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Navigating Anti-Colonialism in Education: An Interview with Aneet Kahlon

This post is the second in a series of interviews with EDST student representatives.

The first post featured an interview with Silas Krabbe, GAA representative on GPACC.

Aneet Kahlon Banner

Today I am thrilled to introduce Aneet Kahlon (she/her/hers), a MA student and student representative in EDST. Aneet graciously took the time to share insights into her academic journey, research interests, and experiences within EDST.

Map of Calgart

From Science to SCPE

Aneet’s background before coming to EDST was in science learning. Coming from Calgary, AB Aneet earned her Biological Sciences degree at the University of Calgary, as well as a Bachelor of Education from the University of Alberta.

Originally wanting to come to UBC to study Marine Biology straight out high school, Aneet instead joined the Educational Studies department in fall 2022.

Finding Her Niche: SCPE and Anti-Racism 

In her pursuit of a Masters degree, Aneet found EDST’s SCPE (Society, Culture and Politics in Education) a wonderful fit, focusing on anti-racism and educational policy. Much of her previous university experiences were large, lecture-format classes, so she has really enjoyed the switch to smaller classes and the ability to talk about and engage in coursework with others.

Getting Involved as a Student Representative

Aneet is currently the student representative on the Scholarships and Awards Committee. While she hasn’t had the chance to meet with the committee this year, she is no stranger to volunteering in the department. Last year she was a SCPE student representative, and found it was a great way to meet people in EDST and get to know more about the inner-workings of the program.

People's Shadows (clipart)

Aneet shared her motivation for joining committees as a student representative, in that she aims to expand her involvement beyond classroom learning, emphasizing the importance of understanding the program’s decision-making processes.

Life Beyond EDST

When asked about hobbies, Aneet shared that she is learning to draw. In addition to taking drawing lessons, Aneet also enjoys doing other arts and crafts like embroidery, creative writing, journaling and poetry.

Aneet is hoping to incorporate her newfound passion for drawing into her thesis through the inclusion of family photos she has been drawing. She described how the process of carefully studying the small details of family photos has been a moving process which has allowed her to feel more connected to her grandparents and family memories. She credits one of her supervisors, Hartej Gill, for encouraging her to integrate creative outlets into her thesis, as she had incorporated creative writing into her own dissertation.

Around Vancouver

When asked about her favorite spots around Vancouver, Aneet shared that one of her favorite peaceful getaways is New Brighton Beach near Powell Street.

Another favorite spot is Main Street, particularly Caffe Artigiano. She might often be spotted browsing at a nearby bookstore before settling in to study at Caffe Artigiano with one of their delicious oat milk chai lattes. Aneet also enjoys immersing herself in Vancouver’s live music scene and appreciates the diverse range of local artists and the vibrant energy of the music scene.

Aneet’s Research and Experience with EDST

Aneet’s primary focus is on education policy research, specifically delving into anti-racism policy through an anti-colonial lens. Her thesis, titled “Anti-Colonial Content Analysis of Surrey School District’s Racial Equity Strategic Plan,” will examine how policy production impacts students, teachers, and communities. Her research is driven by a desire to challenge the status quo and advocate for anti-colonialism in education, aiming to create inclusive spaces where diverse voices are valued and heard.

As Aneet reflects on her journey, she’s grateful for the supportive community and the diverse perspectives she’s encountered in her time with EDST.

Thanks to Aneet for sharing her story!

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This blog post was the second in a series of interviews with EDST student representatives. Click here to learn more about EDST’s committees and opportunities to get involved.

Are you a student representative interested in being featured on the EDST blog? Click here to reach out to our blog editor, Jessica Lussier.

Doctoral Colloquium Series, Blog Post series

Co-developing the Indigenous Languages Act of Canada: Indigenous Roles in the Policy Process— Miranda Huron

In October 2023, EDST began hosting a Doctoral Colloquium. Once a month doctoral students and candidates present their research to EDST students, staff and faculty.

In this blog post:

Doctoral Colloquium coordinator, Yotam Ronen, recaps Miranda Huron’s Colloquium.

Miranda Huron Banner

What does the process of policy making look like when Indigenous people are involved? How do Indigenous actors perceive policy processes, and how much agency do they really have in developing policy that works for them?

These are the important questions that Miranda Huron grapples with in her study on the co-development of Canada’s Indigenous Languages Act. Huron became the Director of “Languages and Culture” for the Assembly of First Nations in 2017. Part of this role included co-leading the co-development of the Indigenous Languages Act. Her experience has led her to wonder about the co-development process and to ask questions regarding the agency of those involved in it.

Banner that reads "developing legislation"

In 2015, when the Trudeau government came to power it decided on the legislation of the Indigenous Languages Act. This declaration included wording on co-development and envisaged the process as one of nation to nation. Yet, it remains unclear what “co-development” means, or what the federal government defines as “nation to nation.”

