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Vannini reappointed as Canada Research Chair

February 9, 2016

A public ethnographer, Royal Roads University Prof. Dr. Phillip Vannini has been reappointed for a second five-year term as Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Innovative Learning and Public Ethnography by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Originally appointed in 2010, Vannini has taught at Royal Roads since 2005 and recently produced a documentary film based on his research, Life Off Grid.

“We are fortunate to count Phillip Vannini as one of ours. The renewal of his Canada Research Chair was based on evidence of high-impact, world-class, transdisciplinary work,” says mathew heinz, Dean, Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences. “During his first five-year term as a Canada Research Chair, he has put us on the map as an institution supporting engaged public scholarship. I have no doubt that he will continue to break disciplinary boundaries and mobilize knowledge in his second term.”

Vannini explains the new focus of his research is to look for culture in the places where there is supposed to be none—wild nature.

“Part of me knows I will find it just about anywhere. Part of me thinks that at least at times, I hopefully won't,” he says.

Vannini will visit as many United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage natural sites as possible, talking with people and learning about the nature and culture of these spaces.

“I’m in search of truly wild places to reveal a richer understanding of how wilderness is done, how it is made and how it takes place,” says Vannini. “Understanding the nature of wild will mean striving to comprehend how wild places come to life.”

His journeys will be chronicled in a book and film titled, In Pursuit of Wild.

Vannini holds a Master of Arts in Communication and a PhD in Sociology from Washington State University. He teaches in the Master of Arts in Professional Communication and theMaster of Arts in Intercultural and International Communication programs in Royal Roads’School of Communication and Culture.

Royal Roads has two CRCs in addition to Vannini: Dr. Brian Belcher, Tier 1 CRC in Sustainability Research Effectiveness, and Dr. George Veletsianos, Tier 2 CRC in Innovative Learning and Technology.

Established in 2000 by the Government of Canada, the Canada Research Chairs program invests $265 million per year to attract and retain accomplished scholars from around the world as part of a national strategy to make Canada a top nation for research and development.

Photo: Te Wahipounamu World Heritage area on the south Island of New Zealand during Vannini’s recent field work.