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Small Grants Program

Every year, the Centre for Human Rights Research offers a Small Grants program to help University of Manitoba Faculty get new, interdisciplinary human rights research projects off the ground. Small grants may be used to assist in connecting you to other researchers and/or community groups, offering funding for student research assistance, providing organizational or administrative assistance, and offering start-up financial support.


Dr. Merissa Daborn

Indigenous Studies ($2,500)

Dr. Daborn’s Small Grant project will examine privacy violations in the context of grocers posting images of suspected shoplifters, with the aim of contextualizing these violations within the human rights landscape to ensure that ongoing and intensifying media coverage of food theft does not continue to serve as a distraction from larger social issues that are actually impeding individuals access to food.

Dr. Bruno de Oliveira Jayme

Education ($2500)

Dr. de Oliveira Jayme’s Small Grant project will assess how graphic novels might surface the intersection between substance use disorder and lack of access to water and sanitation, dispel public biases, and inform local harm reduction policies in the city of Winnipeg.

Dr. Christine Mayor

Social Work ($2,500)

Dr. Mayor’s Small Grant project will explore the ways in which carceral logics are embedded within and literally embodied by “the helping professions” of drama therapy and social work, with the goal of disrupting these logics towards embodying more liberatory and abolitionist practices and ways of interacting. Read the article now.


Dr. Sean Carleton

History ($2,500)

Dr. Carleton focused on residential school denialism, exploring mainstream media’s reporting on unmarked graves at the site of the Kamloops Indian Residential School. View Report.

Dr. Nancy Kang

Women’s and Gender Studies ($550)

Dr. Kang will explore the role of women in Korean shamanic tradition (mugyo) using an Asian American feminist lens.

Dr. Lindsay Larios

Social Work ($2,246)

Dr. Larios explored the barriers to healthcare access for international students and their families in Manitoba. You can read the full report “Healthcare is a Human Right: International Students Speak Out on Healthcare Inaccessibility in Manitoba” published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – Manitoba.

Cutouts of orange t-shirts are hung on a fence outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, in Kamloops, B.C., on Thursday, July 15, 2021. The TkÕemlœps te SecwŽpemc First Nation released a report outlining the findings of a search of the property using ground-penetrating radar which found the remains of 215 children buried near the former school. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Cutouts of orange t-shirts are hung on a fence outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, in Kamloops, B.C., on Thursday, July 15, 2021. The TkÕemlœps te SecwŽpemc First Nation released a report outlining the findings of a search of the property using ground-penetrating radar which found the remains of 215 children buried near the former school. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck


Dr. Derek Johnson

Anthropology ($2,500)

Working with a multi-departmental team Dr. Johnson has received a grant to provide support to a Manitoba First Nation for research on their residential school legacy.

Dr. Lilian Pozzer

Education ($2,500)

Dr. Pozzer’s project Raising Awareness of Science and Human Rights in Manitoba Schools engages a group of Bachelor of Education Year 2 students, their cooperating teachers (CT) and high school students in schools across Winnipeg and surrounding areas in an exploration of the rather turbulent history of science and human rights from ancient times to the present day, from a perspective that considers both science and human rights within social, cultural and historical contexts, and highlights the contributions of science to human rights causes.


Dr. Lara Rosenoff Gauvin and Camille Callison

Librarian ($2,500)

Tea Around the Fire: Sharing Knowledge on Best Practices for Community-Centred Repatriation

Gathering knowledge and best practice recommendations from local, national and global experts on Indigenous rights and repatriation for an online interview video series. The University of Manitoba is identifying the ancestors in its care and beginning to build relationships with Elders and Indigenous leaders towards the establishment of a UM Advisory Circle and Elders Circle to guide repatriation efforts.


Dr. Fabiana Li

Anthropology ($3,000)

The Right to Food and Community Gardening in Winnipeg

The COVID-19 pandemic caused disruptions in the food system that have sparked interest in growing food in home and community gardens. This research investigated the concept of “Victory Gardens” (food gardens popularized during wartime) as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, using the Meadowood Victory Garden in Winnipeg as a case study. The research examined the potential of using the city’s green spaces, water and infrastructure to grow food for urban residents during the pandemic and beyond.

Dr. Nadine Bartlett

Education ($2,420)

Restraint and Seclusion in Manitoba’s Schools: A Violation of the Human Rights of Children with Disabilities

Dr. Bartlett conducted an anonymous online survey of parents of children and youth with disabilities about the use of restraint and seclusion in Manitoba’s schools. The survey was developed and disseminated through disability advocacy organizations in Manitoba with assistance from Inclusion Winnipeg. This project aimed to: provide a comprehensive picture of the use of restraint and seclusion with individuals with disabilities in Manitoba’s schools; identify positive, proactive alternatives to the use of restraint and seclusion; and provide recommendations for educational policy development.

