‘Throw the box out the window’

Dr. Kristi Kenyon, associate professor, Global College, U of W

(Supplied photo)

For Kristi Kenyon, one of the best things about being an associate professor at the University of Winnipeg’s (U of W) Global College is the energy of the classroom.

“The world kind of changes in the classroom,” she says. “We’re learning from each other. We’re having conversations. It’s a

safe space to think through new ideas.”

Kenyon teaches courses that pertain to human rights. Prior to teaching, she worked as an activist and researcher for a variety of organizations.

“I worked for Amnesty International in London. I worked in Botswana on HIV with a local organization there for two years. I worked in Malaysia, mostly on sexual reproductive health rights,” she says. “I was working in that field and really enjoying it.”

After being out in the field, Kenyon decided to pursue a career in academia. This allowed her to maintain a connection with human-rights work and to research.

“I was really excited to see that opportunity, to be in a place that’s engaged with the community where I can do research outside of the box or even just throw the box out the window,” she says.

Alongside the joy of sustained research, Kenyon loves the interdisciplinary nature of Global College.

“We’re the only undergraduate human- rights program in Western Canada,” she says. “I’m from Western Canada, and I love being in an interdisciplinary program. My research has always been interdisciplinary.”

Kenyon is excited to teach the History of Human Rights in Canada course during the fall and winter terms. She’s enthusiastic about the course’s growing popularity and the opportunity for interesting conversations.

“The history of human rights in Canada, this is all of our story,” she says. “Whether we’ve just arrived or whether our families have been here forever, it’s everybody’s story. But it’s actually a collection of different stories. It’s really nice to be able to have that conversation in the classroom.”

What is something you’ve learned from your students?

“When we’re talking about human rights, everything is personal to somebody. I don’t always know how or to whom, but it is.”

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

“I think I’d have to go with time travel.”

What do you hope to inspire in your students?

“I want people to come out of my classes feeling like it is possible for things to change for the better.”

Published in Volume 76, Number 3 of The Uniter (September 23, 2021)

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