Initiatives

At the School of Information, we collaborate with partners across UBC, Vancouver and Canada in research and design projects.

Major collaborative projects

SSHRC Partnership Grant (2021-2026)

A multi-national interdisciplinary project aiming to design, develop, and leverage artificial intelligence to support the ongoing availability and accessibility of trustworthy public records by forming a sustainable, ongoing partnership producing original research and training students and other highly qualified personnel.

  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Luciana Duranti
  • Co-Directors: Dr. Luciana Duranti and Dr. Muhammad Abdul-Mageed
  • Associated iSchool faculty: Dr. Jennifer Douglas, Dr. Richard Arias-Hernández, Dr. Victoria Lemieux

Blockchain@UBC is Canada’s largest and most diverse research cluster devoted to blockchain technology.

  • Principal Investigator and Cluster Lead – Dr. Victoria Lemieux

UBC is home to a Designing for People (DFP) research cluster and peer network including over 60 faculty engaged in DFP research, who provide the foundational expertise for this initiative.

  • Associated iSchool faculty: Dr. Eric Meyers, Dr. Luanne Freund, Dr. Julia Bullard, Dr. Lisa Nathan, Dr. Heather O’Brien

SSHRC Partnership Development Grant (2018-2022)

Seeks to improve access to academic research and community-generated materials with a focus on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES). Their goal is to increase the accessibility and impact of research by providing online open access to research with a focus on the DTES, including plain-language summaries, and work with community organizations and residents to digitize community-generated materials.

  • Principal Investigator – Dr. Heather O’Brien
  • Associated iSchool faculty – Dr. Luanne Freund, Co-PI


Faculty research projects

TLEF Grant (2017-2021)

This Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund (TLEF) project will design and test an evaluation framework (i.e. model and data collection instruments) to evaluate community-based experiential learning (CBEL) projects for the Bachelor of Media Studies (BMS).

This evaluation framework will be used to improve CBEL initiatives for students, teachers, and community partners alike. Results of this project should also inform an evidence-based strategy that integrates current independent CBEL initiatives, focused on individual courses, into a single coherent CBEL strategy for the whole BMS.

  • Principal Investigator – Dr. Richard Arias-Hernandez

NSERC Discovery Grant (2018-2023)

This project aims at developing methods to accelerate deep learning of natural language at the level of sociopragmatics (i.e., the meaning of a proposition depends on the social context in which it is uttered). The research attempts to achieve this goal in the context of alleviating serious issues with current deep learning methods (e.g., high costs of labelling data, bias in existing labelled data, lack of diversity in most datasets). The focus of the research program is to bring language technologies to wider demographics across several languages and language varieties.

  • Principal Investigator – Dr. Muhammad Abdul-Mageed

SSHRC Insight Development Grants (2020-2022)

This project will foreground Indigenous and Canadian scholarship and research topics in how we understand subject description in information studies.

  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Julia Bullard

SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant (2021-2022)

In partnership with Out On The Shelves, this project exposes how searching for information about people like you and by people like you is an urgent and challenging task when you are part of the LGBT2QIA+ community, and how standardized approaches used by libraries to make worldwide catalogues efficient and interoperable can be a barrier. This project will explore terminology more appropriate to describe and identify works by and about LGBT2QIA+ people and to create catalogue records that support users who wish to find works by and about people like themselves.

  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Julia Bullard

SSHRC Insight Development Grants (2021-2023)

Naming and categorizing are world-building practices, and as museums sort, define, and exhibit, they rely on outdated terminologies or Eurocentric visions of order. If museums are to work seriously towards repairing these histories, making visible the construction of a bureaucracy created as a tool of oppression is needed. This project aims to build a historical understanding of the kinds of documentation, data legacies, and historical epistemological assumptions that exist in two Canadian museums and plot current challenges to reparative work through case studies and expert interviews.

  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Hannah Turner

SSHRC Insight Grants (2021-2025)

This project critically engages the concept of multimodal anthropology from a decolonial perspective. Since 2018, this team of interdisciplinary scholars, artists and curators have collaborated to support artist Jaad Kuujus (Meghann O'Brien) (Haida-Kwakwaka'wakw) in creative exploration of digital imaging to support the return of her original woven artwork, Sky Blanket, from circulation in contemporary art contexts back to her community for ceremony. Through our close collaboration in digital imaging and 3D scanning, we produced a model and animation of Sky Blanket called Wrapped in the Cloud so that the artwork could be present in two contexts at the same time--the digital animation of the blanket in the gallery and the physical blanket in community. Wrapped in the Cloud helps to show Sky Blanket's connections to Haida and Kwakwaka'wakw origin stories, material qualities of mountain goat wool, and relationships between data infrastructures and land-based practices.

  • Co-applicant: Dr. Hannah Turner

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