Political scientists coming to VIU for provincial conference

A split screen photo of Dr. Morgan Mowatt on the left and Dr. Michael MacKenzie on the right. Both are smiling at the camera in portrait-style shots with greenery in the background.

Dr. Morgan Mowatt and Dr. Michael MacKenzie will be the keynote speakers during the BC Political Studies Association Conference at VIU this week.

Photo: Vancouver Island University

April 29, 2024 - 12:30pm

What: BC Political Studies Association Conference

When: Thursday, May 2 and Friday, May 3

Where: VIU Nanaimo campus

Nanaimo, BC: An annual conference focusing on trust and leadership is coming to Vancouver Island University (VIU) this week.

The BC Political Studies Association (BCPSA) Conference will take place at the Nanaimo campus on May 2 and 3. Hosted by VIU’s Political Studies department, the conference will include multi-disciplinary research papers and posters by faculty and students on trust and leadership across time and space, climate change and public policy and other related topics. Dr. Michael MacKenzie, VIU’s Jarislowsky Chair in Trust and Political Leadership, encourages anyone interested in these topics to attend. 


“This is a conference about public issues that people know and care a lot about, and the people who are presenting at this conference spend their time studying these things and we have a lot of interesting things to say about them," he said.

The conference will feature two keynote speakers. On May 2, researcher and university professor Dr. Morgan Mowatt will talk on: “A Package Deal: Indigenous Knowledge, Culture and Political Authority-Making.” On May 3, Jarislowsky Research Chairs in Trust and Political Leadership  MacKenzie (VIU) and Dr. Cris de Clercy (Trent University) will give a joint talk on “Contemporary Challenges in Democratic Leadership and Public Trust.”

Both keynote events will take place on the fifth floor of the VIU Library and both speakers will be available for media interviews.

For Mowatt, speaking at this year’s conference is a way to share their work and research in a place that is already very familiar to them.

“I did my undergrad at VIU, where I studied Indigenous Studies and Political Studies,” said Mowatt. “It was the catalyst for my research today and I’m always looking for ways to stay connected.”

Mowatt is a member of the Gitxsan Nation and is a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow with the Centre for Indigenous Research and Community-Led Engagement and the School of Indigenous Governance at the University of Victoria. Their research is focused on Indigenous authority-making, Indigenous-state relations, more-than-human diplomacy, and reciprocal and resurgent governance against colonial and imperial violence.

Mowatt will be the first Indigenous keynote speaker at a BCPSA conference and will speak about how Indigenous knowledge is “involved in authority-making processes, and Indigenous cultural systems and their relationship to legal and political systems.”

MacKenzie said his joint presentation with de Clercy is an opportunity to talk about the contemporary challenges facing democratic leadership.

The conference is open to the public and tickets can be purchased via Eventbrite.



Eric Zimmer, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

P: 250.618.7296 | E: Eric.Zimmer@viu.ca | X: @VIUNews


The VIU community acknowledges and thanks the Snuneymuxw, Quw’utsun, Tla’amin, Snaw-naw-as and Qualicum First Nation on whose traditional lands we teach, learn, research, live and share knowledge.

Tags: Political Studies | Teaching and Learning

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