2017 Community Research Engagement Award

The municipality of Trinity Bay North has been named the 2017 recipient of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences’ Newfoundland and Labrador Community Research Engagement Award.

The community was nominated for the award by economic geography masters student Nicholas Lymer, who conducted fieldwork in the area between April 2014 and March 2015. His thesis details the modern changes to Port Union in response to 1992’s cod moratorium, the transition into a shrimp processing economy, the amalgamation into Trinity Bay North and the closure of the plant in 2010 after Hurricane Igor.

“I can’t imagine a municipality more supportive of research in their region,” said Mr. Lymer. “My research relied on the rich life histories of individuals to create a detailed analysis of the impact of industry restructuring at the local level. I could not have conducted my primary research without the countless hours volunteered by members of the municipality.”

Local knowledge was absolutely key to Mr. Lymer’s research – even down to finding who worked at the plant during what period and how to get in contact with those workers.

“The impressive memories of helpful individuals were critical for enlisting research participants. I relied on their mental databases of names and unlisted phone numbers to contact people that have lived or worked in Port Union at different times over the last 25 years,” said Mr. Lymer.

Mr. Lymer (who is on track to graduate in the fall of 2017) initially had a difficult time as an outsider getting people to open up but spending time at the Sir William Ford Coaker Historic Foundation in the middle of the historic district of Port Union put a stop to that impediment. Becoming a familiar face to active community members who utilize the centre allowed him to build the relationships so necessary to effective fieldwork.

“We are very grateful for this endorsement of our municipality by Memorial University’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences,” said Edith Sampson, executive coordinator at the Sir William Ford Coaker Heritage Foundation. “Trinity Bay North is honoured by this award and we thank Nicholas for the nomination.”

The Coaker Foundation recently also received $30000 in funding to develop a new art space in Port Union.

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences’ Newfoundland and Labrador Community Research Engagement Award was established in 2013 to recognize a community or place within the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, which has been an instrumental partner in research completed by an HSS faculty member(s) and/or graduate student. The research must have taken place within the last five years and have made a positive difference in the community.


Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000