Current Projects

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Socially and Emotionally Aware Kids (SEAK)

Socially and Emotionally Aware Kids (SEAK) is a project of the Canadian Mental Health Association Nova Scotia Division (CMHA NS) funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) through the Innovation Strategy. It is currently in its third phase and, with additional funding from two philanthropic foundations, is focused on Scaling-up Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) in Atlantic Canada (including capacity-building, integration provincially/regionally and implementation of an SEL program in pilot schools). The role of the research team at the YLRL is to (a) evaluate processes of scale-up, and (b) develop and deliver integrated knowledge translation (iKT) to multiple audiences in Atlantic Canada and beyond.


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Wekimün: A school for and with Indigenous Youth & Communities in Chile (2012-2017)

In the Mapuche language of Mapudungün Wekimün means the integration of new knowledge with traditional knowledge. Wekimün School, based in Chiloé, Chile, will integrate Mapuche (and within that, Williche) cultural knowledge, relating to daily life and livelihoods, with modern knowledge to produce a unique educational program that will serve the needs of rural Williche communities. The Wekimun Project’s Ultimate Outcome is a better the quality of life of Williche youth and communities by strengthening their culture through education that is faithful to the spirit of Wekimün. Each of the Project’s goals are gender inclusive, youth-GAC-AMC-55eattuned, and based upon principals of youth engagement and gender equality in all activities.


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ACCESS Mental Health (2013-2018) 

Atlantic Canada Children’s Effective Service Strategies (ACCESS-MH) is a 5-year research study funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to examine barriers and facilitators in access to child/youth mental health services in Atlantic Canada. Between 2013-2018 this research program will bring together a cross-sectorial and interdisciplinary team of researchers, health care providers, and decision makers from PE, NB, NS, and NL to take an innovative approach to studying how services are provided to children and youth identified with anxiety, depression, autism spectrum disorders, conduct disorder, and eating disorders. The team at the YLRL is leading the qualitative patient journeys aspect of the project, employing interviews and visual methods to garner stories from children, youth, parents, and service providers about their experiences of the child/youth mental health system.


Digital Media and Young Lives Over Time: International and Cultural Comparisons (2012-2017)

Understanding the long term impacts of technology on young lives in three countries, Canada, Scotland, and Australia. This interdisciplinary and cross cultural study focuses on Aboriginal, immigrant, rural, and “in risk” youth. The study aims to richly describe the impact of technology on young lives over time. Important questions to be explored are: For whom and how do digital media help or hinder transitions to adulthood? How is digital media involved in youth agency, resistance, and constraint? Is an emerging form of cultural/social capital arising from digital literacy?

Equity in Public Education in Canada – Engaging Marginalized Youth and Educators (2012-2014)

Working with Concrete Roses Youth Services and Sick Kids® in Toronto, Ontario this project addresses inequalities in public education as experienced by marginalized youth.

Assessing International Innovations in Child and Youth Methodology and Theory (2010-2013)

The two major research aims are to: a) report on a conceptual synthesis of emergent methods and theories, and b) conduct a study of international key informants on methods and theories in young lives. The knowledge gained will be used in the preparation of a Standard Research Grant proposal to SSHRC, therefore the study provides an important step toward enhancing Canada’s contributions to child/youth research and practice.

Youth, Education & Well-being in the Americas: Rights for Children and Youth Partnership Project (RCYP) unnamed

This research examines how human rights and violence are related and addressed in the institutional practices, structures and relationships in schools crossing colonial and cultural contexts in the Caribbean, Central America & Canada.


Knowledge Translation and Exchange Through Arts-based Health Research (2012-2013)

Theatre, film, photography, dance are not often associated with the academic research process, yet that is what this project seeks to explore: the arts as a way of creating and sharing new knowledge with varied audiences. Arts-based research methods highlight the human aspects of medicine and health care in ways that help lower interdisciplinary barriers and improve understanding of health and the entire medical field. These methods value human experience and interaction, and they recognize personal, emotional, and embodied expressions of knowledge as an effective strategy for communicating research.

This project seeks to increase our understanding of the theory and practice of arts-based knowledge translation by exploring the contribution of arts-based research in both knowledge creation and knowledge dissemination in health research. The results of this Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) funded project will lead to a better understanding of concepts, theories, and practices that underlie effective arts-based knowledge translation in order to improve the health of Canadians, provide more effective health services and products, and strengthen the health care system as a whole.

Youth School-based Mental Health: An Arts-informed Conversation (The Mural Project, 2010-2013)

Working with The Canadian Mental Health Association and The Hospital for Sick Children, the “Mural Project” investigates student and educator responses to a mural that depicts the experiences of eight young people in Ontario with mental illness.The mural was taken into high schools in both Ontario and Prince Edward Island to increase knowledge and understanding of mental health and psychosis; to reduce the stigma associated with mental health; and to explore the use of arts as a way to communicate more effectively with young people and the community.


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Digital Storytelling: Technology, Mental Health, and Indigenous Youth


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Measuring What Matter’s – People for Education