Kathleen is a born and raised Calgarian who has watched her city change and grow over the past few decades. Armed with a degree in psychology from the University of Calgary, she has been active in community efforts to reduce stigma surrounding mental illness and promote strategies for healthy living. As a researcher with a local non-profit organization, Kathleen works to promote inclusion and enhance community supports for individuals with developmental disabilities. As a result of working and being actively involved in her own community, her future goals are focused on supporting communities to be inclusive, vibrant, and sustainable. She is particularly interested in exploring how community organizations can work together to develop strategies and solutions that address complex social issues. Kathleen enjoys spending her downtime out and about in the city and loves walking by the river and reading in cozy coffee shops. With a performance background in music and drama, she tries to take advantage of the art scene in Calgary by attending events showcasing local music, dance, and theatre.
Erin has mixed feelings toward her hometown of Calgary. On the one hand, she is deeply troubled and frustrated by its decidedly corporate culture and close relationship with the Tar Sands; on the other, she is energized and excited by the growing momentum towards an alternate path for Calgary, epitomized by burgeoning urban agriculture, Civic Camp, the Bow River Flow, and the election of a new mayor. A self-described on-again/off-again MSW student, Erin hopes to further contribute to the emerging field of “eco-social work” upon her eventual return to school. She firmly believes that environmental and social justice are forever intertwined and is thrilled to be working at the Arusha Centre, where she can put this view into action. Erin feels that social change work can take so many varied forms, each with its own value. However, she also feels that that the importance of including fun in the process is too often under-appreciated. Erin is entirely passionate about community and about our role as stewards of this earth. The Rocky Mountains and digging in a garden are the only things that genuinely relax her. Erin feels very lucky to be part of this first Next Up group in Calgary!
Chelsea woke up one morning and realized no amount of money; fancy clothes or large house in the suburbs was going to make her happy. She began to question conventional norms like speciesism, consumerism, and birthdays. When she realized she was living in one of the most capitalistic cities in Canada, she promptly backed her bags and headed for greener pastures.
Just kidding. She stuck around to help contribute to a city that she hopes will one day accurately reflect the values and beliefs of its inhabitants. Chelsea can often be found asleep during city council sessions or pontificating about food justice to anyone who will listen.
Edmonton native Ryan Williams is a musician and teacher. He holds a diploma in music composition from MacEwan University, and bachelor’s degree in sociology and from Simon Fraser University. He has lived in Edmonton for most of his life, with time spent in Metro Vancouver, and a short time in France.
With a background in performing arts and critical theory, Ryan works to challenge the underlying cultural assumptions that support damaging social structures. He regards the Canadian state as essentially colonial and capitalist, betraying it’s stated ideals of democracy and plurality to destroy nature and people in the relentless pursuit of corporate profit. Ryan believes that the only way to even begin a radical transformation in how we live together on earth is to encourage others with open arms to explore different ways of thinking and being.
A guiding theme for Ryan has been synthesis, be it of academic disciplines, artistic sensibilities, or cultural affectations. His interests lie in the intersections between capitalism, colonialism, sexuality, spirituality, art, addiction, and mental health.
Heather is a registered social worker who works in the area of child protection and high-risk youth. She is a strong advocate for ensuring the resources are available to ensure that all youth have access to supported education, and housing.
Heather is currently engaged with her union AUPE and Local 006 as the chapter 14 chair. Through this role she continues to ensure a safe and equitable workplace for all 850 members in her chapter.
She also enjoys the music and festivals around Edmonton and has been a coordinator at the Edmonton Folk Festival for the last 5 years and a volunteer for 10. Heather is looking forward to the upcoming year at Next Up and putting her learning into practice.
Dan Scratch is a social studies teacher at Inner-City High School in Edmonton, Alberta. He is a social justice advocate and believes that education can be used as a tool to empower youth to become critically engaged citizens who use their power to transform their lives and the world around them.
Dan’s teaching practice is grounded in critical and reality pedagogy, which basically means you’ll see him and his students using the elements of hip hop, social media, and democracy to create meaningful dialogue and learning.
Dan has a Masters of Education from Mount Saint Vincent University and an undergraduate degree in History from the University of Windsor. In his spare time, Dan writes volunteer research articles focusing on various social justice issues and then chills out with his awesome cats!
Alec Stratford is pumped to be apart of the Next Up community. He is originally from Halifax Nova Scotia and has lived in Edmonton for the past two years. Currently Alec is social worker with the City of Edmonton’s Neighbourhood Empowerment Team, teaches social work at Grant MacEwan University and is serving his first term as a council member on the Alberta College of Social Workers.
Alec has a passion and dedication for community development and believes that engaged informed communities can lead too the broader social, political and economic changes that are needed to create a more equal and just society.
He also has a passion for international development and has previously completed an internship with the Aga Khan Foundation in Tanzania where he worked with local community groups on community based participatory education policy research.
Terry Noel is a Bachelor of Arts graduate, with a major in Political Science, and a minor in Economics. He loves creative work, and will spend much of his day making music, writing, or drawing things that keep him positive.
Once hesitant to become involved in activism, Terry found motivation following the Occupy movement in 2011 and its creation a permanent physical space downtown for people to come together and build networks with others that had similar ideas. Since then, he has developed a passion for horizontal decision making, spends his free time organizing, and can often be found at many grassroots events and protests throughout Edmonton, following his goal of removing barriers to activism through the encouragement of community participation.
Terry’s work includes being the co-chair of the World University Services of Canada at Grant MacEwan University, a delegate for National Model United Nations 2011, Vice Chair of Sierra Club Prairie Chapter, candidate for the Green Party in 2012, CEO of Edmonton East Green Party Association, and co-founder of the Seeds Feeds and Needs food co-operative.
Jill Hoselton is excited to be a participant of Next Up 5. Having a background in political science and social work, Jill has developed a passion for anti-oppressive practice and a commitment to social justice. Currently she is doing a placement at the Alberta College of Social Workers, working in advocacy.
Jill’s areas of interest are community development/revitalization, gender studies, food security, animal and nature therapy, and anything else that facilitates others to live full and peaceful lives! She believes through creativity, conversations and relationship building, Edmonton, along with Alberta will become more accessible, just and engaging places to live in.