SSHRC Storyteller finalist and Geography PhD Candidate Yolanda Weima |video-still | 2018-04-26

York PhD candidate Yolanda Weima a finalist for the SSHRC 2018 Storytellers challenge


The Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada announced PhD Candidate Yolanda Weima from the Department of Geography as one of its 25 finalists of the 2018 Storytellersresearch communication challenge.

The annual contest challenges postsecondary students from across the country to the tell the story of how SSHRC-funded research is making a difference in the lives of Canadians. The catch: contestants have a maximum of three minutes or 300 words to tell their stories.

“In communicating their research stories, our talented finalists have masterfully informed us about key issues that impact our society. In doing so, they have effectively demonstrated the value of social sciences and humanities research, offering critical insights into modern social, cultural, economic and wellness issues that Canadians value,” said SSHRC President Ted Hewitt in a press release. “Congratulations to SSHRC’s 25 Finalists!”

Weima made the finalists cut with her video on Responses to Recurrent Refuge and Return: Burundian refugees in Tanzania. She argues that established ideas surrounding refugee migration back to their places of origin fails to recognize repeated forced migration — often due to war — and actual patterns of movement. Weima’s story is an example how knowledge about the social sciences and humanities helps Canadians understand and improve the world.

“I want to learn how both governments and humanitarian institutions understand return in relation to issues like peace building in this context and what that means for refugee protection and solutions,” she says in her video, “but I also want to learn how their perspectives compare with those of refugees whose experiences and perspectives are shaped by their prior experience of refuge and return, and refuge and return again.”

The top 25 storytellers were selected from nearly 200 entries. Each finalist receives a $3000 cash prize and the chance to compete in the Storytellers Showcase, held at the 2018 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Read Weima's bio on the SSHRC website. You can also listen to a six-minute podcast about her process and research, recorded in Tanzania.