ETD (Electronic Theses and Dissertations)

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For information on how to submit your thesis to this collection, please go to our ETD website on the UVic Libraries Website.

Access to the full text of some theses may be restricted at the request of the author.

All theses from 2011 to the present are in this collection, as well as some from 2010 and earlier years.

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    A Sim-to-Real Deformation Classification Pipeline using Data Augmentation and Domain Adaptation
    (2024) Sol, Joel; Najjaran, Homayoun
    Geometrical quality assurance is critical for improving manufacturing time and cost. This is more inhibiting when human operators’ visual or haptic assessment is necessary. Modern machine learning (ML) methods can solve this problem but require large datasets with diverse deformations. However, preparing those deformations using physical objects can be difficult and costly. This thesis uses Blender, an opensource simulation tool, to imitate object deformities and automate the preparation of synthetic datasets. The utility of these datasets is improved using two methods; data augmentation such as background randomization and domain adaptation networks. The background randomization approach provides a way to generalize the image distribution to various environments, whereas the domain-adapted approach provides a better-targeted distribution. This thesis showcases that synthetic data created in Blender can be effective for training deformation classification networks. The discrepancies between real and simulated environments can be mitigated to create models for sim-to-real deformation detection.
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    Experimental Investigation into the Behavior of Geocell-Reinforced Bases under Freeze-Thaw Cycles
    (2024) Huang, Mian; Lin, Cheng
    Freeze-thaw (F-T) cycles significantly contribute to the deterioration of roadways in seasonal frost regions. Among various countermeasures to mitigate F-T damages, the application of geocells for base stabilization has demonstrated its effectiveness in enhancing the F-T performance of road bases due to their three-dimensional stiffening and reinforcing effects. Despite the practical success of the use of geocells in base stabilization, a scarcity of research has focused on qualitative or quantitative evaluation on the benefits of geocells in improving the F-T performance of bases. To address this research gap and assess the F-T performance of geocell-stabilized bases, this study conducted a series of laboratory element and model tests as well as full-scale field tests. This study first introduced the development of a customized model test apparatus capable of performing unidirectional F-T tests and plate loading tests on the geosynthetics-stabilized bases in Chapter 1. Utilizing this apparatus, influencing factors of fines content (Chapter 2), water supply and compaction degree (Chapter 3) were investigated directly. Furthermore, the F-T effect on the mechanical behavior of geocell-stabilized soils was explored through elements tests, serving as a complement to the comprehensive assessment (Chapter 4). A significant portion of this study involved comprehensive full-scale field tests that comparatively investigated the efficacy of applying geocells and geogrid composites in a flexible pavement in Alberta, Canada. This comparison was made across three test sections stabilized with two types of Novel Polymeric Alloy (NPA) geocells and a geocomposite. A full instrumentation program with the design and installation of different sensors such as earth pressure cells, thermocouples, and moisture sensors was introduced in Chapter 5. Short-term testing and long-term monitoring were implemented. Short-term tests included plate loading tests and trafficking tests before and after the first seasonal F-T cycles, while the long-term monitoring focused a 12-month monitoring of soil temperatures, moisture contents and loads transferred to the subbases after open to general traffic (Chapter 6). The results of the experimental tests including element and model tests was field investigations significantly contributed to the understanding of the effectiveness of geocell stabilization in mitigating F-T induced damages, providing insights into the underlying stabilization mechanisms.
