I received my PhD from York University in 2010, my MA from Queen’s University in 2005, and my HBA from the University of Toronto in 2003. I was also a CIHR ACHIEVE postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Research on Inner City Health at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. Before joining the Laurier community in 2013, I was an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Mount Allison University. My research focusses on youth and the social determinants of health from an interdisciplinary perspective. For many years, I have worked with and for Indigenous communities on a number of arts-based, community driven projects. My most recent work engages young people in conversations about sexual health education and reproductive justice.
My research engages young people in community-based, arts-informed research around anti-racism, sexual health education and the social determinants of health. In 2013, I published a book with University of Toronto Press titled Healing Home. I have also published widely on health promotion with Indigenous youth, sex education, and the experiences of youth who are unhoused.
I was a co-investigator on the CIHR-funded Taking Action for Youth research project, which worked with Indigenous youth over the course of 6 years to develop Indigenous leadership capacity in HIV prevention. I also received a CIHR Planning Grant to complete the Sex Ed North project, which engaged Indigenous youth in re-envisioning sexual health services in Denendeh (North West Territories).
In 2015, our research team began working on the #TAG: Transformation. Action. Graffiti project, a three-year project funded by SSHRC and CIHR, with the generous support of Six Nations of the Grand River. #TAG was an Indigenous-led research project that worked with youth to create beautiful graffiti murals in Six Nations and on the Laurier Brantford campus.
From 2016-2019, I worked as the faculty mentor on the Being Raced project, which was led by a team of undergraduate researchers: Paige Grant, Azka Choudhary, Joey Lee, and Kate Harvey. This work amplified the experiences of racialized students, staff, and faculty on Laurier's campuses and became pivotal in the university's EDI strategic plan.
Most recently, I have been working with several SSHRC-funded research teams that are working with both teachers and young people to study the creation, rollout, and delivery of sex education curricula in Ontario. Working with the SHORE Centre, we are currently focussing on formulating youth-generated recommendations for sexual health education programming that responds to young people’s diverse needs and lived experiences.
Oliver, V., & Flicker, S. (2023). “Declining Nudes: Canadian teachers’ responses to including sexting in the Sexual Health and Human Development curriculum. Sex Education.
Flicker, S., Gagnon, M., Gilbert, J., Guta, A., MacEntee, K., Oliver, V., Sanders, C. (2020).Changing the Rules: Ontario Teacher Reflections on Implementing Shifting Health and Physical Education Curricula. Research report from the Enacting Sex Education Update: A view from Ontario’s Teachers Research Project. York University, ON.
Whitlow, K., Oliver, V., Anderson, K., Brozowski, K., Tschirhart, S., Charles, D., & Ransom, K. (2019). Yehyatonhserayenteri: A Haudenosaunee Model for Onkwehon:we [Indigenous] Education. The Canadian Journal of Education, 42(2), 553-575.
YC100 – Introduction to Youth and Children’s Studies
YC/SOJE430 – Youth Cultures
YC/SOJE326 – Children, Toys and Media
YC400 - Senior Seminar in Youth and Chilren's Studies
YC440 – Youth and Sexuality
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