Cressida Heyes Phd

Renée McBeth Beausoleil

Governance processes can either hinder or support the relationships that enable healthy communities. My research asks: is it possible to build forms of governance that can effectively respond to inequalities related to colonialism, racism, gender and class? To facilitate specific research results, this question can be framed more precisely: what principles and processes can help respond to conflict and build horizontal relationships in the governance of housing and support services? Put most simply, in the context of specific downtown communities: how do we govern our relationships with each other?

In answering these questions, this project responds to the need for processes that can assist service organizations and community members in Victoria to have dialogue and work together across differences, and to do so in a way that responds to inequity in downtown communities. As a result of our co-governance work, the researcher and community participants have together produced The Victoria Declaration – A Statement on Governance in Housing and Support Services (“the Declaration”). Our governance resource was the result of a facilitated consensus-building process completed over the course of four community workshops and involving over 70 people. Half of the participants have experience with homelessness and about half are Indigenous peoples.

The Declaration bridges differences created by race, gender, class and colonialism to produce a statement of shared understanding and vision on the governance of homelessness and community housing in Victoria, BC (Songhees and Esquimalt territories). My dissertation is also centered on bridging — articulating deeply relational field work, existing community knowledges about how to respond to inequity and critical theories that, together, provide the intellectual foundations for the project. These sources of knowledge all inform the community engaged Practical Governance Method I have developed through the research. Practical Governance research involves significant and substantive work with a community work to co-create a governance resource. Moreover, Practical Governance requires analyzing how relationships are central to governance work. Although this work centers relationships, Practical Governance researchers need to balance building and maintaining relationships with challenging the patterns of governance and power that produce inequity. The result is tangible tools to help build governance that is relational, inclusive and attentive to intersecting forms of inequity.

Prior to beginning my PhD in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta, I completed an MA in Political Science and Cultural, Social, and Political Thought at the University of Victoria. I also hold a BA Honors Specialization in International Development from the Centre for GlobalStudies at Huron College.I have worked with community-based organizations for more than ten years and was previously the Coordinator of the Consortium on Democratic Constitutionalism and the Coordinator of the UVic Indigenous Law Research Unit. Currently, I am an affiliate of the Indigenous Law Research Unit and a Fellow of the Wahkohtowin Law and Governance Lodge.


Selected research contributions

Beausoleil, R. (2019). Practical Governance in Housing and Support Services. Pyriscence Magazine. Available online:

McBeth Beausoleil, R. “Are police community members? The interplay between structures and relationships in community governance work.” Presentation at the meeting of the Prairie Political Science Association (Indigenous Relationality Workshop). Banff, AB: 14 September 2019.

McBeth Beausoleil, R. “Home in the City: Principles and Processes in Urban Housing Governance.” Presentation at the Intersections of Gender Launch Celebration – Grad Research Showcase. Edmonton, AB: 28 March 2019.

Jobin, S., Friedland, H., Beausoleil, R. & Kappo, T. (2018). “Wahkohtowinᐊᐦᑯᐦᑐᐏᐣ: Principles, Process, and Pedagogy” [Unpublished manuscript].

McBeth Beausoleil, R., & Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness. Framework: Wisdom of the Elders – Guidance from the Community: A Tailored Approach to Indigenize Harm Reduction, pp. 1-19.

McBeth Beausoleil, R., & Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness. Indigenous Pathways to Health and Well-being: Managed Alcohol Program Feasibility Study, pp. 1-10.

McBeth Beausoleil, R. “Wahkohtowin Learning & Practice.” Presentation at Reconciliation | Wahkohtowin Conference. Enoch Cree Nation, AB: 22 September 2017.

McBeth Beausoleil, R. “The Politics of Decolonization and Redistribution.” Meeting of the Prairie Indigenous Politics Association. Banff, AB: 15 September 2017.

McBeth, R. “The Politics of Feminist Solidarity in the Intersectional Present.” Presentation at the annual meeting of the Western Political Science Association. Vancouver, BC: 14 April 2017.

McBeth, R. “Power, authority, territory: The politics of decolonization and redistribution.” Presentation at the meeting of the International Studies Association. Baltimore, MD: 22 February 2017.

McBeth, R. “Methods interruptus: Knowledge and authority in antipoverty research and activism.” Presentation at the Decolonizing Conference at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Toronto, ON: 3 November 2016.

McBeth, R. “The ethics of interruption: Anticolonial solidarity unsettling antipoverty research.”Presentation at themeeting of the Western Political Science Association. San Diego, CA: 24 March 2016.

Selected honours and awards

Frank Peers Graduate Research Scholarship, 2018

Graduate Teaching Award, University of Alberta, 2018

President’s Doctoral Prize of Distinction, 2016-18

SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Doctoral Scholarships, 2016-19

FGSR Doctoral Recruitment Scholarship, University of Alberta, 2015

Lynne Anne Baldwin Memorial Award, University of Alberta, 2015

SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Master’s Scholarships, 2008

Graduate Award, University of Victoria, 2007

Award for Advanced Scholarship and Community Service, Huron College, 2007

African Scholarship Award, Huron College, 2007

The Dr. Don Melady and Mr. Rowley Mossop Diversity Scholarship, Huron College, 2006