Practical Wisdom Series – Spring 2017

The Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies is hosting a workshop series on Practical Wisdom this spring.

Designing for Wisdom
Wisdom involves knowledge, but it comes from experience. How can institutions be designed, not only to teach knowledge, but also to create the experiences through which wisdom might be attained? Can people be taught to be wise practitioners?

See event details & participant bios below.


Practical Wisdom Workshop Series Bios

Practical Wisdom in Community Building (March 18)

Leonie Sandercock

Leonie Sandercock joined the School of Community & Regional Planning at UBC in July 2001 and served as Director of the School from July 2006 to November 2007. Her main research interest is in working with First Nations, through collaborative community planning, using the medium of film as a catalyst for dialogue, on the possibilities of healing, reconciliation, and partnership. She is using her documentary (with Giovanni Attili) “Finding Our Way” as a catalyst for dialogues in BC communities Other research interests include immigration, cultural diversity and integration; the possibilities of a more therapeutic model of planning; the importance of stories and storytelling in planning theory and practice; and the role of multimedia in planning. Working with two First Nations communities in north central BC since 2007 has brought about a change of direction in Leonie’s work.  She is now focusing on the work of healing, reconciliation and the possibility of partnerships between Native and non-Native Canadians, and community development and cross-cultural dialogue in historically divided communities. Since 2010, Leonie has been working on a new curriculum, Indigenous Community Planning (ICP), within SCARP’s Masters degree. This curriculum has been designed and is now being delivered in partnership with the Musqueam Indian Band, on whose traditional, ancestral and unceded territory UBC is located.

John Forester

John Forester’s research into the micro-politics of the planning process, ethics, and political deliberation assesses the ways that planners shape participatory processes and manage public disputes in diverse settings. He had served as a mediator for the Community Dispute Resolution Center of Tompkins County, has consulted for the Consensus Building Institute, and has lectured in the past several years in Seattle, Chapel Hill, Sydney, Melbourne, Helsinki, Palermo, Johannesburg, Aix en Provence, Amsterdam, and Milan. Forester’s recent writing includes Dealing with Differences: Dramas of Mediating Public Disputes, and he has edited a manuscript with Ken Reardon for CRP’s New Orleans Planning Initiative. Forester spent the 2008–09 academic year as NICIS Scholar at the University of Amsterdam’s Centre for Conflict Studies. Forester served as department chair from 1998–01, and was associate dean from 1997–98. He received his B.S., M.S., M.C.P., and Ph.D. from the University of California-Berkeley.

Ken Cameron

Ken Cameron has 26 years of experience in senior planning and management positions in local government in the Greater Vancouver area, most recently as Manager of Policy and Planning with the Greater Vancouver Regional District. He played a key role in the adoption of the Livable Region Strategic Plan in 1996 with the formal support of the region’s 21 municipalities, an accomplishment that was recognized in 2002 by the UN Habitat program’s Dubai awards for outstanding contributions to the human environment. Ken is an Adjunct Professor and past Chair of the Advisory Council of Simon Fraser University’s Urban Studies Program, Chair Emeritus of the International Centre for Sustainable Cities, a former Trustee of the Seattle-based Sightline Institute and a member of the UBC Board of Governors’ Land Use Committee. He is a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Planners. With former Premier Mike Harcourt and local writer Sean Rossiter, Ken is the author of a book titled “City-Making in Paradise: Nine Decisions that Saved Vancouver,” which was published by Douglas and McIntyre in September 2007.

Linc Kesler

Linc Kesler (PhD – University of Toronto) is currently on secondment as the Director of the UBC First Nations House of Learning and Senior Advisor to the President on Aboriginal Affairs. Linc has been with First Nations and Indigenous Studies since 2003 when he came to UBC as the first director of the program. He has designed and up until recently, taught FNIS 310, 320 and 400. From 2003 through 2012, Linc was the Director and then Chair of the First Nations and Indigenous Studies Program. Beginning in 2007, he was the co-chair of a succession of committees that drafted UBC’s Aboriginal Strategic Plan. In January 2009, while still serving as Chair of FNIS, Linc was appointed Director of the UBC First Nations House of Learning and Senior Advisor to the President on Aboriginal Affairs. Linc has been involved with various FNIS Initiatives, including Indigenous Foundations and the development of the Interactive Video/Transcript Viewer used for viewing oral history archives. In the 2008-2009 academic year, Linc was the recipient the UBC Dean of Arts Award, and in 2013 was the recipient of the Henry Roe Cloud Native Alumni Achievement Award at Yale University. Linc remains an associate professor for the First Nations and Indigenous Studies Program.