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    Ultimement: Fragments d'un discours universitaire
    (2024) McDonald, Callum D. T.; Landry, Pierre-Luc
    [French follows English] In this thesis, the author presents, in the form of a research-creation essay, theoretical reflections on the current situation of writing at the university. How can we continue to write theses and dissertations today, when there are so many threats arrayed against the liberal arts and against human life more generally? This reflection is undertaken with concern for the author’s personal experience (via the practice of autotheory), namely that of physical illness, in combination with an attention to historical examples providing the ethical and political justification for writing under duress. A composite example is probed: the nineteenth century’s total work of art (the Gesamtkunstwerk or Grand projet), through many works and author-biographies taken from mainly French literature, namely Honoré de Balzac, Gustave Flaubert, Charles Nodier, Richard Wagner, Stéphane Mallarmé, Émile Zola, Marcel Proust, and the turn-of-the-century décadents, each addressing the idea of totality through their works in unique ways. Theoretical support is drawn from the Marxist tradition, including from Walter Benjamin, Ernst Bloch, and Georg Lukács, and finally from Fredric Jameson, whose cognitive mapping project, seen as grounds for a new total work of art, is taken as a basis for the thesis’s second part. The author asks how we can write in a mode that will allow us, politically and ethically, to unite ourselves against society’s urgent challenges, to imagine ourselves and our common lot, even though contemporary theory seems to have hitherto only provided justifications and explanations of our division and disunity. This question is phrased again in literary terms: how can we write monumental works of literature, up to the task of facing a “mad century,” when we have no recent examples, in fiction and in life, of such successfully organized monumentality? ... Dans cette thèse, l'auteur présente, sous la forme d'un essai de recherche création, des réflexions théoriques sur la situation actuelle de l'écriture à l'université. Comment pouvons-nous continuer à écrire des thèses et des mémoires aujourd'hui, alors qu'il y atant de menaces contre les arts libéraux et contre la vie humaine en général ? Cette réflexion est menée en tenant compte de l'expérience personnelle de l'auteur (via la pratique de l'autothéorie), à savoir celle de la maladie physique, en combinaison avec une attention aux exemples historiques fournissant la justification éthique et politique de l'écriture sous contrainte. Un exemple composite est exploré : l'œuvre d'art totale du XIXe siècle (le Gesamtkunstwerk ou Grand projet), à travers de nombreuses œuvres et biographies d'auteurs principalement tirées de la littérature française, à savoir Honoré de Balzac, Gustave Flaubert, Charles Nodier, Richard Wagner, Stéphane Mallarmé, Émile Zola, Marcel Proust, et les décadents de la fin du siècle, chacun abordant l'idée de totalité à travers leurs œuvres de manière unique. Le soutien théorique est tiré de la tradition marxiste, notamment de Walter Benjamin, Ernst Bloch, et Georg Lukács, et enfin de Fredric Jameson, dont le projet de cognitive mapping, vu comme fondement d'une nouvelle œuvre d'art totale, est pris comme base pour la seconde partie de la thèse. L'auteur se demande comment nous pouvons écrire d'une manière qui nous permette, politiquement et éthiquement, de nous unir contre les défis urgents de la société, d'imaginer nous-mêmes et notre sort commun, alors que la théorie contemporaine semble jusqu'à présent n'avoir fourni que des justifications et des explications de notre division et désunion. Cette question est reformulée en termes littéraires : comment pouvons-nous écrire des œuvres monumentales de littérature, qui sont à la hauteur de faire face à un « siècle fou », alors que nous n’avons aucuns exemples récents, dans la fiction et dans la vie, où une telle monumentalité a été réussie ?
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    A Novel Approach to PUF-based Hardware Security: Noise-aware Authentication and Key Exchange Protocol
    (2024) Al Far, Hamza; Gebali, Fayez; El Miligi, Haytham
    This thesis proposes a novel approach to PUF-based IoT security. PUFs are used to provide a unique identity to the IoT device using it. However, the authentication process can be undermined by the noisy responses of PUFs. Traditional error correction codes can address this issue but increase system complexity, overhead, and security risks. To overcome these limitations, the study proposes an innovative approach that leverages a statistical analysis technique to extract the relevant information from the PUF response bits, resulting in a strengthened authentication key. The proposed method achieves an innovative authentication and key exchange protocol with enhanced security without traditional error correction codes. The results of evaluating the approach with synthetic PUF data demonstrate a significant improvement in PUF-based security. This study represents a significant step towards enhancing the security of IoT devices, demonstrating the potential of a unique combination of PUF and the statistical analysis approach in addressing the challenges of hardware-based security.
