MA Student, Recreation and Leisure Studies


Michela StinsonI am currently working to complete my Master’s degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies with the intent of transitioning into the Doctoral program in September 2019. Reaching this point in my academic career has been a wild ride of forays into retail management, social work, psychology (in which I received a BA. Hons.), music, labour, and living in my truck. These experiences have been linked together by a restlessness solely satiated by driving long distances, rock climbing, and storytelling, processes which (to me) are inherently mapped into/onto my life and person, and let me map them in turn. Despite my entrenchment in academia, I remain an advocate for DIY publishing, local destruction/creation, and the dissolution of any and all binaries. Though I currently live in Niagara Falls, I am still more likely to be found halfway up a wall somewhere on the Escarpment or sleeping in my truck at a rest stop in Wyoming. Outside of my academic preoccupations, I currently work as a route-setter at Gravity Climbing Gym in Hamilton, Ontario. Accordingly, much of my thinking is accomplished on the network of highways that link Niagara Falls, Hamilton, and Kitchener.

Research interests

Relational Materialism, Narrative, Tourism Orderings, Rock Climbing, Power

Broadly, my research interests and practices tend to cluster around themes of relational materialism, posthuman methodologies, narrative, and tourism orderings. My Master’s thesis work explores the more-than-human assemblage of beta—a rock climbing term that denotes a sequence of movements used to accomplish a climb—as a material-discursive defacing of the Niagara Escarpment in Ontario, Canada. This work was born out of a well-timed introduction to Actor-Network Theory coinciding with a personal need to explore the many strange and vital agencies of Southern Ontario limestone. Further, my experiences incorporating my own anxiety into my research practice throughout my Master’s work has led me to advocate for the productive inclusion of affect in tourism research methodology. Additionally, I am working as research assistant on projects concerning narrative inquiry and Settler storytelling, and how ‘intervening objects’ of tourism can prompt reconciliation within Settler Canadians.

University of Waterloo

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