The storytellers: two Memorial graduate students named finalists in SSHRC competition

Apr 10th, 2013

Meaghan Whelan

Kirk Luther, Dr. Noreen Golfman, dean, School of Graduate Studies, and Margot Maddison-MacFadyen
The storytellers: two Memorial graduate students named finalists in SSHRC competition

Two Memorial University students are among the top 25 in a nationwide competition to showcase how social sciences and humanities research is positively affecting our lives, our world and our future prosperity.

Kirk Luther, Faculty of Science, and Margot Maddison-MacFadyen, School of Graduate Studies, were selected for their creative and compelling entries to Research for a Better Life: The Storytellers, a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) competition for post-secondary students.

Mr. Luther, currently pursuing a M.Sc. in forensic psychology, is deeply committed to finding innovative ways of protecting vulnerable populations. He submitted a video that uses music, text and imagery to clearly explain his project, Creating a Better Tomorrow: Protecting Youth’s Legal Rights. 

“I’m thrilled to be named as one of Canada’s top 25 storytellers,” Mr. Luther said. “The research that my colleagues and I are doing can have a positive impact on how youth, a vulnerable population, can better understand their legal rights. Presenting my research through mixed media is a great opportunity to make it more accessible to a wider audience.”

Ms. Maddison-MacFadyen is a doctoral candidate in the interdisciplinary PhD program in the School of Graduate Studies. Her research investigates and authenticates the historical dimensions of the enslavement narrative, The History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave, Related by Herself.

A teacher for 18 years, Ms. Maddison-MacFadyen plans to create resources about Prince and her story for pre-service teachers, classroom teachers, and their students, and to find ways to put her story into their hands to be used in social justice and anti-racism education. For the Storytellers competition, Ms. Maddison-MacFadyen submitted a text-based entry based on her work as a research assistant for the Insight Grant-funded book Nin Tshaukuesh: The Diaries of Elizabeth Penashue.

“It is wonderful to bring added recognition to the collaborative team responsible for bringing Tshaukuesh’s stories forward. Dr. Elizabeth Yeoman’s work in translation is especially noteworthy and forward-looking,” said Ms. Maddison-MacFadyen. “The Storytellers is poignant for me because of my interest in narrative theory, particularly the healing effects of story as put forward by Indigenous theorists of narrative. Prince’s stories of enslavement, and Tshaukuesh’s stories of her land and people, are both powerful stories that can change hearts. Stories such as these can stimulate progressive transformation in society. Stories of academic research, therefore, have the potential to change lives for the better.”

The winning entries can be viewed online at

Both students will be travelling to the University of Victoria June 2-3 to deliver their pitch in front of a live audience at the Storyteller Showcase. A jury will choose five final winners, who will be invited to deliver a featured presentation at this year’s World Social Science Forum in Montreal, Que.

The competition is designed to support and promote excellence in research communications across the country.




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