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    Transparent Exopolymer Particles and Phytoplankton Nutrient Physiology in the North Pacific and Arctic Oceans
    (2024) Livingston, Michael; Varela, Diana Esther
    The export of organic carbon from the surface to the deep ocean is a key process that regulates the level of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, and is known as the biological carbon pump (BCP). The efficiency of the BCP is largely governed by biological influences in the upper layers of the water column, including the magnitude of primary production, and the sinking rate of particulate organic carbon (POC). However, these processes are still poorly understood in large parts of the ocean. A key factor affecting the BCP is the presence of transparent exopolymer particles (TEP) in the surface ocean. These particles originate from the exudation of organic exopolymeric substances by marine phytoplankton and form sticky carbon (C) gels that facilitate the aggregation of organic matter. These particles are less dense than seawater and affect the sinking of POC from the surface to the deep ocean, and therefore play an important role in the ocean’s C cycle. The overall objective of this thesis was to quantify key biological factors that affect surface ocean C cycling and to investigate the effects of variation in environmental conditions on the strengths of these factors. Over a 4-year study, I examined the concentrations and rates of production of TEP, phytoplankton nutrient physiology, and contributions of different sized phytoplankton to nutrient cycling in the Eastern Subarctic North Pacific (ESNP), and Pacific and Central Arctic regions. Measurements of TEP and a variety of biological and environmental variables were made across all regions in the ESNP and Arctic, and total and size-fractionated nutrient uptake rates of C, nitrate (NO3-) and silicic acid (Si(OH)4) were additionally measured across the ESNP. The concentrations of TEP were largely correlated with the amount of phytoplankton biomass and productivity, but also by environmental variables such as temperature, mixed layer depth, and nutrient concentrations. We used multivariate models derived from experimental observations measured during this study to produce novel estimates of surface TEP concentrations in the ESNP from 1998 to 2018. Model results show that the concentration of C in the form of TEP (TEP-C) in the surface of oceanic regions of the ESNP is estimated to be between 5-15μg C L-1 year-round. We further measured TEP concentrations relative to C fixation by phytoplankton and export potential (i.e., new production), providing the first quantitative comparison among these variables across large spatiotemporal gradients in the ESNP. Results show that low productivity regimes are characterized by higher concentrations of TEP-C (and higher estimates of TEP-C turnover) relative to C uptake and new production, which suggests these regions may undergo less efficient C export. This thesis presents the first field-based connection between excess C consumption by phytoplankton and TEP concentrations. Size-fractionated measurements reveal that small-sized phytoplankton (< 5 μm) are responsible for most of the nutrient uptake and TEP production in the oceanic and less-productive regions of the ESNP. The contribution of the small size-class to nutrient uptake rates did not appear to be influenced by environmental variations. Overall, this work provides new perspectives on surface ocean C cycling in the ESNP by shedding light on the main predictors of TEP, predicting TEP-C concentrations, and by relating TEP-C to total primary productivity and new production. It is also the first of its kind to measure total and size-fractionated Si uptake over large spatiotemporal scales.
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    Neuronal computations supporting direction selectivity in the mouse retina
    (2024) deRosenroll, Geoff; Awatramani, Gautam
    By the time visual information leaves the eye, it has already passed through multiple layers of neurons organized into feature-selective circuits that work to distill the analogue light signal received by photoreceptors down into diverse spike rate codes in the ganglion cells of the retina, whose axons make up the optic nerve. Taking advantage of the accessibility of the retina relative to the rest of the brain, dissecting these circuits provides great opportunities for the study of neuronal computations. One such circuit is centred around the direction-selective ganglion cell, which spikes robustly when objects move through their receptive field in particular directions and weakly or not at all in the opposite directions owing to inhibition from presynaptic starburst amacrine cells. This is supported by multiple complementary and redundant computations, both in the presynaptic starburst amacrine cells and postsynaptically in the DSGCs. In this thesis, I use computational modelling methods to complement and formalize theories based on empirical studies of these directional mechanisms as well as to form new predictions at the edge of our current understanding of the circuit. I start by modelling the "space-time wiring" directional mechanism involving the systematic distribution of kinetically distinct bipolar cell inputs along starburst amacrine cell dendrites using physiologically derived bipolar release transients for the first time. Then, moving downstream, I demonstrate how the asymmetric wiring of starburst dendrites to DSGCs is sufficient to drive DS spiking, even in the absence of directional release of neurotransmitters from starbursts. After exploring two mechanisms generating direction-selective responses in DSGCs, I focus on improving our understanding of how the non-directional glutamatergic and cholinergic sources of excitation to DSGC dendrites support the reliable computation of direction. I show that the mediation of glutamatergic inputs by voltage-dependent NMDA receptors at low-contrasts enables a context-dependent switch between modes of neuronal arithmetic: nearly flat addition over contrast and tuning-preserving multiplication over direction. Finally, I examine how the multi-directed corelease of acetylcholine alongside GABA from starbursts means that the dominant excitation to DSGCs is highly spatiotemporally correlated with inhibition in the null directions, ensuring reliable suppression of spiking. Overall, this research highlights multiple examples of how circuit structure and function work together to support consistent neuronal computations over space and time.
