Short and sweet – finalist Storytellers present SSHRC funded research projects in 3 minutes or less

Monday, June 3, 2013

Andrina Fawcett

From left to right: Kirk Luther, Manon Jolicœur, Cheryl Heykoop, Steve Wilcox, Janine Stockford, SSHRC President Chad Gaffield

The Congress 2013 Expo space was buzzing early Monday afternoon as the 25 Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Research for a Better Life: The Storytellers finalists prepared for their presentations. In a pre-performance pep talk, SSHRC president Chad Gaffield confided in the finalists, “it was extremely stiff competition to get here, so you should all be extremely proud of yourselves.”

This is the first year that The Storytellers project has been presented at Congress to share the diverse array of research projects being funded in Canada by SSHRC. The contest invited applicants to submit digital presentations that describe a SSHRC-funded research project that was conducted either by the presenters themselves, or by their professors. Gaffield shared his concerns with the crowd at the top of the presentation: “The idea of challenging people to talk more about projects that make for a better world, how do we do that? What would happen? Would people respond? I can’t talk about my research in 3 minutes! How is this going to work? But we are so energized and inspired. This has been a wonderful adventure.”

Today’s presentations helped to identify the 5 finalists who are to represent SSHRC at the World Social Science Forum in Montreal this fall. The finalists will, as Gaffield describes, “represent us, [SSHRC], and a new way of communicating what we do to make a better future.” To help make the tough decision, judges and acclaimed thinkers Jay Ingram (writer, broadcaster and former co-host of Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet), Shari Graydon (founder of Informed Opinions, and award-winning author, educator and activist), Pierre Normand (Canada Foundation for Innovation’s Vice-President of External Relations and Communications) and Antonia Maioni (Associate Professor of Political Science at McGill University and current president of the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences) were on location to help choose the finalists.

Photo credit: Andrina Fawcett

For more information on The Storytellers, visit Meet the Top 25 on the SSHRC website, and check out the videos below to see the work of the lucky 5 who will be moving on to Montreal.

Kirk Luther of Memorial University profiled his project Creating a Better Tomorrow: Protecting Youth’s Legal Rights, which aims to help change the language and structure of legal waivers so that they are more accessible for youth.

Manon Jolicœur of Université de Moncton highlighted her master’s project, Lire, ça compte!— a “hockey club-reading club” that address the issue of disinterest in reading among young boys.

Cheryl Heykoop of Royal Roads University, and advisor to the International Institute for Child Rights and Development (IICRD), aims for meaningful and humanitarian involvement of young people in post-conflict truth telling.

Steve Wilcox of the University of Waterloo is working on his PhD in game studies and media phenomenology. In his view “ideas don’t exist in a vaccume they are always talking about or with one another”, and aims to present systems that organize data in meaningful ways.

Janine Stockford, University of Alberta asks, what makes a superstar? Janine looks at the sociocultural impacts of what makes up the celebrity status of Canadian superstars Celine Dion and Shania Twain.Check out her pdf submission here.


Congress of the Humanities and Social SciencesCongress 2013SSHRCResearch