoms in the context of chronic pain. It also examines whether social support can protect against these harmful effects. As the first study carried out in partnership with The Bill Nelems Pain and Research Centre (BNPRC), the largest pain clinic in the BC Interior, this project involved developing and implementing the clinic’s research infrastructure, which can be used for future studies with pain populations in the Okanagan. By exploring how patients with pain seek and access formal and informal social support and what kinds of support they find most and least helpful (e.g., online forums, peer support groups), this work highlights peers with pain as an important but understudied resource of support to mitigate feelings of shame. Results will help to identify whether shame poses a promising treatment target for individuals with pain and inform psychotherapeutic and support group services within the network of BC community pain clinics associated with BNPRC.


Alanna Coady is currently completing her MA in Clinical Psychology at UBC Okanagan. Her research focuses on moral emotions as affective determinants of health, linking social relationships to mental and physical health outcomes. She is interested in research that can be translated into effective treatment services for those coping with chronic illness. Her work is supported by SSHRC and the Institute for Community Engaged Research.


March 23 – ICER is hiring!

Be our videographer this summer!

Deadline: April 16, 2021

The Institute for Community Engaged Research (ICER) has a Work Study opportunity this summer with our University / Community Video Speed Dating project.

May 1 – Aug.30
20/hrs / week (340 hrs total)

The project:
Working with the ICER director and coordinator, and under the mentorship of UBC Studios Okanagan, the student will contribute to part 1 of this project and work on background research and video profiling:

1A). The student will conduct physically-distanced video interviews with representatives from fifteen Okanagan-based community organizations to profile their work and identify their research needs.

1B) The student will produce short video bios of fifteen ICER members, these will highlight their current research interests and areas of expertise. These ICER member videos will sit on the institute’s website and be used in social media to introduce and connect researchers, students and potential community partners.

The student will be supervised by ICER Director, Dr. Jon Corbett, and ICER Coordinator, Joanne Carey and will be further mentored in the technical aspects of video production by our partner in this project UBC Studios Okanagan. The student will be responsible for co-planning, conducting and editing the video interviews. NB: The student’s safety will be paramount, and the style and design of the video will depend on best safety protocols at the time. For example, instead of face-to-face interviews, the videos could include the use of stock photos, audio, and video media.

Ideally, the student will have some video, audio and/or photography experience. The student should be comfortable with operating and maintaining the technology and be willing to learn new skills as required. The student must be an upper level undergrad or graduate student with excellent coordination and communication skills (i.e. be willing to state needs and ask for more information). To be a great fit for this position, the student must have a genuine curiosity about community engaged research and a willingness to work with ICER’s community partners. They will need an enthusiasm for meeting new people, and discovering and sharing stories. They must be confident enough to contact new people, set them at ease in front of a camera and converse openly. Time management and collegiality are also key attributes.

To apply: 
Follow the steps on the UBC Okanagan student & alumni career board.

If you know a student who would love this job, please share this opportunity with them.
Any questions? Please email


Feb. 9, 2021 – Starting a Conversation with Kelly Panchyshyn: Can food foraging offer avenues for advancing community cohesion?

Join us on Tuesday, Feb.9, from noon to 1 pm for our next Starting the Conversation discussion. This will be an online Zoom event, so please email to register.

The question for discussion: Can food foraging offer avenues for advancing community cohesion?


