Spotlight on Dr. Vicki Chartrand, a criminologist of Bishop’s Sociology Department
Although teaching is a crucial part of Bishop’s University’s faculty, our professors are also deeply committed to research and knowledge mobilization. With the help of research grants, both professors and students are actively involved on campus working towards a better understanding of current affairs and raising awareness about crucial issues.
Prominent among our researchers on campus is Dr. Vicki Chartrand, a criminologist of Bishop’s Sociology Department. Dr. Chartrand recently received a grant from the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture to conduct research on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. Given that the problem has only recently received national and public attention, her research involves highlighting all the work the families and communities have done to address the murders and disappearances. “The historical lack of attention to the problem largely resulted in the families and communities developing their own initiatives and strategies, often with few or no resources or support” says Dr. Chartrand. “This work is an important area to consider because it not only highlights the vital strengths and resources of Indigenous communities in Canada, but it helps us develop a more collective understanding of justice.”
Dr. Chartrand is also the founding member of the Centre for Justice Exchange – a collective that advances more inclusive understandings of justice and accountability through education, research, and sharing of resources, Her work with the Centre involves working with diverse criminal justice stakeholders, including people who are or have been incarcerated, to develop alternative solutions to social harms and accountability. This includes providing resources of support to those in the criminal justice system and raising awareness of the barriers to justice. The Centre routinely involves Bishop’s students who assist with research and public education. One year, the students organized a prison art exhibition that brought awareness of the struggles faced by people in prison that are largely unknown to the public. Dr. Chartrand points out that “people in prison are isolated from the available supports and information needed to increase their quality of life and reduce the potential for further social harms to arise. Not only do we address a clear need for those who have been cut off from important resources in the prison, we also gain valuable, but often ignored, insight into the prison and criminal justice system” All in all, in her research, Dr. Chartrand’s attempts to capture and bring attention to some of the overlooked areas of criminal justice.