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Dr. Sharon Taylor

Johannes M. Lampe, Minister of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, Nunatsiavut Government; Dr. Sharon Taylor

Associate Professor
School of Social Work
Coughlan College
Memorial University
P: 709-864-8151

Sharon Taylor, PhD, is Associate Professor at Memorial’s School of Social Work. She is past project director of the Nunatsiavut School of Social Work Program. Dr. Taylor has had extensive experience working with Aboriginal and First Nations communities throughout Canada. Most recently she has worked with the Nunatsiavut Government on the Community Healing Project. She co-chairs the Steering Committee for the Atlantic Aboriginal Economic Development Integrated Research Program (, and chairs the Research Subcommittee for AAEDIRP. The main purpose of AAEDIRP is to improve the knowledge base concerning Atlantic Aboriginal economic development in order to improve the lives of the Aboriginal people in the region. It is a unique research program formed through partnerships between the 38 member communities of the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs, Nunatsiavut, 12 Atlantic universities, and 4 government funders.


Sharon grew up on the Southwest Coast of Newfoundland in the community of Rose Blanche. She graduated from MUN with a BA in Political Science in 1974, and immediately began working with MUN’s Extension “Community Learning Centre Project”. She was awarded her BSW from MUN in 1980 and her MSW from the University of Toronto in 1981.

Dr. Taylor completed her PhD in Sociology at Memorial in 2001. Her research compares meanings of community in everyday life for people living in a Southern Shore community on Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula, with the meanings found in scholarly literature and in government documents produced in association with The Atlantic Groundfish Strategy (TAGS). She draws on Dorothy Smith’s feminist theory, which starts from “lived experience” as well as the socioeconomic context of that lived experience as an entry point to illuminating the ideological nature of documents and their links to ruling relations. She uses Smith’s notions of resilience and emergent consciousness to demonstrate that the historic oppressive practices of the ruling group are re-mobilized in TAGS, reflecting society’s patriarchal and capitalist ideology generally and government ideology more specifically. She shows the insights of ordinary social actors into the conditions of their existence. Her argument is that these concepts are integrally related to community research and development, as well as policy development.

Dr. Taylor has had a leadership role in international development at Memorial University since 1988. Her work began with a Memorial University partnership with Srinakharinwirot University (SWU), Thailand, during the period of 1988-1998. She employed gender in development models to assist in the creation of a poverty reduction initiative, assisted in building a graduate program in international development at SWU, and co-developed a women’s co-operative in Thailand and a women’s centre at SWU. She created the first MUN social work international placement exchange with Srinakharinwirot University during this period. She went on to build partnerships focusing on feminist approaches to community social and economic development, women’s educational programs, and social work programs with universities in countries such as Zanzibar, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Dr. Taylor was part of the planning process for the UN Conference on Women in Beijing, 1995, and was instrumental in fundraising for the Newfoundland and Labrador Women’s Economic Network’s cultural and social presentation “Women Healing Oceans” at the UN Conference in Beijing. The Women’s Economic Network contingent, consisting mainly of women from rural Newfoundland and Labrador, were recognized as delegates by the United Nations for the NGO forum of this conference. A video of their presentation entitled, “We are the Leaders”, was circulated by the UN Conference Planning Committee to participating nations.

She has also worked in partnership with many international centres focusing on human rights including: the East-West Centre at the University of Hawaii, the Islander Centre in Tennessee, the Haldane Society of Lawyers in the UK, and the Tribhuvan University Centre for Human Rights in Kathmandu. These partnerships focused on strengthening peoples’ initiatives to overcome economic and social oppression and poverty.

One example of such a partnership was the “Report to British Parliament on the International Fact Finding Mission on the Plights of British Ghurkha Soldiers and their Families,” by Dr. Sharon Taylor; Ian MacDonald, QC; Edith Ballantyne (Secretary General of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom); and Gopal Siwakoti (Director and Associate Professor, Tribhuvan University Centre for Human Rights, Kathmandu). This report was submitted to British Parliament in 2006. As a consequence, the UK legislation regarding the Ghurkha army was reformed to include equal pay, pension and benefits for Ghurkha soldiers.


Dr. Taylor's research interests include: research as empowerment; development of culturally appropriate community based research models and methodologies to address colonization, racism, social justice and human rights, access to and inclusion in decision making related to economic and social resources as well as exploring models and methodologies for creating meaningful partnerships among universities, communities, governments and their agencies, non-governmental agencies and private sectors to build local, national and global agendas for human rights and social justice. She recognizes that empowerment as research includes: resilience, resistance, spirituality, traditional culture, traditional knowledge, cultural teachings and traditional practices.

Awards and Recognitions

Dr. Taylor’s achievements have been acknowledged both nationally and internationally:

In 1992, Governor General Ramon John Hnatyshyn awarded Dr. Taylor with the Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada in recognition of significant contributions to compatriots, community and to Canada.

She was appointed by the Deputy Attorney General of Canada, John H. Sims, as a member of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Board in 2005.

Dr. Taylor was appointed by the Newfoundland and Labrador Government to the Professional Fish Harvesters Certification Board from 1998-2009.

She has received visiting scholarships from such eminent universities as the University of Hawaii, Lakehead University, and the University of Bergen.

Dr. Taylor was bestowed an award by the Vietnamese Government in 2007, for her role in the successful completion of the CIDA funded poverty reduction project.

She was presented with an award by the Ghurkha Army Ex-Servicemen’s Women Organization (GAESWO) in 2006, for her contribution towards the UK’s legislative reformations.