Dr. Aaron Franks

Aaron FranksPostdoctoral Fellow

Biography: Aaron is a critical human geographer with a background in the arts, particularly performance and theatre. After a successful stint as an actor for a decade, he made a vocational shift towards politically engaged research in 2006, attending Brock’s excellent Social Justice and Equity Studies program (where he ‘caught Geography’), followed by a PhD at Glasgow (a remarkable place and time). Aaron began work with HEC Lab collaborator and Centre for Environmental health Equity (CEHE) Director Jeff Masuda upon graduating and joined Jeff in the move from the University of Manitoba to Queen’s University. Aaron joined the HEC Lab as a postdoctoral researcher, while retaining his relationship with CEHE, and to support both groups’ community-based participatory research, health equity and critical inquiry into the connections between place, health and social justice.

Postdoctoral Research:

Aaron’s work with HEC Lab and CEHE built on his experience and interest in qualitative methods, critical and popular education, ecology and environmental justice, with the added lens of health and health equity. He served as the Project Coordinator for the SSHRC-funded three year project “Revitalizing Japantown?: a unifying exploration of Human Rights, branding and place in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside” and also worked closely with Jeff and a number of CEHE partners in the development of equity-focused knowledge translation (EqKT).


PhD, Geography, University of Glasgow, 2013

  • “Making Relations and Performing Politics: an ethnographic study of climate justice in Scotland with So We Stand”
  • Supervisor: Dr. Hayden Lorimer
  • Committee Members: Dr. Hester Parr (School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, Glasgow), Dr. David Featherstone (School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, Glasgow) and Professor David Crouch (University of Derby)
  • MA, Social Justice and Equity Studies (with Distinction), Brock University, 2008. A Minor Theory: The Transit of the Seed Into Political Discourse, via Campesina
  • BFA, Acting (with Distinction), University of Alberta, 1996


Franks, A. (2012) “Coffee cup ecologies: some reflections on gathering” Performance Research 17:4 42-48

Bottoms, S., Franks A., and Kramer, P. (2012) “On Ecology” Performance Research 17:4 1-4

In review:

Franks, A. “Kinder cuts and passionate modesties: the complex ecology of the invitation in participatory research”; Upcoming “Participatory Geographies” special section of Area

Franks, A., Masuda, J., Westmacott, C and Phipps, E. “Finding time and making space: developing Equity-focused Knowledge Translation through lived Children’s Environmental Health practice”; Critical Public Health

Peyton, J and Franks, A. “The New Nature of Things? The Harper Government and the formulation of the new environmental subject”. Antipode


  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Institute Community Support (ICS) Travel Award, Institute of Population and Public Health (2013) $705.
  • Glasgow University Scholarship, University of Glasgow (2008-2012)
  • UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Knowledge Exchange Small Grant (Co-investigator, Principal Applicant,): “Using Popular Education in Anti-Poverty and Environmental Justice Organizing: Bridging Constituencies, Building Movements, and Crossing Disciplines” (with Paul Routledge, Liam Kane and Eurig Scandrett) (2010-2011) £7108
  • Distinguished Graduate Student Award, Brock University (2009) $200