Nature, Rights and Virtues (March 23)

David Richard Boyd

David R. Boyd is one of Canada’s leading experts in environmental law and policy. He is an Adjunct Professor in Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University, and is a former Trudeau Scholar at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia. Boyd has advised many governments–from Canada to Sweden—on environmental and constitutional issues. He is the co-chair of Vancouver’s Greenest City Action Team along with Mayor Gregor Robertson. Boyd’s current research focuses on the effects of enshrining the constitutional right to live in a healthy environment, a right now recognized in at least 100 nations. In addition to his eight books, Boyd also wrote Sustainability Within a Generation: A New Vision for Canada, and more than 100 articles on environmental issues in publications ranging from The Globe and Mail to the Canadian Medical Association Journal. He is currently writing a book on the rights of Nature. David is the former Executive Director of the Sierra Legal Defence Fund (now Ecojustice), Canada’s leading public interest environmental law organization. He lives on Pender Island in British Columbia with his wife Margot Venton and their daughter Meredith.

Silver Donald Cameron

Silver Donald Cameron, CM, ONS, DCL, Dlitt, PhD,  is currently the host and executive producer of the ambitious environmental web site, and the writer and narrator of its recently-released feature documentary, Green Rights: The Human Right to a Healthy World. He has served in six universities as professor, dean and writer-in-residence, but he has been a professional writer since 1971. Dr. Cameron is the author of numerous plays, films, magazine articles, radio and TV scripts. His classic 1998 book on shorelines, The Living Beach (1998), was re-issued in 2014, and his 18th book, Warrior Lawyers: From Manila to Manhattan, Attorneys for the Earth – a companion volume to the Green Rights documentary –  appeared in September, 2016.


Sheryl Lightfoot

Sheryl Lightfoot (PhD – University of Minnesota, Political Science) is Anishinaabe, a citizen of the Lake Superior Band of Ojibwe, enrolled at the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community in Baraga, Michigan. She is an associate professor in First Nations and Indigenous Studies and the Department of Political Science. Sheryl is Canada Research Chair in Global Indigenous Rights and Politics. She holds a Master’s Degree from the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, with specialties in Foreign Policy and International Affairs as well as Economic and Community Development. She also has fifteen years’ volunteer and contract experience with a number of American Indian tribes and community-based organizations in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, including nine years as Chair of the Board of the American Indian Policy Center, a research and advocacy group. Her book, Global Indigenous Politics: A Subtle Revolution, was published in May 2016 by Routledge Press in their “Worlding Beyond the West” critical international relations book series. Sheryl is currently engaged in a SSHRC-funded project, “The Politics of State Apologies to Indigenous Peoples,” a major multi-national comparative study of state apologies to Indigenous peoples.

Nuno Porto

Nuno Porto, originally from Portugal, was trained has a social anthropologist.  He did long term fieldwork in Central Portugal in the early 1990s, studying the relationships between literacy skills acquisition and gendered cultural knowledges. The coexistence of literate and oral rationalities in rural Portugal fuelled interests in visual culture and on how religious experience is mediated by visual and material culture. The universe of visual theory and material culture studies was to become the center of his subsequent work related to museums. His PhD dissertation explored the articulation of colonialism, science, and museum culture, and how these merged in the co-development of the Dundo Museum in Northeast of Angola and of its proprietor, the Diamonds Company of Angola. This dissertation received the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation award for the Social and Human Sciences Thesis and was published by the same foundation in 2009. His work has been published in four different languages in eight different countries. He currently serves as Associate Director for Research and co-curator for Africa at the University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology.

Ken Sharpe

Kenneth E. Sharpe is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Political Science at Swarthmore College where he teaches political philosophy, practical ethics, Latin American politics, and foreign policy. His recent work is in the field of political philosophy and ethics with a focus on character development and practical wisdom in contemporary life, work, and politics. In 2002-2003 he was awarded a Mellon Foundation Grant to spend a year doing research on practical wisdom in contemporary life.  This research led him to team up with Swarthmore psychologist Barry Schwartz to design an interdisciplinary course, Practical Wisdom. The research and teaching he and Schwartz undertook led to their book: Practical Wisdom: The Right Way to Do the Right Thing (Penguin/Riverhead 2011). In 2014 he was awarded a grant from the Templeton Foundation to begin research on the effects of institutional design on encouraging or corroding character and practical wisdom. In addition to his work on practical wisdom, Professor Sharpe has written extensively about Latin American politics, U.S. foreign policy, narcotics policy, and democratization, involving over four years of field research in Latin America in Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic.