The process of developing this legislation highlights these opaque definitions. When developing this legislation, actors—both representatives of the government and Indigenous communities—referred to recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Yet, the recommendations related to languages proved insufficient for comprehensive legislation, and actors wished to form a more nuanced document for the Act itself.

The need for a more comprehensive language legislation was revealed through a discovery process that was undertaken as part of the development of the Indigenous Languages Act. The National Engagement Sessions consisted of a discovery project whereby the Métis National Council (MNC), Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and the Canadian government each went into their own processes of engagement. Interviews with language keepers, elders, language warriors, youth, and others were conducted to explain what the legislation was, and to gain insights from those most affected by it. These conversations yielded 12 principles, that were then developed into a draft for the Act, which was then presented to government.

Banner that reads "The Meaning of Co-development"

The next stages included presenting the draft to the cabinet, and after it was revised there, to the Department of Justice. In both processes, Indigenous people had no ability to know what the conversation was or how the act was being changed. This detail raises a question about the meaning of “co-development,” as it was in these crucial stages that Indigenous people were removed from the conversation.

Although officially not in the room, actors were able to participate somewhat by receiving information on the process as it was unfolding, and by gaining the opportunity from the Department of Justice to reflect on the revised Act to ensure that its intent was understood correctly. Although important, the informality of this part of the process meant that there was no official protocol for this consultation, and the only way for Indigenous people to refer to such practices in the future is by documenting the experience of those involved.

Thus, the need for understanding the agency of actors at the co-development table reveals itself. With vagueness around the meaning of the term “co-development,” and with limited willingness to include Indigenous people in legislation, it is vital to understand how this policy process was conducted. The first step in gaining this understanding goes through understanding how the actors involved in the process perceived the process they were engaged in.

Huron's Study

To answer this question, Miranda Huron aims to employ grounded theory methodology, where interviews with participants in this legislation will start from a set of questions but will maintain openness for other topics to come up. Official documents such as the legislation itself will be employed as touch stones that solidify moments in the legislation development. Together, this work may clarify what co-development means for those most affected by the policy and will offer important critique for this and other legislation processes.

Now, five years after the Indigenous Languages Act was passed into legislation, it is vital to take stock of its development process as well as its results and ask questions about the Act’s ability to respond to the needs of Indigenous people across Canada. This study forces us to come to terms with how policy is made, and in what ways does the policy development process include the communities that stand to benefit from it.

Interested in more from EDST’s Doctoral Colloquium Series? 

Check out our Doctoral Colloquium page for more.

The next meeting of the EDST Doctoral Colloquium is Thursday, February 8th.

Addyson Frattura Colloquium February 8th

PhD candidate, Addyons Frattura, will present on the topic of School Expulsion and the Problem of Freedom”.

February 8, 2024, 12-1:30pm in PCN 2012.


Banner that reads: "EDST Student Representatives Interview Series"

Navigating Education and Community: An interview with Silas Krabbe

This post is the first in a series of interviews with EDST student representatives.

Banner that reads "EDST Student Rep: Silas Krabbe"

Silas Krabbe (he/him/his) is a PhD student in UBC’S Educational Studies department. Silas was born and raised in Calgary, AB, but moved to Fraser Valley in 2007 for college. In 2013 he moved to Vancouver to begin his graduate studies, and in fall of 2019 he joined EDST to earn his MEd in SCPE (Society, Culture and Politics in Education).

In 2021 Silas rejoined EDST to begin his PhD in Educational Studies.

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His research interests include violence, pedagogy, and philosophy of education. Some of his recent work includes:

In addition to these recent publications, Silas is currently co-editing a special issue on “antifacist education” for the journal Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies.

Silas currently serves as a GAA in the department, as well as the GAA research representative on the Graduate Programs Advisory and Curriculum Committee (GPACC). He chose to become an EDST representative to gain a better understanding of the department, and to learn more about where the department is heading.

Typically meeting once a month, the GPACC advises on all matters related to graduate education within EDST. Members review, advise, and assess the department’s educational philosophy, and curriculum development, as well as coordinate student enrolment, and organize student orientation and graduation activities.

For example, Silas shared that currently the GPACC is processing course approvals and reviewing syllabi for the summer terms. The other current discussion taking place in the committee is the topic of how many future courses ought to be offered in online, hybrid, and in-person modalities.

“One goal I try and keep in mind as a student rep is trying to consider how the decisions being made will effect the experience of EDST students in terms of having something of a learning community throughout their course of study.”

Starting his PhD program in the fall of 2021, Silas understands the importance of learning communities for EDST students, and shares:

"This goal is rooted in my own belief that education is best done with others and not in isolation.”

Beyond academia, on winter weekends Silas can found downhill skiing, while in the summers his free time is spent sailing around the Salish sea. Around the city, Silas might be found taking a walk through Pacific Spirit Park or at a Vancouver bar called “The Narrow.”