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    A Longitudinal Investigation of Risk and Resilience in First-Year Sexual Minority Women Undergraduate Students: How Minority Stress and College-Specific Covitality Relate to Positive and Negative Psychosocial Adjustment
    (2024) Prud'homme, Julie; Turner, Brianna
    The first year of university can be especially challenging for sexual minority women (SMW) who, in addition to facing transitional stress, also experience sexual minority stressors because of their sexual orientation and sexual violence because of their gender. Yet, first-year SMW undergraduates remain an understudied population, suggesting significant gaps in our understanding of their lived experiences and psychosocial needs. Accordingly, the overall purpose of the current dissertation, which includes two standalone journal articles, was to understand better SMW students’ experiences with possible risk factors (i.e., minority stressors) and university-based strengths (i.e., college-specific covitality), as well as their associations with negative and positive psychosocial adjustment (i.e., psychological distress, positive wellbeing) throughout their first year of university. Article 1 sought to identify trajectories of minority stress and psychosocial adjustment across SMW’s first two academic semesters and to examine the unique short-term influence of minority stress on SMW’s psychosocial adjustment during that transitional period. Article 2 explored college-specific covitality, as measured by the College Student Subjective Wellbeing Questionnaire (CSSWQ; Renshaw & Bolognino, 2016), and investigated the CSSWQ’s within-person and between-persons psychometric properties in first-year SMW undergraduates. Altogether, this research addressed several gaps in the literature by (a) adding to the scant literature on SMW’s psychosocial needs, (b) extending the study of minority stress in SMW undergraduates, (c) establishing the appropriateness of the CSSWQ for longitudinal use as well as the applicability of the underlying college-student covitality model in a sample of first-year SMW, (d) identifying possible strengths that could be amplified at the university level to encourage more positive psychosocial adjustment in SMW, and ultimately, (e) moving toward a more strengths-based understanding of sexual minorities’ psychosocial adjustment to university.
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    Ecologizing the Chinese Countryside: The Rural Fix for Urban Sustainability in the Lower Yangzi Delta
    (2024) Zhang, Yucong; Marton, Andrew
    This dissertation examines the phenomenon of ecologization, the proliferating construction of ecological spaces (eco-spaces), which have emerged in densely populated rural areas of the lower Yangzi Delta mega-urban region in response to the sustainable development agenda and Chinese policies of ecological civilization. Drawn from the Chinese word shengtaihua (生态化), ecologization is used in this study to conceptualize the various ways ecology is interpreted and implemented in the Chinese context, as it challenges established discourses, practices and roles of spatial design disciplines which seek to address the goals of sustainable development and the ideologies of ecological civilization. The analysis of ecologization also provides a design perspective in understanding rural and urban transformation under strong environmental and cultural governance in China. Based on the interplay between environmental protection and urbanization, the process of ecologization is essentially a form of urbanization, modernization and civilization that radically transforms the spatial and social fabric of rural landscapes in the lower Yangzi Delta. As a national prototype for green and ecologically integrated development, ecologization in the lower Yangzi Delta may soon be widely adopted in the entire country, causing great loss of cultural landscapes, social sustainability and rurality in the Chinese countryside. Through extensive fieldwork, semi-structured interviews and document analysis, the dissertation illustrates how the interpretation of national environmental and ideological mandates among local planning elites in China has resulted in particular processes and patterns around the development and construction of eco-spaces. Detailed analysis of the ways spatial design disciplines interpret, implement, and govern eco-spaces highlight how ecologization across rural areas of the lower Yangzi Delta has become the fix for challenges of urban sustainability. A key finding of the research is that to fix urban sustainability statistically and aesthetically, two strategies—eco-metrics and eco-culture aesthetics —were devised by local planning elites to implement environmental and ideological tasks. Eco-metrics were achieved as top-down administrative tasks irrespective of spatial conditions, while eco-culture aesthetics composed new narratives of the rural landscapes as a continuation of culture and tradition. The evidence illustrates how ecologization is detrimental to social and environmental sustainability in rural areas. In the process, genuine social sustainability and pre-existing spatial conditions were largely disregarded, and village rationality, which maintains rurality and rural sustainability in the context of a globalized economy and rural urbanization, was lost. This outcome is inconsistent with the stated goals and rhetoric of indicator-based measurement methods of sustainable development and ecological civilization. Another key finding highlights strong cultural assertions in ecologization deliberately intended to reinforce the Party’s ideological influence, to ensure collective social value towards ecological civilization, and to harmonize conflicts between rural and urban, and local interests and national policies. Moreover, ecologization in the lower Yangzi Delta deployed spatial design disciplines as a tool to legitimize implementation of both environmental and ideological goals in eco-spaces and the surrounding countryside. Such forward-looking outcome-based approaches and the near total disregard of authentic local historical, social and cultural processes, is part of a spatial design approach that is consistent with the Party-state’s intention to wholly restructure spatial and social forms. The dissertation concludes by arguing that in-depth research and consideration of historical, contextual, and social processes must be undertaken to ensure spatial design disciplines can make meaningful contributions to genuine sustainability. Such sustainable planning and design should also be integrated into policy-making processes and be independent from administrative hierarchy and local power dynamics. The strategies and implications of ecologization in other parts of China, or in other cultural and political contexts could be further examined in comparative research.
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    The Second Wave: The Impact of Digital and Open Practices on Faculty Scholarship in Higher Education
    (2024) Kehoe, Inba; Irvine, Valerie; Siemens, Raymond George
    One of the noblest duties of the university is to enable and encourage “intellectual endeavour, valuing scholarship for its own worth and fostering a collaborative spirit in the furtherance of society” (Enabling Open Scholarship, 2016). The advent of the World Wide Web and ancillary advancements in technology have not only opened up scholarship for greater access, but created a transformation in the scholarly practice. The challenges faculty experienced in adopting new practices were examined and whether they straddled all domains of scholarly practice (e.g., research, teaching, and service), how universities measured impact and quality in this new publishing landscape, and what benchmarks existed for evaluating these forms of non-traditional scholarship. In this study, a phenomenographical approach was employed to understand the impact open scholarship practices have had on academic scholars employed at a university in Western Canada. An embedded triangulation mixed methods design approach was used for this multiphase study to obtain different but complementary data on the lived realities of scholars at the University. Phase 1 included a survey using an explanatory sequential design. After the data collection and analysis were completed, individual in-person semi-structured interviews were conducted. Phase 2 of the study included the analysis of a selection of primary university documents related to tenure and promotion. Finally, a joint analysis approach was used to present the findings from the mixed methods study (i.e., quantitative and qualitative studies). Six themes emerged from the study that highlighted ways participants conducted research (access to research and tools used), their adoption of open intentions and initiatives and use of social media platforms and social networks, accountability and transparency of university policies and guidelines, types of research outputs produced, and criteria for faculty evaluation. Based on the implications from these findings, five recommendations were offered for enacting change: establish administrative accountability, make all tenure and promotion documents openly accessible, broadly define scholarship, broaden the scope of impact, and develop a values-based framework model for assessment.
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    Spatial and Seasonal Variability in Eukaryotic Phytoplankton Composition in the Arctic Ocean Revealed with Metabarcoding Analysis
    (2024) Crawford, Rebecca M. B.; Gawryluk, Ryan; Varela , Diana Esther
    Rapid environmental shifts in the Arctic Ocean have brought increased attention to its biodiversity. Environmental changes in the Bering and Chukchi Seas are especially concerning, as these regions are among the most productive in the world’s ocean, and their fisheries contribute to both local and global food systems. Predicting the impacts of climate change requires understanding biodiversity at the base of the food web, including eukaryotic phytoplankton, and the environmental drivers affecting them. This study evaluated the variability in the structure of phytoplankton communities at spatial and inter-annual scales (2021 and 2022) in the Bering and Chukchi Seas in the Pacific Arctic Region, and at a seasonal scale (September 2019 to July 2020) in Cambridge Bay in the Canadian Arctic using metabarcoding of the V4 18S rRNA gene. The community structure of eukaryotic phytoplankton exhibited both strong spatial and temporal trends, and was influenced by temperature and nutrient concentrations, as well as by sea ice extent and thickness in the Pacific Arctic Region. The chain-forming diatoms Chaetoceros and Thalassiosira were responsible for the high phytoplankton biomass of this region and were associated with temperatures below 1 degree C, and high nitrate concentrations, aligning with previous observations. The community composition also varied from year to year, with the picoprasinophyte, Micromonas, and the prymnesiophyte, Phaeocystis, contributing to a larger proportion of the overall phytoplankton community, particularly in surface waters, in 2022 compared with 2021. In addition, several potentially toxigenic algae, including Alexandrium, Aureoccocus and Pseudo-nitzschia were present in the Pacific Arctic Region and were generally associated with warmer temperatures. In Cambridge Bay, there were distinct seasonal changes in phytoplankton community structure, including a polar winter community dominated by dinoflagellates, a spring under ice community dominated by Phaeocystis, and a late spring/summer community composed largely of Micromonas with an increase in Chaetoceros by July with the onset of sea ice melt. Ultimately, findings from this work add to the growing body of knowledge on phytoplankton community structure in dynamic Arctic icescapes. Findings from metabarcoding analysis in the Pacific Arctic Region corroborate previous observations that diatoms are driving the phytoplankton biomass in July and provide a higher resolution of their taxonomic placements. The year-long investigation in Cambridge Bay indicates that continuous sampling strategies capture finer scale variation in phytoplankton community structure that was lacking from our Pacific Arctic interannual dataset. These types of sampling strategies should be incorporated to monitor other productive and vulnerable Arctic Regions.
