Mount Allison researcher awarded CFI funding for expanding digital centre
SACKVILLE, NB – Dr. Lauren Beck, Mount Allison University professor in Hispanic studies and visual and material culture studies, and Canada Research Chair in Intercultural Encounter, has been awarded new research funding through the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund. The news was part of a national announcement from the CFI made earlier this fall.
Beck received $75,000, which will help support digital infrastructure in the Centre for Early Modern Visual Culture on the Mount Allison campus.
“The Centre for Early Modern Visual Culture (www.cemvc.ca) was established at Mount Allison in 2017 with assistance from the CFI and the Canada Research Chairs program,” says Beck. “This new funding will help our team build our digital capacity and give current and future projects a more dynamic online presence. We’re really excited to get started on these projects.”
Beck’s team includes several Mount Allison students who work as research assistants. She plans to expand this group, hiring additional students from disciplines across campus.
One upcoming project Beck and her team will include establishing a Coats of Arms database, with a focus on underrepresented groups such as Indigenous populations.
“Many groups and societies have emblems or symbols that serve as a Coat of Arms but aren’t formally recognized. We’ll be working to shed light on these and asking some big questions for project,” says Beck.
“My team and I will be exploring visual representation around race and gender; how different groups are represented and differences across regions.”
This project is one of many underway for Beck and her team. This fall she published a book, Canada’s Place Names and How to Change Them, which looks at place names across the country through racialized and gendered lenses. The book was recently featured in The Conversation Canada. “This book is part of my research around maps, place names, and the role they have played in colonization,” says Beck. “There are very few places named after women and other minority groups in Canada, and there are not many policies around place names and how these decisions are made. It’s a good opportunity to look at how we name places and what changes can be made to support more inclusive representation in Canadian communities.” Named the Canada Research Chair in Intercultural Encounter in 2017, Beck’s research program has grown dramatically to include the Centre for Early Modern Visual Culture and the online business Metafy, a collaboration with Math and Computer Science professor Dr. Michael Cormier. Metafy is dedicated to generating inclusive practices and website HTML for companies of all sizes. The Centre has employed as many as 30 individuals each year, including several student researchers, while Metafy is continuing to develop.