The practice of harvesting wild plants and fungi is an integral part of the health, culture and economy of Whitehorse, Yukon. In a 2017 municipal survey of residents, almost 60% of respondents indicated securing a portion of their food from foraged sources (City of Whitehorse 6) . Yet, strategies for the protection of wild harvest are seldom addressed in local food and land planning. Drawing on the methods of community-based research, my project examines the impact of omitting harvest from planning and what it would mean to chart a new course. In partnership with Kwanlin Dün First Nation, I asked: how the regions ongoing legacy of colonization has shaped its resident’s relationship to the practice of wild harvest and to each other, and; what tensions and opportunities exist within the convergence and divergence of Indigenous and non-Indigenous foodways? Our research reveals that decision to exclude harvest not only harms northern and Indigenous food security but exasperates conflicts around wild resources and spaces rooted in colonial and patriarchal power dynamics.  However, it also demonstrated that wild harvest supports have the potential to advance community cohesion. With this, we set out to explore food solutions that better account for the region’s unique geographical, political, historical and cultural landscapes. My presentation will dive into these findings, with the aim of ‘starting a conversation’ around what it means to confront injustice and promote well-being through food and land planning.


Kelly researches within the Traditional Territories of Kwanlin Dün First Nation and Ta’an Kwäch’än Council and ancestral lands of Tagish Kwáan, in a region known locally as Chu Lin, but widely recognized as Whitehorse, Yukon. To the Indigenous Peoples of the area, she is recognized as Guch’an meaning ‘people of the clouds’, indicating that she is a settler in the region.

In 2017, Kelly received a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Studies, from UBCO. Following graduation, she successfully applied for the Jane Glassco Northern Fellowship. As a Fellow, her research focused on the ties between food security and regional identity. Her desire to build on this research, led her to pursue a Master’s in Community Engagement, Social Change and Equity. In the spring of 2020, she received an ICER scholarship, along with funding from SSRCH and the NSTP in support of her work.


Jan. 21 Starting a Conversation with Dr. Mary Stockdale: Engaging Okanagan Communities in Climate Action

Join us on Thursday, Jan.21, 2021 from noon to 1 pm for our first Starting the Conversation of the year.  This will be an on-line discussion, so please email to register for a link.

The question for discussion will be: How can we effectively engage our Okanagan communities in climate action?


In order for government at all levels to take the actions needed to address urgent and ambitious climate targets, a broad social mandate is necessary – one that reaches across divides to avoid political polarization. To achieve this mandate, government, civil society, and other actors need to invest in higher quality and quantity of public engagement on climate change. These efforts need to be tailored to the particular community that is being engaged. In this ‘Starting A Conversation’ event, Mary will outline what constitutes effective climate engagement at the community level, drawing from the research evidence base as well as her experience in training and implementing a climate ambassador program in collaboration with the City of Vernon, where over 30 ambassadors were trained to reach out to their particular community networks, ultimately reaching over 1000 people (and counting).


Mary, a Lecturer in Human Geography at UBCO, has made addressing climate change her central concern. She recently returned from living in the UK on sabbatical leave (2019-2020); while there, she volunteered as coordinator of videographers a two week Extinction Rebellion event in London last October, and began her current part-time work at Climate Outreach in Oxford as project manager for an ambitious international project called the Climate Engagement Initiative. Locally, she has acted as Co-Chair for the Climate Action Advisory Committee (CAAC) of the City of Vernon, who have just released a draft Climate Action Plan for community engagement.

ICER Student Scholarship Deadline extended to Friday Jan.15.21

The ICER Student Scholarship was originally due, Wednesday, Jan.13.21, at midnight; however, we’re extending the intake to Friday, Jan.15 at midnight.

The online application can be found here.

The application asks for contact info for yourself as the student applicant, the community partner, and an academic referee (NB – no reference letter is required ) and the following questions:

  1. Providing the working title for your project.
  2. Briefly summarize your research and your research question. Identify how you intend to collaborate and work with your community partners. (max 250 words)
  3. Describe what research methods you intend to use, and explain why? (max 150 words)
  4. How will you report back the findings of your research to the community? (max 150 words)

There will be 3 scholarships of $1000 each awarded. The scholarships are meant to support students as they conduct their community engaged research (regardless of what discipline or theme they are in).

If you have any questions, please email:

Announcing the inaugural Institute for Community Engaged Research Community Grant

The Institute for Community Engaged Research (ICER) is awarding two $2,500 grants in 2021 to encourage community organizations to conduct Community Engaged Research (CER).

