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EDI Seminar Series: Dr. Gunilla Öberg

Tuesday, March 19, 2024 - 11:00 to 12:30
Dr. Gunilla Öberg, Professor, Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, UBC
ESB 4192 / Zoom

Registration & Talk details

We invite you to a speaker series focussed on learning about equity, diversity and inclusion practices and initiatives in Statistics and Data Science. Lunch will be provided for those attending in-person. Our next speaker will be Dr. Gunilla Öberg, Professor, IRES, UBC.

Date/Time: Tuesday, March 19, 11:00am – 12:30pm (Talk 11:00-11:50am; Q&A and lunch 11:50am-12:30pm)

Talk title: What would desire-based research look like in a diverse research community?

Abstract: This talk, which is about the context-dependence of science, is inspired by Eve Tuck’s 2009 paper “Suspending damage: A letter to communities” where she argues for a shift from damage-centred and extractive research to a desire-based approach. Tuck, an Inuit scholar, calls our attention to the ways in which the belief in context-independent and objective science is dangerous, as it hides that research always is driven by desires and interests. Importantly, this widespread belief hides that desires and interests vary among individuals and societies, and that the questions that are deemed relevant, interesting and worthwhile to explore reflect the desires, interests – and values – of those in power. Tuck’s paper is about research on Indigenous peoples, which typically has been (and still is) conducted by outsiders who, without consent, extract data, information and knowledge from Indigenous peoples, and then use the findings in ways that serve the interests of the researchers, not seldom harming those who provided the knowledge. Tuck calls for research that is driven by the interests, desires and needs of Indigenous peoples. A lot has happened since 2009: the number of Indigenous-led projects in Canada has increased considerably as has the awareness among academic and governmental researchers on how to engage meaningfully and respectfully with Indigenous communities. In parallel, an increasing number of studies are demonstrating that diverse research communities produce less biased and more innovative research. In this talk, I will walk through some of these gnarly topics and discuss how the OCAP© and CARE principles, which are developed for research with Indigenous Peoples, can support better research, more broadly.

After the talk and Q&A session, lunch will be provided. If you would like to attend the virtual talk or the lunch, please register using the link below: 


This talk is one of the Statistics Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Speaker Series. For more information, please visit:

If you have any accessibility concerns or require any special accommodations to make the event accessible to you, please don't hesitate to let us know. For more information or questions, you can contact Katie Burak (kburak [at]