Erin Alexiuk


Dan McCarthy


Erin obtained her B.Sc. Major in Environmental Science from the University of British Columbia. She then completed my Master of Environmental Studies (MES) at the University of Waterloo. She is currently a PhD candidate in Social and Ecological Sustainability at the University of Waterloo and a Social Innovation Fellow at the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience (WISIR). 

Prior to her graduate research, she travelled to Ellesmere Island, Nunavut to participate in the International Tundra Experiment, worked on the consultation process in BC for Environment Canada’s boreal caribou recovery strategy, and studied intercultural approaches to resource management on Haida Gwaii with the Haida Gwaii Higher Education Society.

Research with PWIP

Social-ecological systems approaches, particularly resilience thinking, are becoming increasingly common in an effort to apply inter- and trans-discplinary approaches to complex problems regarding sustainability. However, normative assumptions underlying resilience thinking suggest a need to address the various ways in which people-place relationships are embedded in, and shape, systemic interventions. Accordingly, Erin's PhD research explores how systems approaches that draw attention to cultural subtitles, particularly those related to person-place relationships, result in richer systems descriptions and are representative of more diverse perspectives. Specifically, She is examining how contested place attachments and meanings may be diagnosed and addressed through a systems approach. Erin's contributions to the PWIP project were completed in 2018.

Other Research Interests

  • Social innovation and social-ecological system resilience
  • Complexity and systems thinking
  • Indigenous-settler relationships in Canada
  • Place attachment and sense of place

Master’s Thesis

Exploring the Common Ground Between Social Innovation and Indigenous Resurgence: Two Critical Indigenist Case Studies in Indigenous Innovation in Ontario, Canada.


Alexiuk, E. (2016). Book review: Building Resilience: Social Capital in Post-Disaster Recovery. Urban Studies, 53(4): 839-841.

Isogai, A.D., Alexiuk, E., Gardner, H., McCarthy, D., Edwards, V., Tsuji, L.J.S., & Spiegelaar, N.  (2015). Sustaining a Local Food Security Initiative in a Remote Subarctic Community: Engaging Canadian First Nation Youth in Agroforestry-community Gardens. International Journal of Social Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context10(3-4): 1-17.

McLeod, F., Viswanathan, L., Whitelaw, G.S., Macbeth, J., King, C., McCarthy, D.D.P., & Alexiuk, E. (2015). Finding Common Ground: A Critical Review of Land Use and Resource Management Policies in Ontario, Canada and their Intersection with First Nations. International Indigenous Policy Journal, 6(1): 3.

McCarthy, D.D.P., Millen, M., Boyden, M., Alexiuk, E., Whitelaw, G.S., Viswanathan, L. Larkman, D., Giidaakunadaad (Rowe, N.), & Westley, F. (2014). A First Nations-led Social Innovation: A moose, a gold mining company and a policy window. Ecology & Society, 19(4): 2.