Interested in learning more about Silas’ work?

Silas will be presenting at EDST’s Doctoral Colloquium series, 

12-1:30pm, Thursday, January 11th.

Click below to RSVP for this catered event!

Banner describing Silas' Doctoral Colloquium event

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This blog post was the first in a series of interviews with EDST student representatives. Click here to learn more about EDST’s committees and opportunities to get involved.

Are you a student representative interested in being featured on the EDST blog? Click here to reach out to our blog editor, Jessica Lussier.

Doctoral Colloquium Series, Blog Post series

Higher Education Beyond Hope— Jed Anderson

Beginning this October…

EDST will host a Doctoral Colloquium. Once a month doctoral students and candidates will present their research to department students, staff and faculty. After their presentations, speakers will respond to audience questions. In this blog post, the Doctoral Colloquium coordinator, Yotam Ronen, summarizes the first of these presentations, given by EDST PhD Candidate, Jed Anderson.

What does it mean to live in a Northern peripheral region in both the global and Canadian context? What happens when settlers leave after colonizing a Northern area? In what ways is higher education implicated in these questions? These are the topics that Jed Anderson discussed in the first meeting of the EDST Doctoral Colloquium.

Anderson brought together Marxist theories on capitalism and colonization, works on Imperial communication and industrialization, as well as theoretical work on geographical space, to analyze Northern British Columbia and the development of higher education there. Using methods from political history and historical geography, Anderson conducted textual and document analysis, synthesizing his findings and positioning them in their spatial and temporal context.

This framework yielded an analysis that differentiated between three regions in Northern BC—Northcentral BC, Northeastern BC, and Northwestern BC—each with its own particular characteristics and its own unique trends of colonization.

Driven by resource extraction, the developing railway system in Northcentral BC brought with it the development of higher education institutions on the railway path.

In the Northeast, hopes for gold extraction were supplanted by an agricultural land-rush shaped by the formulation of scientific colonization. This Great Depression-era settlement effort was planned and closely monitored by researchers from both BC and Alberta. This colonization was accompanied by the establishment of higher education institutions alongside scientific colonization efforts, and soon after struggles over jurisdiction of these institutions ensued between Alberta and British Columbia. Here, a flourishing arts program was consistently defunded, and resources were transitioned towards resource extraction.

Finally, the Northwest saw the earliest violent contact between settlers and Indigenous people, where multiple imperial projects competed for the same space. Massive industrial projects in the region before and after World War Two brought in settlers, but when these projects winded down, a process of unsettlement occurred by which settlers left for economic reasons and Indigenous people asserted their right to self-determination. This opportunity for Indigenous capacity-building was reflected, among other things, in new higher education institutions that emphasized Indigenous perspectives and needs.



An examination of these three regions shows how, despite an expected level of homogeneity, there is considerable diversity in the development of higher education in Northern BC. Differing contexts and contingencies, coupled with the weakening of colonial institutions, allowed for considerable change in the three regions, that is reflected in the development of higher education and the sort of challenges and questions that each region grapples with. Furthermore, this examination highlights the significance of conversations on unsettlement, the place of the arts in higher education, and the close ties between industry, capital, colonialism, and higher education.

The second meeting of the EDST Doctoral Colloquium is next week (November 1st)!

PhD candidate, Miranda Huron, will present on the topic of Co-developing the Indigenous Languages Act of Canada: Indigenous Roles in the Policy Process”.

November 1st, 2023, at 11 am, in PCOH 2012.

EDST Welcome to the 2023-24′ Year

Welcome back to another year in EDST!

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For those of you who are new to the department, from the blog team I’d like to extend a warm welcome. The department is a wonderful community to join, hosting talented teaching and research faculty, as well as a dynamic and welcoming student population. The department is unique in that it includes a wide variety of research areas across education, allowing us to speak with, learn from, and work with others across multiple disciplines.

The intention behind creating the EDST blog was to create an online forum where students, faculty, and staff can engage with educational ideas, practice communicating in new ways, and act as public intellectuals.

With this intention in mind, I’d like to invite all EDST students, faculty, and staff to submit to the EDST blog

Submissions may take on many forms, including:

  • Reflections on University life,

Above are just a few examples of how the blog has been utilized by EDST members- what else would you like to see? Comment below with ideas, suggestions, or feedback for the EDST blog,

Interested in writing for the blog?

Reach out! The blog team is happy to work with students and faculty to get their work up on the blog.

Have an idea you’re not sure about? Email us and we can provide feedback, pointers, or other support to get your work up on the blog. Blog submissions are accepted on a rolling basis.

Submissions on any topic related to educational research will be considered. Looking for a theme or starting point? Watch the below “Call for Papers” around the theme of “community.”

Call For Papers


Questions or submissions ideas can be sent to: