Laurence Butet-Roch*

York University


Fellowship Received: 2019, 2020, 2021
Academic Supervisor: Cate Sandilands

Laurence Butet-Roch is a PhD student in Environmental Studies at York University in Toronto. Her research, supported by a Joseph Armand-Bombardier SSHRC award, unsettles mainstream representation of environmental contamination in Canada through participatory visual discourse analysis and collaborative photographic approaches. This work builds on her photographic and journalistic practice focused on environmental justice and treaty relationships, as well as her expertise in interactive storytelling and digital sovereignty. Over the past decade, she has contributed to publications such as Aperture, BESIDE, British Journal of Photography, The New York Times Lens Blog, TIME Lightbox, New Yorker Photo Booth, Raw View, BlackFlash, PhotoLife, Point of View, National Geographic, Globe and Mail, Nouveau Projet, Huck Magazine, Polka Magazine, and Foam Magazine. She recently collaborated with award-winning photographers Amber Bracken and Sara Hylton on a project that focused on exploring the ways that the fossil fuel industry in Canada were furthering their agenda in spite of, and, at times thanks to pandemic. Reflections from this project, which was funded by a National Geographic COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Journalist, were published in NiCHE: Beyond her academic endeavours, as a journalist and photographer committed to making media coverage more just and representative, Laurence actively contributes to initiatives that share this goal. This includes mentoring emerging photographers through the BIPOC Mentorship program and championing the work of women and non-binary photographers through the Women Photograph organization.

Academic Achievements, Social Engagement Initiatives:
2020 – 2023 Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship - Doctoral, SSHRC
2020 COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Journalist, National Geographic
2019 Graduate Fellowship for Academic Distinction, York University
2019 York University Graduate (Entrance) Scholarship
2019 Virtual Grounds Fellowship on feminist perspectives on digital sustainability and survival, Digital
Justice Lab & Trinity Square Video, Toronto, Canada
2018 Honorable Mention, Dorothea Lange–Paul Taylor Prize, Center for Documentary Studies at Duke
2017 Ontario Arts Council: Exhibition Assistance Grant
2016 Board of Governors Leadership Award and Medal in the Yeates School of Graduate Studies
2016 X Gold Medal for the Interdisciplinary Programs in the Yeates School of Graduate Studies
2016 Photography Expanded, Magnum Foundation and Brown Institute, New York, United States
2015 – 2016 Ontario Graduate Scholarship, Ryerson University
2004 Major Entrance Scholarship, University of British Columbia

Brief Summary of Support Program Activities (SAG):
Funding from the Sylff Research Grant will be used to support fieldwork activities for the doctoral research project entitled "Toxic Images: Visual Representation of Industrial Contamination and Frontline Communities". Building on the intersection of environmental justice and disability justice scholarship, this work, which acknowledges the perceptual and material role images play, aims to foster more responsible coverage of environmental injustices. This is especially salient in Canada, where the United Nations has found evidence of an endemic “toxic divide” adversely affecting Indigenous communities. The recommendations will be grounded in a participatory study of the visual representation of Aamjiwnaang First Nation in Ontario, through creative workshops.

To contact this fellow, email the Sylff Association at sylff[a] (replace [a] with @).