Dr. Heather Hall joined the Department of Geography's as a postdoctoral fellow last in September, after receiving a one-year fellowship from the Harris Centre. She came to Memorial straight from Queen's University, where she received her doctorate. Heather recently received an Arts Postdoctoral Fellowship for 2014-2015 so she will be staying on with the department for an additional year.
Heather was kind enough to answer a few questions in the midst of all of her research.
How would you describe your research interests?
I have a passion for all things regional development. Over the last several years, I’ve been involved in research and policy projects focused on: creativity and innovation in peripheral and rural regions; land-use planning in slow growth and declining cities; and regional development in Northern Ontario.
I recently completed my PhD dissertation, “Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The Politics of Regional Development Initiatives in Northern Ontario”, in the Department of Geography at Queen’s University. My research was focused on understanding the political strategizing and contestation of regional development initiatives in Northern Ontario. This region has had a long history of federal and provincial regional development initiatives responding to economic challenges and a deep sense of territorial grievance and discontent. Empirically, my research provides a rich history of these initiatives in Northern Ontario since the 1960s. Theoretically, it contributes to debates on the conceptualization of regions and regional development including the politicization of boundaries and the paradox of regional development institutions.
What do you plan to do for your postdoc at Memorial?
I am working with Dr. Rob Greenwood (Executive Director of the Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development) and Dr. Kelly Vodden (Associate Professor - Research, Environmental Policy Institute – Grenfell Campus) on issues related to governance, innovation, regional development and labour mobility in Newfoundland and Labrador.
What are you looking forward to most during your year-long stay at Memorial?
I am excited to work with researchers, policymakers, and communities across the province on pressing regional policy issues. This is a really dynamic time to be studying regional development in NL and across Canada due to changing socioeconomic circumstances, political shifts, and austerity measures. I also think there are many important lessons that can be shared between NL and Northern Ontario and I look forward to exploring these lessons in more detail.
What attracted you to this opportunity at Memorial?
I had the opportunity to work with the Harris Centre in 2010 and I fell in love with the province. I was attracted to the prospect of being engaged in research that is relevant to the policy issues confronting communities in Newfoundland and Labrador. I was also drawn to the exciting research interests of many of the professors and students in the Geography Department at MUN.
Where can people read more about your research?