The right to food and community gardens in Winnipeg thumbnail


Dr. Shepherd Steiner

School of Art ($5,000)

Lidwien van de Ven: Living On

Dr. Steiner worked with the journal Mosaic and the School of Art to feature the work of Dutchphotographer Lidwien van de Ven, who documents human rights issues related to immigration and the refugee crisis in Europe. Her March 2017 exhibition and lecture at the University of Manitoba contributed to Steiner’s research on photography, ethics and rights.

Dr. Adele Perry

History ($3,000)

Water, Winnipeg and colonialism

Dr. Perry expanded her research on the history of Winnipeg, settler colonialism and drinking water, in solidarity with Indigenous and water activists. She contributed an essay to a collection of critical perspectives on Canada’s 150th birthday. She is also researching the relationship between the Greater Winnipeg Water District and the Cecilia Jeffrey residential school, which was located near the Winnipeg aqueduct’s intake from 1901 to 1929.

Many people walking on the street at night

Archives 2012–2015

Dr. Jocelyn Thorpe, Women’s and Gender Studies ($3,000)

Conversations Toward Reconciliation

Dr. Thorpe will work with University of Manitoba students and the 4Rs Youth Movement that brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous young people in order to share stories and perspectives and to work toward a future in which mutual respect between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples is foundational. The group is developing a toolkit that can be adapted to different locations where young people come together to reconcile/decolonize their relationships. A University of Manitoba workshop will test and help refine the toolkit.

Dr. Cathy Rocke and Dr. Regine King, Social Work ($3,000)

What Does Reconciliation Mean to Newcomers Post Truth and Reconciliation Commission?

The objectives of this pilot study were to: determine how new Canadians understand reconciliation with Aboriginal peoples subsequent to the release of theTruth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada report, in order to inform how to move forward with reconciliation efforts; and to articulate examples of reconciliation actions that may be taken to enhance mutual respect and harmony between Aboriginal people and new Canadians.

Dr. Jerome Cranston, Education ($2,000)

Schooling for Social Change in the Shadow of Intractable Conflict

Cranston interviewed diaspora teachers who work in schools in refugee and/or resettlement camps in Nepal (Bhutanese refugees) . The goals of the research study were to: determine what the concept of peace means to these teachers, describe the conceptual models of peace education these teachers use and explain how teachers in refugee camps employ a pedagogy for peace that involves and engages diaspora refugee youth.

Dr. Melanie Janzen and Dr. Jerome Cranston, Education ($2,670)

Examining the outcomes of the 2014 Summer Institute: The fourth R: A global perspective on teaching and leading human rights education

The summer institute was designed as a collaborative venture between two University of Manitoba Education professors (Jerome Cranston and Melanie Janzen) and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. The institute drew extensively from experts from various academic disciplines and traditions outside of Education to examine the theories, topics and issues in relation to human rights education, particularly within the context of the establishment of the CMHR. This study examined the effects and effectiveness of the summer institute from the perspectives of the students who participated in the course, the experts who were invited to present on a range of human rights topics and issues, and the instructors who co-ordinated and co-taught the institute courses.

Prof. Brenda Gunn, Law ($2,300)

Members of an expert working group formed in response to gaps in the Brian Sinclair inquest worked on a preliminary research report drawing on existing research to analyze systemic discrimination against Aboriginal people in the health-care system. They have developed recommendations to address issues not covered in the inquest report.

Prof. Cathy Rocke, Social Work ($1,879)

Intergroup Dialogue: Paths to Reconciliation

Intergroup dialogue is a way to decrease conflict and create peace between different identity groups. Intergroup dialogues typically include small groups of individuals evenly split between two different social identities that meet over a sustained period of time and are co-facilitated by trained individuals who represent those same identities. In 2014, CHRR supported the development of an intergroup dialogue curriculum, modelled on a well-established U.S. curriculum, that reflected the history of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal relations within Canada. This curriculum was used successfully in an 2015 intergroup dialogue between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal undergraduate students. The curriculum will be used again in an intergroup dialogue scheduled for fall 2016. Research on the efficacy of the intergroup dialogue within a Canadian campus setting utilizing this curriculum is ongoing.

Prof. Aimée Craft, Law ($3,951)

Action Framework on Murdered and Missing Women

This project aims to put families first in developing an Indigenous framework for action on the issue of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls. Craft is collaborating with Diane Kelly, executive director of Ma Ma Wi Chi Itata and former Grand Chief of Treaty 3. Following an endorsement of the approach by the Assembly of First Nations Chiefs in Assembly, the project will move to the next phase of development. Craft and Kelly will work collaboratively with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak and the Southern Chiefs Organization on the development of an Indigenous legal framework of inquiry.

Dr. Regine King, Social Work ($8,410)

Documenting Women’s Rights in Rwanda: A Pilot Study

Gender-based inequalities remain a major human rights issue in low-income countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Nowhere is this more evident than Rwanda, where the 1994 genocide left many women destitute and physically and emotionally wounded or disabled. Although Rwanda has made efforts to establish laws and policies to advance women’s rights and has set up strategies for gender-mainstreaming, there is a lack of knowledge on the ways in which local communities are addressing women’s rights.

