KatieKish

About Katie

Above all else, I am a mum to two wonderful children – Nora and Logan. The love and joy they bring to the world makes it a lighter and more wonderful place. In return, I want to make the world a better place for them. Luckily they are growing up in one of the most accepting and progressive times in history. Unluckily they are entering one of the most unpredictable and precarious times for the future of stability and liberalism. My work is about figuring out how to help their generation best navigate that path.

My research is on the future of work, micro and local production strategies, low-tech distributist economies, sharing economies, municipal policy development, and sustainability informatics.

I did not engage deeply with issues of justice and equity in my PhD, and am beginning what I suspect will be an ongoing process to work on this now through my post-doc at McGill. Our lab is working with Dr. Sherwood Smith at the University of Vermont to identify implicit bias and figure out how to embed justice and equity in our work, research, and programs, rather than adding it as an afterthought.

As a white cisgender woman in a visually heteronormative relationship (I identify as LGBTQ+) I recognize I hold a great deal of power through privilege. Over the last 7 years I’ve used that power and privilege to a) make space within and b) help navigate bureaucratic institutions, particularly within the academic space of ecological economics. I consistently seek out and present opportunities to emerging and underrepresented scholars to contribute to research agendas, grants, edited collections, and collaborative papers and project administration.

More generally, my philosophy for being an ally is to carve out space and step back to allow creative development of that space. I then take on as much of the bureaucratic back end as possible, to reduce fatigue and barriers to implementation of vision and approach. I recently read an article about black students dealing with anxiety and poor mental health – not just from racism but from the exhaustion of being leaders for change. Creating the space for students and people of colour to make change is not enough. It’s the responsibility of people like me to challenge barriers and take on as much of the backend of the support as possible, to leave mental energy for creative process and passion of those from underrepresented and marginalized communities. Also to challenge the mainstream in our analysis and teaching. This is a great list of resources for people who want to decolonize and diversify their economic reading list. I’m eternally grateful for the spark other people bring to our imaginative futures and collective initiatives.

We are putting this philosophy into action at the Canadian Society for Ecological Economics 2021 Biennial Conference. Past CANSEE conferences are criticized for setting indigenous economics up as “stream” of research, alongside other research, rather than directly supporting Indigenous economics and deeply integrating IE into EE. In response to this criticism, we have obtained funding from SSHRC for Indigenous Climate Action to hire a consultant and run a concurrent conference alongside our conference, fully planned by ICA while we take care of the logistical, technical, and monetary side. We have invited members of this conference to the final keynote plenary of CANSEE to present lessons learned and ideas for integration going forward.

Other hobbies I do:

  • Powerlifting! I pick up heavy things and then put them back down. As a woman, I’ve found this sport to be incredibly empowering.
  • Saving our local bee habitats. I am a community advocate for leaving lawns alone and allowing people to let wildflowers and weeds grow all summer. We’ve had a couple of big battles with the municipal government, but luckily… the bees always win.
  • Casual web-development and programming. I have taken courses on basic web development (HTML, CSS, Java Script) and functions/array methods.
  • Elder visitations. I got my dog certified by the local fire department and now she and I visit long-term care facilities. She gets pets/treats and I get stories about other dogs/treats.
  • Maker Culture. I make things by myself (woodworking, painting) and with my kids (spaceships, whole other universes).
  • Trivia! Ever since the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020 I’ve started holding monthly online Trivia nights that have grown from 2-3 teams the first couple of times to 7-10 teams. I’ve loved planning and running these.