Reimagining Care


Co-led by Dr. Roberta Hawkins, Associate Professor in Geography, and Amy Kipp, PhD Student in Social Practice and Transformational Change, Reimagining Care considers how care is, and could be, practiced in academic, community, and digital spaces. We focus on imagining alternative, more caring futures across these three areas and the transformational potential of everyday practices of care. We consider families, livelihoods, and living environments from feminist, anti-oppressive, and other critical perspectives.

Current and Future Projects: 

Care in Digital Worlds 

In an increasingly digital world, care is being practiced in new ways. For example, there are apps for consumers who care about where their products come from, emojis that allow Facebook users to show that they care about friends’ posts, and digital spaces where communities of care can be organized and facilitated. We examine how care is being practiced virtually and consider the opportunities and tensions associated with online caring.  

Community Care and Social Change 

In the last few years, talk about care—and the need for more care—has been everywhere. We explore the multiple and intersecting crises of care and highlight social changes needed to create more caring communities. We are interested in understanding the ways in which care is being practiced at a local level, the processes involved in strengthening social infrastructures of care, and individuals’ everyday experiences of these processes. This work includes Art in a Just Recovery, a community-based research in partnership with Art Not Shame, the Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition, and Social Artist Melanie Schambach, exploring community care and collective artmaking. 

Feminist Ethics of Care in Academia

How might a feminist ethic of care be practiced in academia and why is such an approach needed? We identify and highlight unequal power dynamics and neoliberal influences in academic institutions and describe people’s embodied experiences of these power dynamics. We also offer possibilities for restructuring and reimagining what academia could look like centred around a feminist ethics of care. 

Related publications: 

Mountz, A., Bonds, A., Mansfield, B., Loyd, J., Hyndman, J., M. Walton-Roberts, R. Basu, R. Whitson, R. Hawkins, T. Hamilton and Curran, W. (2015). For slow scholarship: A feminist politics of resistance through collective action in the neoliberal university. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies14(4), 1235-1259.

Hawkins, R., Manzi, M., & Ojeda, D. (2014). Lives in the making: Power, academia and the everyday. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies13(2), 328-351.

Everyday Practices of Global Change

This long-term research agenda examines how the burden of responsibility to care about and address global problems such as poverty in the Global South or environmental degradation around the world is often downshifted to the mundane practices of individuals in the Global North (ethical consumption, household practices, digital engagement).

Related publications:  

Hawkins, R., & Horst, N. (2020). Ethical consumption? There's an app for that. Digital technologies and everyday consumption practices. The Canadian Geographer/Le Géographe canadien64(4), 590-601.

Hawkins, R. (2018). Breaking down barriers of culture and geography? Caring-at-a-distance through web 2.0. New Political Science40(4), 727-743. DOI: 10.1080/07393148.2018.1528534 

Caring Communities

This area of research explores Guelph as a caring community in collaboration with MA and PhD students and includes developing care maps focusing on the experiences of newcomers to Guelph, examining the digital caremongering movement that emerged in response to COVID-19, and exploring what a caring response to a post-COVID economic and community recovery would look like.  

Related publications: 

Kipp, A. and R. Hawkins (2021, Jan 27). Canadian caremongering: exploring the complexities and centrality of community care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Solidarity and Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

Ahsan, O. (2021, June). CareMongering supports communities during the pandemic. University of Guelph, Office of Research.

Cluster Leaders:

Roberta Hawkins

Amy Kipp

Image Credits:

Book with sprouts:  Cdd20 from Pixabay 

Woman online shopping: Colourbox

People figures with arrows: Dr. Alex Sawatzky


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