Articles by author: Samantha Morris

  • Policy brief by Geography and Tourism Studies professor explores youth employment in Niagara

    A joint research brief on youth employment in Niagara was launched by Brock University’s Niagara Community Observatory (NCO) and the Niagara Workforce Planning Board (NWPB) on March 20, 2018.

    The brief, “Youth in Niagara: Highly Skilled, Highly Mobile,” examines education and employment data from the 2016 census, as well as local job demand data, to build a snapshot of the work Niagara’s youth are doing.

    This policy brief was authored by Geography and Tourism Studies professor, Jeff Boggs and co-authors Adam Durrant and Thalia Semplonius.

    Read more in the articles below, or download the policy brief.

    Comprehensive youth employment strategy planned for Niagara (Niagara This Week)

    Youth report
    Photo from Niagara This Week.

    Youth employment research brief to launch Tuesday (The Brock News)

    Photo from The Brock News.

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  • New open-access paper by Geography and Tourism Studies professor, Dr. David Butz

    A new open-access paper on “The Epistemological and Ethical Value of Autophotography for Mobilities Research in Transcultural Contexts” is now available online. This paper is co-authored by Geography and Tourism Studies professor, Dr. David Butz.

    This article responds to calls from mobilities scholars for methodological innovation and reflexivity by (a) detailing our use of autophotography in a study of the everyday implications of a newly-constructed road for a small community in mountainous northern Pakistan, and (b) assessing autophotography’s attributes as a visual/narrative method for mobilities research in that setting, on ethical and epistemological grounds. We demonstrate that autophotography’s anti-objectivist epistemology of vision and participant-driven character, the portability and easy user-interface of compact cameras, and the inseparable mix of visual and narrative data the method produces, combined to attenuate epistemic injustice in our research, while also generating productive insights regarding the movements, representations and embodied practices our research subjects associate with the road. These points are developed with reference to literature on visual methods, mobile methods and subaltern autoethnography, as well as to the visual/narrative representations produced by study participants. The article concludes by exemplifying how research subjects used the road and its associated mobilities as discursive resources for the constitution of collective identity: to position their community in relation to modernity and tradition, to distinguish the community from its neighbours, and to articulate worries about the consequences of rapid social change.

    Read the full paper.

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  • New open-access paper by Geography and Tourism Studies professor: “Graphic Narratives, Trauma and Social Justice”

    A new open-access paper on “Graphic Narratives, Trauma and Social Justice” is now available online. This paper is co-authored by Geography and Tourism Studies professor, Dr. Ebru Ustundag.

    In this paper, we explore the relevance of graphic novels to understanding and responding to the complex nature of traumatic experiences. We argue that graphic narratives of trauma, which combine visual images and written text, significantly differ from biomedical and legal accounts by presenting the nuances of traumatic experiences that escape the conventions of written testimony. Building on the literature that integrates social justice concerns with visual methods and graphic medicine, we contend that graphic narratives effectively convey the complexities of traumatic experiences, including embodied experiences that are not always apparent, intelligible, or representable in written form, leading to greater social recognition of the dynamics and consequences of trauma. To illustrate this claim, we analyze Una’s Becoming Unbecoming (2015), a graphic novel that explores themes relating to trauma and social justice. Una relies on the graphic medium to explore the interconnections between personal and collective experiences of gender-based violence, and to show how physical embodied experience is central to her own experience of trauma. Graphic narratives like Becoming Unbecoming also offer a space for addressing the emotional, physical and financial costs of survivorship that usually are not available in legal written testimonies, potentially leading to better justice outcomes for trauma survivors in terms of social intelligibility and recognition, and access to social resources for healing.

    Read the full paper.

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  • Geography and tourism students travel to South Algonquin Township for internship

    On February 9, 2018 three of our internship students, Sam Olson, Taran Lennard and Cam Rolz, travelled to South Algonquin Township with Dr. Chris Fullerton to facilitate a discussion about Economic & Tourism Development in the area. Read more in the article below.

    Neighbours seek economic and tourism development


    Neighbours seek economic and tourism development
    Photo from the Madawaska Valley Current

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  • Brock to host ‘smart cities’ discussion

    WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 31, 2018 | by 

    The Brock community is being asked to bring innovative ideas to the table that could see Niagara transformed into a smarter region.

    A roundtable discussion will be held on campus Friday, Feb. 2 to get a dialogue going about ways to help local municipalities become smart cities — communities that use data and technology to create efficiencies and economic development, improve sustainability and enhance quality of life for residents.

    Held from 2 to 4 p.m. at Pond Inlet, the public event is organized by Niagara Centre Member of Parliament, Vance Badawey, and Brock’s Department of Geography and Tourism Studies.

    The talk will focus on the Smart Cities Challenge issued by Infrastructure Canada, which calls on communities across the country to bring forward their best ideas for improving the lives of residents through innovation, data and connected technology.

    All feedback collected during the discussion will be submitted to the Niagara Region for its Smart Cities Niagara survey.

    While not required, registration for the event is recommended and can be done online.

    Article reposted from The Brock News.


    Categories: News

  • Achievements of Geography and Tourism Studies professors and students recognized by FOSS

    The Department of Geography and Tourism Studies would like to congratulate our professors and students who were recognized last week by Brock’s Faculty of Social Sciences at their annual Celebration of Excellence.

    • Dr. Julia Baird, Assistant Professor (Canada Research Chair, Human Dimensions of Water Resources and Water Resilience)
    • Dr. David Butz, Professor (Brock SSHRC Institutional Grant)
    • Dr. Michael Pisaric, Professor (NSERC Discovery Grant)
    • Dr. Kevin Turner, Assistant Professor (Canada Foundation for Innovation John R. Evans Leaders Fund)
    • Dr. Ebru Ustundag, Associate Professor (Ontario Undergraduate Students Alliance Teaching Excellence Award)
    • Katelyn Pierce, MA in Geography student (Ontario Graduate Scholarship)
    • Connor Dingle, MA in Geography student (Best Major Research Paper)

    Read the full story on the Brock News.

    Graduate student award winners and their supervisors and mentors were among the honorees at the Faculty of Social Sciences Celebration of Excellence. From left, Dawn Zinga, Acting Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, Megan Earle and supervisor Gordon Hodson, Xiaomei Zhou and supervisor Catherine Mondloch, Christie Milliken accepting on behalf of Devon Coutts, Ebru Ustundag accepting on behalf of Connor Dingle, and Ingrid Makus, Interim Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences.


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  • Groundhog Day highlights the challenges facing those who rely on consistent weather

    From the Brock News
    TUESDAY, JANUARY 30, 2018 | by 

    When it comes to predicting long-term weather, humans hold little advantage over Wiarton Willie or Punxsutawney Phil.

    That’s not good news for businesses who need consistent forecasts to succeed, but are increasingly faced with volatile weather patterns.

    “Even though short-term weather forecast models have gotten very good, long-term forecasts are not very accurate, so there’s a lot of uncertainty in terms of what’s going to happen,” says Brock Geography and Tourism Studies Professor Tony Shaw. “Industries that rely on the weather have to take necessary precautions. Those uncertainties mean the risks are quite high.”

    Shaw says that while January thaws like what we experienced late last week and over the weekend are not unusual, the dramatic swings in temperature are.

    “What we’re seeing is changes on a daily basis tend to be on a bit of the extreme,” he says. “With climate change we can expect to see more volatility and variability in the weather.

    “On the optimistic side, despite the occasional extreme cold temperatures, winters in Niagara are getting warmer and spring is arriving earlier based on long-term temperature trends.”