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    Catalyzing Local Climate Action: Can Regional Collaboration Support Transformative Change?
    (2024) Pearce, Katherine Rebecca; Shaw, Karena
    The urgent threat of climate change demands an unprecedented scale of transformation, calling for new ways of thinking about how institutions can address the challenge. A multiplicity of responses at various scales have emerged, including the burgeoning role of local governments, which have a key role to play in effective climate policy and implementation, yet also face barriers that can constrain climate action. As well as lack of capacity and resources, political will, and institutional challenges, local governments are constrained by geographical scales and tiers of governance, as climate action and impacts frequently extend beyond jurisdictional boundaries. This study sought to address a critical gap in knowledge related to regionally coordinated climate action in Canada, integrating insights from an interdisciplinary set of literature and building upon O’Brien’s (2018) three spheres of transformation framework in order to draw out the potential for regional collaboration to support transformative climate action. Specifically, the study aimed to identify the primary barriers to advancing climate action in the Vancouver Island and Coastal region of British Columbia from the perspective of local government staff and elected officials, and to explore whether and how these barriers could be more effectively navigated through regional scale collaboration. Data were collected through 15 semi-structured interviews and thematically analyzed to identify climate action barriers and enablers. The study revealed key barriers in three thematic categories – resistance, capacity, and governance, with barriers related to resistance and governance being more deeply entrenched but also offering greater opportunities to leverage transformational change. Mapping these barriers onto O’Brien’s three spheres suggests a need to move beyond behavioural changes and technologies to target deeper leverage points related to systems, structures, and the personal sphere in order to achieve the transformational change required to respond to climate change. The study illuminated potential actions at various scales of governance to address resistance, capacity, and governance challenges. Collaboration, a significant enabler at the regional scale, offers the opportunity to address barriers to climate action through supporting horizontal and vertical alignment on policy and communications, sharing resources, building capacity and using existing capacity more effectively, supporting personal and collective resilience, and advocating collectively for needs. These findings indicate strong potential for catalyzing action through greater coordination at multiple governance scales, including the regional scale, providing hope that a collaborative approach might help to unlock necessary transformative change.
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    Bridging the divide: An inquiry into post-secondary decolonization policy and practice
    (2024) Plante, Veronique; Riecken, Ted
    Post-secondary institutions in BC, Canada, continue to engage with reconciliation objectives and processes of decolonization, practices which are detailed in a growing body of literature, and which are informed by various developments and documents (e.g., the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act). Policy for these processes is diverse and ongoing. This dissertation aimed to understand some of the ways that policy and practice are connected in one Faculty at one post-secondary institution—the University of Victoria—using Narrative Inquiry. I interviewed administrative and teaching professionals to gain insight into some of the practices facilitating reconciliation and decolonization pathways. My findings included identifying policy as a relational process involving multiple interested parties—educators, administrators, and students, and involved policy as fluid, and dynamic from its creation to its implementation or enactment.
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    Narratives of Language, Health, and Identity: Pursuing well-being through Indigenous language revitalization
    (2024) McCreery, Dale; Saxon, Leslie; Huang, Li-Shih
    Over the past two centuries, the Indigenous communities of western Canada have faced monumental changes in the context of colonization and racism. While a small portion of these changes have been negotiated by these communities themselves, most have been imposed, resulting in rapidly changing identities and decreasing levels of well-being. One of the most prominent changes in the social domain has been the experience of language loss caused by practices and policies at Indian Residential Schools, and their aftermath for individuals and communities. For many communities the loss of voice is inseparable from several other significant experiences of disempowerment, all of which have left indelible marks on Indigenous identities. Within this context, today’s language activists are working to revitalize Indigenous languages, not simply to restore a symbol of identity, but for the much larger goal of undoing impacts of disempowering colonial experiences and narratives. This study argues that the methods involved in Indigenous language reclamation and resurgence should reflect the goals of building well-being for individuals and communities. It reviews how the formation and maintenance of Indigenous identity connects language and communication practices to well-being. It examines the undermining and replacement of practices that support well-grounded and agentive Indigenous identities, and then turns to what communities are doing in order to reverse these changes and restore agency and connection. Finally, it looks in depth at how similar programs can be adopted within the field of Indigenous language revitalization, including several concrete examples from the author’s specific context as an Indigenous person with wide experience in language documentation and as a teacher of the Nuxalk and Michif languages, ranging from curricula to unit plans to lesson plans to supporting resources and ways to adapt various common teaching methods. This study shares the author’s personal critical reflection on the use of methods and resources designed to increase the agency of learners, as well as reflections on how to develop and use materials and methods that also increase learners’ sense of security as Indigenous people and establish their grounding in place, in community, and in practice.
