A Community Approach to Water Stewardship: Prof. Aimée Craft Wins Knowledge Mobilization Award

Faculty of Law - Common Law Section
Awards and recognition
Knowledge mobilization

By Common Law

Communication, Faculty of Law

Aimée Craft
Against the backdrop of today’s environmental vulnerability, the issue of sustainable water governance is of central importance. By inviting Indigenous community partners to play a role in overcoming the challenges of responsible water stewardship, the Decolonizing Water Project is working to enhance effective, equitable Indigenous co-governance of water resources.

Professor Aimée Craft – who co-leads the Decolonizing Water Project alongside Professor Deborah McGregor of Osgoode Hall Law School – Is the 2023 recipient of the University of Ottawa's Knowledge Mobilization Excellence Award in the Established Researchers category. This honour comes in recognition of her exceptional efforts to disseminate the research outputs of the Decolonizing Water Project through both traditional scholarly publications, but also through a broad array of videos, podcasts and other accessible resources that use community relevancy, accessibility and interdisciplinarity as guiding factors. 

The 6-year-old project, led by a team of Indigenous researchers, aims to decentre Western approaches to water governance and (re)centre Indigenous ways of thinking about water and our relationships to it. The team has approached knowledge mobilization by working with Indigenous partners and communities to find out what approaches would be useful to them or would best communicate their traditions to individuals outside of their communities. This involved the creation of a Knowledge Dissemination Working Group to ensure that results were widely disseminated. To date, project outputs have included an educational board game that was developed and tested with over 400 first-year law students, a water-focused curriculum and portal of information to support enhanced water knowledge, an annual four-day gathering to create space for intergenerational knowledge exchange in land/water-based learning, and many videos, webinars and online resources that can be used as educational tools to share traditional Indigenous legal knowledge. The project has led to numerous important insights on how to communicate research findings in creative, Indigenized and engaging ways.  

The Knowledge Mobilization Excellence Award recognizes researchers whose work has made a real impact and engaged knowledge users throughout the research and knowledge mobilization processes. The Award is accompanied by a $7,000 prize from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s Exchange Grant program in support of new knowledge mobilization activities. The winner of this year’s award in the Early Career Researchers category is Anna Zumbansen of the School of Rehabilitation Sciences at the Faculty of Health Sciences. 

The Common Law Section congratulates Professor Craft and Professor Zumbansen on their impressive achievements!