We are thrilled to introduce our 2023-2024 Activists-in-Residence: Nneka MacGregor and Dr. Marsha Hinds-Myrie.
Nneka MacGregor (She/Her)
Nneka MacGregor is co-founder and Executive Director of the Women’s Centre for Social Justice, better known as WomenatthecentrE, a unique non-profit created by and for women, trans and gender-diverse survivors of gender-based violence (GBV). As a Black intersectional, Transformative Accountability & Justice practitioner and abolitionist feminist, Nneka is also a respected international speaker & trainer. She is an expert advisory panel member of the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability and sits on several advisory Boards and committees, including the Federal Advisory Council on the Federal Strategy Against GBV, and co-founded the Black Femicide Canada Council. Her research focuses on femicide, sexual violence, and the intersection of strangulation, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Inter-personal violence.
Nneka received the 2019 PINK Concussions Award and the 2020 YWCA Toronto Women of Distinction Social Justice Award. She is also founder and Managing Partner of Nneka & Co, a consulting firm of BIPOC activists that focuses on Stakeholder-Centric EDI© – a unique and comprehensive framework to engage organizations in equity, diversity & inclusion work. Her expertise is on nurturing women’s leadership in business at the intersection of gender, race, and ability. Nneka was a member of the Board of Directors of Moatfield Foundation of Bayview Glen School, where she served as Chair and Board President for six years. She supports other charitable and non-profit organizations with governance training and developing effective Board culture.
Nneka is a very proud mum to her #ThreeWishes, Aly, Alexander and Christiana, gushing grandmum to her beautiful grandson, Aidan Azike and human companion to Basil, The Wonder Dog, and Renfrew the cat.
Marsha Hinds-Myrie’s life and work are an embodiment of dualities and intersections. She is a Barbadian/Canadian citizen with an ancestral, cultural and intellectual home in Africa. Her career unfolds, sometimes spectacularly and sometimes confusingly at the intersections of activism and education. She is a public intellectual steeped in the Caribbean intellectual tradition and critical studies.
Hinds-Myrie spent 23 years developing an advocacy model to address the issues of underprivileged groups of women in Barbados and the Commonwealth Caribbean. The major focus of the work is to develop and encourage the use of victim defined services for women and girls affected by various types of gender-based violence while at the same time removing the burden of eradicating violence from women and victims by forcing greater attention to systemic oppression and a stronger lobby in policy spaces.
The philosophical mooring for Marsha’s interaction with equity work comes partly out of her PhD research which focused on the ways in which political and cultural experiences shaped the development and creation of intellectual spaces and intellectual thought in Commonwealth Caribbean tertiary institutions. The epistemological valleys that create disciplines in the Western academy are still immensely uncomfortable for Hinds Myrie but if required, she would classify her work as womanism, Black Studies, philosophy as praxis and intellectual history.
Marsha is mother, godmother, aunty, cook, seamstress and hopes to learn to garden someday.
Gabriel Allahdua (2022-2023)
In September 2022, Gabriel Allahdua became the first Activist-in-Residence (AiR) at the University of Guelph.
Gabriel is well known in Ontario and beyond for his advocacy on behalf of justice for migrant workers justice. He brought his knowledge of migrant farm workers issues and his experience as a community organizer to his role as the inaugural Activist-in-Residence at the University of Guelph. Gabriel collaborated with students, faculty and staff at the newly established Grounded & Engaged Theory Lab (GET lab) and the Community-Engaged Scholarship Institute (CESI) in raising awareness about the injustices facing migrant workers in Canada — and what can be done to transform these injustices.
Gabriel soon became active in advocating for justice for migrant workers. For many years he has been a key volunteer with Justice for Migrant Workers (J4MW), a Toronto-based activist group advocating for justice for migrant workers https://harvestingfreedom.org/ Gabriel, with historian Edward Dunsworth, has written Harvesting Freedom: The Life of a Migrant Worker in Canada, published in March 2023 by Between the Lines.
Activist-in-Residence (AiR) Program
The Activist-in-Residence (AiR) Program at the University of Guelph is a critical initiative for advancing collaboration between academics, students, and activists in salient areas of need. AiR programs have been established at a number of other universities, but only a few in Canada so far. The purpose of the AiR program is to strengthen the connections between activists and academic researchers who may be be working towards common goals, such as ending the exploitation of migrant workers or ending gender-based violence.
Each year, the AiR Program undertakes a different combination of activities and work based on the expertise of that year’s AiR(s). We hope to foster community, knowledge sharing, and research collaboration by engaging in research methods that center the voices of members of justice-seeking communities. Additionally, we are exploring options for mounting a course on research and activism.
The AiR Program is based at the Grounded & Engaged Theory Lab (GET Lab) at the University of Guelph. The co-directors of the GET Lab are Dr. Monique Deveaux (Philosophy) and Dr. Candace Johnson (Political Science). You can learn more about them and the graduate students and postdoctoral researchers associated with the GET Lab here.
The AiR Program is also supported by Dr. Leah Levac (Political Science). You can learn more about her research team and program here.
The AiR Program is funded by generous contributions from the Dean of the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences, the Community Engaged Scholarship Institute (CESI), the Canada Research Chair program of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), and the College of Arts.
Activist-in-Residence (AiR) Programs Elsewhere:
At the University of Guelph, we are proud to be part of a renewed conversation about the essential role of universities in fostering connections between activism and academia. AiR Programs create space for important conversations about the role of research in social action and vice versa. Learn more about other AiR Programs here:
Carlton University: https://carleton.ca/law/activist-in-residence-program/
University College London: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/racism-racialisation/activist-residence-programme
New School for Social Research: http://socialresearchmatters.org/inaugural-activist-in-residence-shanelle-matthews-engages-at-the-new-school-this-fall/
Sometimes the AiR teaches a course, as for example this one at UCLA: https://www.activistgraduateschool.org/pedagogy-blog/activist-in-residence