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    Understanding climate risks facing housing finance stakeholders in British Columbia: Interview-based empirical evidence
    (2024) Howley, Julia; Rhodes, Katya; Majerbi, Basma
    The effects of climate change are yielding unprecedented extreme weather events in British Columbia. The impacts of these climate changes are felt across many sectors, including the housing finance sector. This study seeks to gain an understanding of how physical climate change risks are manifesting in British Columbia (BC)'s housing finance sector and impacting homeowners and homebuilders, and to uncover potential market failures, with a goal of developing recommendations for policy and regulatory responses. Methods comprise conducting eighteen (18) in-depth semi-structured interviews with stakeholders, including: homeowners, construction industry representatives, mortgage insurers, insurance industry representatives, financial lenders, real-estate industry representatives, academic researchers, data providers, and financial and technical regulators. Interview findings focus on gaps or inefficiencies in BC’s housing finance ecosystem covering five key themes: (i) assessing and pricing risk, (ii) lender risk concerns and disclosures, (iii) improving data, modeling, and transparency, (iv) insurance accessibility (v), and adaptation education and incentivization. Based on interview findings, this study recommends policy and regulatory interventions be explored to address the gaps and market failures present within BC's housing finance ecosystem. Recommendations include expanding current and emerging adaptation policy and risk disclosure regulations, improving risk awareness, investing in data and modeling capacities, encouraging cross-collaboration between stakeholders, setting industry standards, incentivizing adaptation measures, and prioritizing risk mitigation.
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    La saison des pneus. Recherche-création en littérature relationnelle
    (2024) Trahan, Cédric; Landry, Pierre-Luc
    Ce mémoire en recherche-création se penche sur l’émergence d’une littérature dite « relationnelle », en opposition à la fois aux écritures blanches du modernisme et à l’ironie postmoderne. Par la participation de communautés ou de personnes ne s’identifiant pas comme des artistes, cette littérature déploie une nouvelle manière de penser le texte, l’éthique et le politique. En examinant le transfert de la notion « d’esthétique relationnelle » (Bourriaud) des arts visuels vers le champ littéraire, je montre comment la littérature conjugue une pratique alterpolitique du terrain littéraire à une éthique du care. Je présente ensuite une analyse d’œuvres collaboratives, dont le collectif Le cœur au beurre noir, le beau-livre Rebâtir le ciel de Simon Émond et de Michel Lemelin, ainsi que La patience du lichen de Noémie Pomerleau-Cloutier, montrant ainsi l’impact de la collaboration sur la poétique et l’énonciation. Un recueil de poèmes narratifs, intitulé La saison des pneus, constitue la partie création. J’ai mené avec mon père une série d’entrevues et d’ateliers portant sur l’apparition de son acouphène et de ses problèmes de surdité, à la suite de 20 ans de travail dans un garage. J’ai ensuite adapté cette démarche relationnelle en deux trames narratives interdépendantes : le récit intime et biographique de mon père – de la perte auditive au port d’appareils auditifs – et la documentation de l’expérience de création comme telle, où l’on voit comment le projet affecte le lien entre l’artiste et le collaborateur, entre un père et son fils. In this research-creation thesis, I explore the emerging notion of “relational literature”, which stands in opposition to the aesthetics of modernism and postmodernism. Defined by its collaboration with amateurs and communities, relational literature introduces novel perspective for contemplating the interdependence of text, ethics and politics. Following an examination of Bourriaud’s relational aesthetics and its application to the literary field, I illustrate how literature merges the alterpolitics of fieldwork and collaboration with an ethics of care. Subsequently, I provide an analysis of collaboration works, including the collective Le cœur au beurre noir, the artist’s book Rebâtir le ciel by Simon Émond and Michel Lemelin, as well as La patience du lichen by Noémie Pomerleau-Cloutier, emphasizing the impact of collaboration on poetics and enunciation. A narrative poetry collection, La Saison des pneus, constitutes the creative component of this thesis. I conducted a series of interviews and workshops with my dad, during which we discussed the progression of his tinnitus and hearing problems, following 20 years of full-time work in a garage. I adapted the creative process into two intertwined storylines : my dad’s intimate biography – chronicling the journey from hearing loss to the adjustment to hearing aids – and the documentation of our relational experience. In this context, I observed how the project transforms the connection with the artist and the participant, namely between a dad and his son.