    Goodman School of Business Professor of Finance Don Cyr says the weather volatility means businesses across many sectors are having to turn to measures such as weather derivatives — financial contracts that protect them by allowing them to hedge weather conditions.

    “There is a growing interest in this quasi-insurance market as the weather becomes more volatile,” says Cyr. “Weather-related risk can affect about 25 per cent of the gross domestic product for Canada. In some countries, it’s as high as 40 per cent. It’s pretty significant.”

    He says insurance companies and other financial intermediaries have long offered financial protection to industries such as agriculture, tourism and outdoor sport resorts such as golf courses and ski hills.

    “These weather contracts allow firms to hedge against systemic weather risks — volatilities that wouldn’t typically be covered through insurance,” says Cyr, adding that these contracts have been famously used by a salon in a mall that noticed a drop in business on sunny weekends and a restaurant chain specializing in outdoor dining to cover their losses due to cool, rainy summers.

    Municipalities have also used the contracts to hedge against the unexpected costs of snow removal when winters are worse than expected.

    Article reposted from the Brock News

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  • Dr. Phillip Mackintosh’s research on the history of Toronto streets highlighted in the Toronto Star

    Toronto’s been road-raging about cars, bikes and streetcars for over 100 years. We’re not about to stop

    From The Toronto Star
    By KATIE DAUBS, Feature Writer
    Fri., Jan. 26, 2018

    In the long history of Toronto streets, change has never come easily.

    Downtown, where the streets are narrow relics of a Victorian age, there is little middle ground, only middle fingers.

    The flipped bird on King St.’s restaurant row is the latest symbol of irritation, a stand-in for the frustration certain business owners feel toward city hall, and a transit pilot they say isn’t working for them.

    Toronto was a city of walkers when it was incorporated in 1834, and that remained the main form of transportation (supported by transit) until the growth of its suburbs after the Second World War, says Phillip Gordon Mackintosh. The geography professor at Brock University researched Toronto’s streets for his book Newspaper City: Toronto’s Street Surfaces and the Liberal Press, 1860-1935. Torontonians paid for concrete sidewalks long before they agreed to finance asphalt roads, because most people simply didn’t use them, he notes.

    This 1900 photo shows one of the Toronto Railway Co.’s electric streetcars. The company began modernizing its fleet in 1892, and by 1894, horse cars were no longer in use. (ALFRED J. PEARSON / TORONTO ARCHIVES)

    Toronto has greeted change on its streets with excitement, anxiety, finger pointing, politicking, gloomy predictions and ideological bickering for most of its history. Even in the 1860s, when Toronto had close to 45,000 citizens and the roads were covered with filth and roaming animals, we argued about the “itinerant Toronto hog.”

    “Have we no ‘health inspector?’ What are our ‘police’ doing?” one citizen wrote to the Globe in 1862, complaining about the pig nuisance. Another defended the pigs, because they were performing a valuable trash-disposal service. When a tenacious gutter pig bit the skirt of a woman walking on King St., the Globe demanded that the pig nuisance be an election issue… continue reading.

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  • MA in Geography Student Wins 2018 Best Research Paper Award

    Congratulations to MA in Geography student, Connor Dingle, on receiving the 2018 Best Major Research Paper, Graduate Research Writing Award, for the Faculty of Social Sciences!

    Connor’s MRP is titled “Mobile Technology and Reconstituting Place at the Matheson Learning Commons”. His research was supervised by Dr. Catherine Nash and Dr. David Butz.

    Categories: News

  • Join us for Loris Gasparotto’s Retirement Party

    You’re invited to join the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies for a retirement party in honour of Loris Gasparotto. After 40 years as our cartographer, Loris has finally mapped out his retirement!

    Friday, January 19th
    Drop in from: 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.
    MC C-405, Brock University

    RSVP online at by January 15th.

    Please forward donations towards a group gift to Virginia Wagg, Geography & Tourism Studies (; MC C-322) by January 16th.

    Categories: Events