Congratulations to 2020 Graduate Award Recipient Jenna Blower

YCAR News | 2020 Graduate Award Recipients

YCAR offers or adjudicates nine awards to graduate students at York University on an annual basis. In 2020, 21 students received over $40,000 in support of their research, fieldwork and language studies. In each Update over the summer, we will introduce the 2020 winners.

In this issue, we congratulate Jenna Blower, the 2020 recipient of the Albert C.W. Chan Foundation Award. Jenna is a second-year doctoral candidate in Social Anthropology. The award will support her planned year-long ethnographic fieldwork in Toronto and Manila, Philippines.

She will undertake six months of participant observation and conduct interviews at a migrant advocacy centre in Toronto where her research interlocutors will be mainly Filipina domestic workers in Canada and their families.

“I plan to engage in semi-structured individual and group interviews or building on the methodological approaches of Francisco-Menchavez (2013; 2018), Kuwetuhan (talk story in Filipino),” said Blower.

Francisco-Menchavez (2018) reports that Kuwentuhan-style interviews allow migrant workers to narrate experiences in their own terms and prove to be “key epistemological tools that reflect the social processes that participants engage in daily” (23). Additionally, Jenna will engage in participant observation, joining them in their communications with family members during Skype phone calls, following them in their day-to-day activities and attending events.

Following this research period, she hopes to spend four months in Manila, where she will utilize family connections and build on the relationships with the Filipino community in Toronto to engage with research participants in the Philippines.

Jenna’s previous studies took place at the University of Toronto where she completed her undergraduate studies with a double major in Sociology and International Development Studies. Jenna then pursued her master’s at Ryerson University specializing in Immigration and Settlement Studies. Her work has largely focused on refugee and migration issues and she hopes to continue to study topics of transnational migration at York University.

More about YCAR’s awards can be found here. The next deadline for applications is 9 February 2021.