How we came to inhabit these spaces: reflections on the role of place in our individual and collective journeys as emerging sustainability scholars

Kathleen Aikens, Naomi Mumbi Maina, Ana-Mari Bogdan, Hardi Shahadu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This paper provides a descriptive analysis of the experience of four doctoral students engaged in a collective project of place exploration at a midsize Canadian university. Under the methodological tradition of self-study, we contextualize concepts of place attachment and decolonization in order to investigate what it means to be interdisciplinary scholars of sustainability. We use storytelling and mobile discussion methods, alongside visual and mapping methods to disentangle our experiences and analyses of place, mobility, land, and scholarship. This reflective piece demonstrates that collaborative forms of scholarship such as this require deliberate moves toward community creation and place attachment within institutions of higher education. Through a process of collaborative investigation and writing, we have created spaces of caring academic scholarship rather than engaging in competitive and hierarchical university culture.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Sustainability Education
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • sense of place
  • decolonization
  • sustainability
  • sustainability education
  • environmental education
  • collaborative scholarship
  • reflexivity
  • higher education

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