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    Gwalxyee’enst: Love and Refusal as Felt Research with Gitxsan Youth
    (2024) Mowatt, Gina; Mucina, Mandeep Kaur
    Suffering caused by historical and ongoing settler colonial violence in Indigenous bodies, communities, Nations and territories cannot be addressed by neoliberal western narratives of healing or wellness. Drawing on felt Indigenous feminist and queer theory, this dissertation engages the question: how we can do ethical and liberatory research with Indigenous youth relating to wellness and self-representation? This research centres an arts- and community-based project on Gitxsan homelands, in Northern British Columbia, conducted in partnership with Kinship Rising, a SSHRC funded community-engaged research project focused on Indigenous youth reclamation and wellbeing. The central themes of this research, which inform and are informed by workshops with Gitxsan youth and community members, are community reclamations of power, agency, groundedness, joy, resistance, refusal and love, based on an anti-colonial and liberatory framework. This project engaged 100 Gitxsan elementary school children in applied workshops and arts-based activities to support the creation of a large outdoor mural to honour the Gitxsan Nation’s pride, connection and resurgence at the elementary school. Calling for Indigenous felt arts-informed processes in research, this dissertation brings into question reductive, neoliberal approaches to Indigenous youth wellness by analysing dominant discourses of individualized and depoliticised healing; and instead centers Indigenous youth resistance, joy and continuity in the face of colonial violence.
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    Niitsitapia’pii – Improving Well-Being in Blackfoot Youth Through Niitsi’powahsin (Speaking Blackfoot Language)
    (2024) Crowshoe, Lisa; McIvor, Onowa
    Niitsitapia’pii – Improving Well-Being in Blackfoot Youth Through Learning Niitsi’powahsin, begins with the premise that Indigenous language learning can improve youth well-being. Niitsi’powahsin is speaking the language of the Blackfoot people. Niitsi’powahsin is a powerful means of connecting to Niitsitapia’pii (Blackfoot values and ways of knowing). This researchexplores a method for Blackfoot youth to improve their well-being while learning values-based Niitsi’powahsin. Blackfoot Elders and Knowledge Keepers chose a Niitsitapia’pii value and offered an accompanying values-based Niitsi’powahsin language lesson. Each recordingincluded an introduction, values-based language lesson, and related story (personal, traditional, historical). The audio-recordings were used to create podcasts. For Piikani Elders and Knowledge Keepers, this was a new way to combine Niitsi’powahsin language lessons, Niitsitapia’pii – values-based learning, and storytelling. The voices of the Elders and Knowledge Keepers are shared in the podcasts, additionally responses to questions are written in this dissertation. Upon completion of the language podcasts, Blackfoot youth were selected to listen to and respond to the podcasts. Their responses to the podcasts are shared thematically in the dissertation. Blackfoot youth responses were overall positive however, the technological aspect of the podcasts required improvements such as sound quality. It is the intent of this Indigenous language revitalization research to provide a method for Blackfoot youth to connect with language – Niitsi’powahsin – in a way that would explicitly teach a Blackfoot value in the larger context of Blackfoot storytelling.
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    Feeding Our Spirit: Connecting Plants, Health, Place and Identity. Renewing Ethnobotanical Knowledge in the Skwxwú7mesh First Nation
    (2024) Joseph, Leigh; Mathews, Darcy; Cuerrier, Alain
    In a time of Indigenous Resurgence, interrelationships with culturally important plants are key to the health and well-being of Canadian Indigenous Peoples. I work with my home community of Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) First Nations in British Columbia. My research is conducted within the context of the Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) crisis in Indigenous communities across Canada. Type 2 Diabetes is five times higher than the general population and diagnosis is happening at younger ages. Drawing on theoretical and methodological approaches in ethnobotany, ethnobiology, and Indigenous Studies— and framing health and wellness from a Skwxwú7mesh perspective that considers physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health—I answer four interrelated questions: How might developing an indigenizing and decolonizing approach to ethnobotany move the field forward to the benefit of the communities we work with, and situate the discipline as a positive contributor to Indigenous cultural-political resurgence in Canada? How can culturally important plants help connect a person’s sense of health (physical, spiritual, and emotional) to place? What do the connections between plants, health and place mean to the participants themselves? What role do culturally important plants play in developing approaches to addressing T2D from an Indigenous conceptualization of health viewpoint? These questions emerge from overarching themes and priorities that have Skwxwú7mesh expressed in initial discussions and consultation. The results of this study will inform the Skwxwú7mesh First Nations practices on culturally rooted approaches to health through rebuilding Indigenous plant relationships. The results of this work also provide a framework for other Indigenous communities interested in reconnecting with their traditional plant practices and addressing Type 2 Diabetes in a culturally relevant way.
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