Research Projects at Cape Breton University Receive National Recognition

Two Cape Breton University (CBU) research projects working to sustain two of Cape Breton’s celebrated and deeply rooted cultures have received a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Outreach Grant in the amounts of $182,990 and $30,928. 

Dr. Marcia Ostashewski was awarded $182,990 to build a web portal which will address the gap in the province’s historical and heritage interpretation regarding ethnocultural groups. The aim of the project is to mobilize existing and emerging research that explores Cape Breton’s Eastern European antecedents beyond its more familiar Scottish and Acadian characteristics. The web portal, titled Mnoha’ia lita! Celebrating Eastern European communities and cultures in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, is a joint initiative between CBU and the University of Alberta.

“The project will likely redefine the island’s diverse ethnocultural profile,” says Dr. Ostashewski. “The web portal, designed to reach a broad audience, will lead to ten distinct websites and sections, integrating interactive multimedia resources and learning opportunities for technology-enriched learning about the significant contribution of Eastern European immigrants and their descendants to the rich social and cultural landscape of Cape Breton Island,” says Dr. Ostashewski.

The project places a strong emphasis on a collaborative approach bringing together experts in ethnography, education, web design and development, in concert with enthusiastic, experienced community members, to create a comprehensive resource that contributes to cultural heritage not only locally, but also nationally. Content for the portal will be drawn from archival fonds and other ethnographic materials, resulting in a multifaceted presentation containing virtual exhibits and archives, links to related resources, a musical cyberworld, interactive blogs, discussion forums, youth-oriented education programs and informative panels, as well as much more.

“For me, it's most significant that this project is being carried out in such deep consultation and close collaboration with the communities with whom we work. And that there are both student and non-student/community-based researchers involved. It’s also remarkable that so many partner institutions are working with us from across Canada and the United States. We are grateful for their support and participation,” says Dr. Ostashewski.

Dr. Janice Tulk, Senior Research Associate, Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies, was awarded a $30,928 outreach grant to hold a workshop titled Partnering for Successful Economic Development and Self-Determination: Alliance-Making and Aboriginal Communities which will be held at CBU in October.

The event will bring together Aboriginal business leaders, researchers, students, and community members to discuss lessons learned and best practices in partnership from a variety of perspectives as it relates to Aboriginal economic development.

Research conducted at Cape Breton University continues to be recognized by national funding bodies. For more information on research at CBU visit www.cbu.ca/research.