This project will document the implementation of women’s human rights in two communities (rural and urban) in the Southern Province of Rwanda. The CHRR grant will cover travel costs and accommodation and pay two research assistants who will help with data collection and transcription. This project will contribute to the writing of a larger grant application to: 1) develop evidence-based interventions to challenge barriers preventing women from exercising equal rights, and 2) link policies and practices that promote women’s rights and empowerment at economic, social, and political levels. Other outcomes will include a peer-reviewed manuscript on the community mapping method as well as a manuscript on the substantive study findings.

Dr. Diane Driedger, Disability Studies ($2,440)

Documenting the History of the DisAbled Women’s Network (DAWN) Canada, 1990 to the Present

This project documents the human rights struggles of women with disabilities through the DisAbled Women’s Network (DAWN)Canada, the only organization composed of and directed by women with various disabilities in Canada. The grant provided funds for Driedger to travel to archival sites in Montreal and Alberta and to meet with key informants. This project will contribute to the writing of a book on the history of DAWN and the issues of women with disabilities. Issues include attitudinal and physical barriers that block the full participation and equality of women with disabilities in every area of life: employment, relationships, having a family, access to buildings, and access to primary health care etc.

Dr. Zana Lutfiyya and Dr. Karen SchwartzFaculty of Education ($2,400)

How People with Intellectual Disabilities Understand “Human Rights”

Human beings live in a world of contradictions. Nowhere is this more evident than in the area of human rights for people with intellectual disabilities. Despite numerous documents promoting their rights, the voices of people with intellectual disabilities themselves have been largely silent. The purpose of this project is to bring people with intellectual disabilities into the debate. This project will be the first step in better understanding the perspectives of people with intellectual disabilities on the issue of what human rights mean to them and how they may or may not be exercised in everyday life.

Dr. Thomas Falkenberg, Faculty of Education ($1,900)

Human Rights and Well-Being in Schools

This research study is part of the first phase of a larger research project aimed at developing and applying a research-informed and community-supported index of well-being for Canadian schools. The index will be designed to assess the well-being of students in terms of their experiences in schools and their education for living a flourishing and meaningful life. This initial research study aims to identify a link between well-being and human rights, in particular a possible link that makes a human rights perspective integral to assessing students’ well-being in schools. Using a Delphi study design, this research project brought together a panel of experts on human rights, and human rights of the child more specifically, to establish a relative consensus among the panelists on the role that human rights play in an adequate conceptualization of well-being in general and for students in particular.

Dr. Jerome Cranston, assistant professor, Faculty of Education ($2,400)

Documenting Human Rights in Education: The Barefoot Teachers Initiative

Centre for Human Rights Research startup funds supported the initial development of a series of short documentary films.Documenting Human Rights in Education: The Barefoot Teachers Initiative explores the non-traditional processes that are used to prepare “unqualified” adults to teach some of the world’s most disadvantaged learners. The film, shot in and around Kolkata, India, offered viewers the opportunity to develop a greater understanding of non-traditional pre-service teacher preparation. It will also become a catalyst for international and cross-cultural collaboration on discussing the right to an education by a qualified teacher, and examining potential solutions to the global challenges posed by preparing a teaching workforce for some of the most challenging of social conditions.

One of the films in the series was screened at the University Council for Educational Administration’s 2014 film festival in Washington.

Dr. Shawna Ferris, assistant professor, women’s and gender studies ($2,900)

This grant supported travel for a group consultation with the Vancouver-based Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence Society to develop a creative and political vision for the edited collection Sex Work Activism in Canada published in 2019. Ferris had already written the book Street Sex Work and Canadian Cities: Resisting a Dangerous Order (2015), with a forward by sex worker activist Amy Lebovitch.

Dr. Michelle Honeyford, assistant professor, language & literacy, Faculty of Education ($3,700)

Writing for Social Justice and Human Rights: Critical Conversations to Create Collaborative Writing Projects in Manitoba

This project will engage in coalitional literacy work with educators to: 1) identify interdisciplinary partners interested in collaborating to develop writing projects for/as social justice and human rights; and 2) facilitate an action research forum March 22, 2014, at Robson Hall for dialogue and planning. The research is guided by two key questions: What are the social justice and human rights issues that matter to us in our local and global communities and how can we create pedagogies that engage learners as democratic citizens in this work? What structures, networks and resources need to be developed to facilitate this process?

This project led to the establishment of a series of summer institutes for teachers.

Dr. LeAnne Petherick, assistant professor, Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management ($700)

Learning from the Past, Planning for the Future: Developing Culturally Relevant Physical Education

The “fit” body has a history; a Canadian history that is part of a system of oppression and colonization. The historical significance of colonial practices of physical training changed people’s relationships with their bodies, communities and land. Using archival data, the focus of this project is to examine the impact of physical training on those who attended Indian residential schools and the role sport and physical competition, as a historical component of Indian residential schooling, played in shaping the lives of First Nations people.

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