Lisa Sundstrom

Lisa McIntosh Sundstrom is an associate professor of political science at the University of British Columbia. Her regional area of expertise is Russia and the former Soviet Union. Her major research interests include democratization, human rights, women’s rights, the politics of international democracy assistance, and NGO activism in both domestic and transnational politics, including global environmental politics. She is currently working on two book manuscripts: one with Laura A. Henry on engagement with global governance institutions by NGOs from the BRICS countries; and a second with Valerie Sperling on gender discrimination cases at the European Court of Human Rights. She has published in scholarly journals including International Organization, Global Environmental Politics, Communist and Post-Communist Studies, Europe-Asia Studies, Problems of Post-Communism, and Human Rights Quarterly. Her book publications include Funding Civil Society: Foreign Assistance and NGO Development in Russia (Stanford University Press, 2006), Russian Civil Society: A Critical Assessment (ME Sharpe, 2005, co-edited with Alfred B. Evans, Jr. and Laura A. Henry), and Global Commons, Domestic Decisions: The Comparative Politics of Climate Change (MIT Press, 2010, co-edited with Kathryn Harrison).


Insite and Harm Reduction (April 7)

Maxine Davis

Maxine Davis is passionate about developing progressive approaches to improving the health and social conditions that impact the lives of people living with HIV, particularly in relation to the intersect with discrimination and mistreatment because of sexual orientation and gender identity, mental illness, addictions, homelessness, and poverty. Maxine has been Executive Director of the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation, leading the Foundation’s commitment to compassionate HIV care, since 1998. She oversaw the establishment of the original temporary Dr. Peter Centre and its transition to a modern facility in 2003, more than doubling its day health program and 24hr specialized nursing care facility. Today, she is leading the organization in contributing to British Columbia and global goals to end AIDS through building knowledge transfer capacity. Maxine serves on a number of provincial and national advisory committees including the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and the SALOME (Study to Assess Longer Term Opioid Medication Effectiveness) Advisory Committees, and is a member of the Vancouver Board of Trade. She received the Queen Elizabeth ll Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012), was Business in Vancouver CEO of the Year Awards Winner, Non-Profit category (2014), and twice nominated for the YWCA Women of Distinction Award.

Liz Evans

Liz Evans is the cofounder and former director of PHS Community Services Society, the organization that runs Insite. Liz trained as a nurse, and in one of Canada’s poorest postal codes worked for 23 years to envision and create numerous services that changed the way drug users are seen and treated.  People who were previously dying from overdose deaths and being infected with HIV can find dignity in housing, care and supports –  including Insite, North America’s only supervised injection facility as a result of a radical shift in approach. Liz is currently a fellow with the Open Society Foundation in New York and works as a consultant with “Insite for Community Safety”.  Liz has received a number of awards and recognitions most recently in 2013 being awarded the Red Ribbon Award by CAHR and in 2012 the Queens Diamond Jubilee Award for Community Service.


Darwin Fisher

Darwin is Coordinator at Insite, North America’s only Supervised Injection Facility. He works for the Portland Hotel Society, a socially active not for profit group that has provided housing, health care and community services in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES) for 20 years. Darwin has extensive front line experience in the DTES at various social housing and health care facilities.

Nichola Hall

Nichola is a founding member of From Grief to Action: Where Addiction Hits Home (FGTA), a not-for-profit devoted to providing support to families affected by drug addiction. Before discovering addiction in her family, Nichola had spent many years working and volunteering in the fields of social planning and community development, mostly with the Social Planning and Research Council of B.C.  While her two boys were in school she completed her B.A. in Political Science and then specialized with a Masters degree in public policy.  She spent 15 years at UBC as a Program Director in Arts, Humanities and Public Affairs, and served on the Board of the Association of Administrative and Professional Staff. She was named as a Woman of Distinction by the YWCA in 2003 for her voluntary activities.  Now retired, Nichola represents FGTA on three community boards and has spoken on behalf of FGTA to various groups around the world from Melbourne in Australia to Waterloo, Regina and Quesnel in Canada. Nichola and Ray have two sons who have been on methadone for several years and are still struggling with mental health and addiction issues.

Dean Wilson

Dean is a father of three and one of the beneficiaries of the Insite program. Famously referred to as “Canada’s most famous junkie,” Wilson has struggled with and overcome drug addiction in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. He was featured in the documentary by Nettie Wild, “Fix: The Story of an Addicted City,” which made his story famous. Wilson now speaks on issues of drug addiction, the Downtown Eastside, and what life is life for recovering addicts, and has become a vocal supporter of Insite.



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