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Visualizing Climate Change

(March 8, 2010 - Thunder Bay, ON) A $36,000 SSHRC Research Development Initiative Grant has been awarded to a team of researchers from Lakehead University's Centre for Northern Studies.  The team, headed by Dr. Harvey Lemelin and including Drs. Elaine Wiersma, Michel S. Beaulieu, and Martha Dowsley, will work with citizens of the Moose Cree and Mocreebec First Nations.  Approximately 30 community members, spanning from youth to elders, will be given digital cameras to capture images they feel represent climate change in and around their communities. 

As Dr. Lemelin explains, "The purpose of this research and consulting with members of the Moose Cree and Mocreebec First Nations is to identify factors that may contribute to a greater understanding of how they visualize and interpret the impact of climate change on their everyday lives"

The Far North is experiencing unprecedented transformation. "Satellite images, computer modelling, photographs, and videos have all been used to depict and illustrate the impacts of climate change in the Canadian Arctic and the sub-Arctic - images which you and I might perceive as common," adds Dr. Lemelin.  "However, because these images are largely produced by researchers and not by the people of the land, we're expecting to see substantial differentiation between typical research-based photographs and those the community members will take."  Dr. Lemelin anticipates pictures such as construction around the communities, how frequently community members use the grocery store to meet their food needs, or other photos that represent daily life.

The picture-taking component of the project takes place in two phases - one before the ice melts in April/May, and one after the ice melts, in June/July.  Focus groups and interviews will then be conducted and adaptive strategies discussed along with allowing project participants to view the scope of photographs in full and discuss how the material will be used, whether for a book, town mural, website material, or otherwise.

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Media: Dr. Lemelin is available for media interview today.  To arrange interviews, please contact Heather Scott, Communications Officer, at 807-343-8177, 807-472-9113, or commun@lakeheadu.ca; or Eleanor Abaya, Director of Communications, at 807-343-8372 or eabaya@lakeheadu.ca.  

About Lakehead
Lakehead is a comprehensive university with a reputation for innovative programs and cutting-edge research. With a main campus located in Thunder Bay, Ontario and a campus in Orillia, Ontario, Lakehead has over 7,700 students and 2,250 faculty and staff, and is home to the west campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. In 2006, Research Infosource Inc. named Lakehead University Canada's Research University of the Year in the undergraduate category. For more information on Lakehead University, visit www.lakeheadu.ca

Last updated June 22, 2010

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