The purpose of the grant is to support community organizations to undertake a research project in collaboration with members of ICER. Our hope is that the grant will help to answer questions that are of importance, and build closer ties between the Okanagan community and ICER members.

For the purposes of this grant, CER is understood to be:
– Research that is done collaboratively between community partners and researchers;
– That the research question is of importance to, and impacts the wellbeing of the community; and
– That the research results are shared with the community.

For examples of community engaged research, please visit the ICER website

Application Deadline: Wednesday, January 27, 2021 (midnight)

– Applicants must be a community organization with a bank account in their name;
– They must be based in and do their work in the Okanagan Region;
– Propose a project that aligns with the principles of CER outlined above; and
– Must work with an ICER member or ICER affiliated student (and the commitment to this project must be confirmed by that individual)

Following the completion of their research project, recipients will present at ICER’s lunchtime discussion series to share their research process and findings. The names of the recipients will be published in the ICER newsletter and social media.

The application is online.

Questions may be directed to:

Dec. 2 – Starting a Conversation with Norah Bowman: Mapping Whiteness and White Supremacy on Unceded Syilx Territory in the Central Okanagan.


As a result over a century of colonial policies, laws, and practices, the Okanagan Valley has become a cultural space in which whiteness is associated with regional citizenship. By regional citizenship, I mean the Okanagan associations of valley land-ownership, access to local capital, and participation in leisure and pleasure culture. In my recent research on land use in the valley, I have found repeated examples of the presence of BIPOC in the Okanagan Valley. Farmers, families, and workers from China, Japan, Jamaica and India have been part of Okanagan valley
settler culture for over 100 years. As well, this land is the unceded home of the Syilx Okanagan Indigenous people, whose knowledge and cultural contributions should form the idea of regional

So why do people say “Kelowna is so white”? What is the effect of this kind of statement? And how can we trouble it? One idea I have is mapping the movement, presence, forced relocation, and cultural and economic contributions of BIPOC in this valley, and seeing how Central Okanagan Whiteness is a result of purposeful white supremacist culture. Let’s talk!

Norah Bowman, PhD, is a professor at Okanagan College. She is Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies and teaches English Lit as well as Gender, Sexualities, and Women’s Studies. Norah is a school board trustee in school district 23. Her book of poetry and prose about Okanagan Mountain will be published with Caitlin Press in 2021.

Join us for the next talk in ICER’s Starting a Conversation series on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020 from 12 noon to 1pm. This presentation will be via Zoom.
To register, please e-mail: by Dec. 2 at 10 am.

Nov. 15 – Starting a Conversation with Liam King: Digital Wellness Project for Young Indigenous Men

Digital Wellness Project for Young Indigenous Men

The identity of young Indigenous men is extremely important to their ability to live happy and healthy lives. However, little is known about how young Indigenous men use digital media to develop their identity and the impacts this has on health and wellness.

This project seeks to bring together young Indigenous men in a community-based participatory project to understand the ways that digital media may be influencing their identity, health and wellness. We will be co-researching with a small group (~6) of young Indigenous men (<30 years old) who are undergraduates at UBC Okanagan to empower these men to create and answer questions related to their digital media use, identity, and health and wellness. The knowledge created from this project will be used to create future Indigenous Digital Wellness projects that seek to promote the development of positive identities within Indigenous youth.

This is a CIHR-funded project being run in partnership with Aboriginal Programs and Services Center at UBC Okanagan.

Liam R. King, BSc., is a Cree-Metis scholar currently completing his MSc., specializing in Indigenous Health and Wellness. Liam’s research interests include community-based participatory research with young Indigenous people’s and investigating the intersections of digital media, Indigenous identity, gender, health and wellness.

Liam is also one of three recipients of the 2020 Institute for Community Engaged Research Scholarship.

To register, please email: by 11:00 am Nov. 18.