Trish Van Katwyk

Director, School of Social Work

Trish Van Katwyk

Phd Social Work, Wilfrid Laurier University

MSW Wilfrid Laurier University

Bachelor of Arts Psychology University of Waterloo



SWREN 422R – Macro Practice

SWREN 434R – Fields of Social Work Practice

SK 600 – Health and Diversity


SWK 600R Diversity & Health

SWK 605R Knowledge Mobilization & Evidence-Based Practice

SWK 608R Health Issues & Ethics

Courses developed:

SWK 605R Knowledge Mobilization & Evidence-Based Practice

SWK 608R Health Issues & Ethics


2016 – Two Row Wampum Paradigmatic Exploration of Alliance-building 

This research is using multiple methods to explore the possibilities and potentials of alliance-building between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Some of the methodology focuses on the alliances that can occur between Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth. The methodology is an action methodology, using paddling, journeying and active dialogue to build and document alliance-building. Working with Dr. Bonnie Freeman, an Indigenous scholar from the School of Social Work at McMaster University, this research began with the two of us participating in a Two Row Wampum commemoration event, paddling almost 60 kilometers on the Grand River over three days. We began each day with a Haudenosaunee thanksgiving address, and ended with a Haudenosaunee closing address at the campfire. Talks were given about the Two-Row Wampum covenant, current Six Nations’ concerns and accomplishments, and a tour was provided of the Mohawk Institute, including the residential school at Six Nations. We will continue our research with a proposal to host a series of dialogues between Indigenous youth, non-Indigenous youth and the Waterloo Regional Police Service. The dialogue will be documented by a team of Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth artists in the form of images to become a poster for distribution. We will also conduct a scan for alliance-building initiatives in Ontario. 

We have been invited to submit a chapter to an edited book about Indigenous research, to be published in the Spring of 2017. 

2016 – The Recognition Project – Self-Harm and Recognition Through Dance

This research will use dance to explore the experiences of self-injury. Beginning with gathering the stories about self-injury from young people (aged 13 – 18 years), a compiled narrative will be developed and a choreographed dance piece will be created by professional dancer/choreographers. The research participants will meet regularly with the dancer/choreographers and the research team in a dance studio, and will be taught the choreographed piece. They will also have the chance to alter the movements and expressions that do not suitably reflect the narrative they have contributed to. The participants will have the option of performing their piece to an audience of their choice (family, support providers, and/or a wider community). The purpose of this research is to explore young people’s experience with self-injury through dance and group discussions. This study provides participants with the opportunity to express and share their stories through dance with other people with similar experiences. Findings from study will also allow us to better understand young people’s experience with self-injury, empower people struggling with self-injury, and educate community to improve supports. 

The research is supported by the Astley Family Foundation.

2015 – Youth and Art for Better Communities (Youth-ABC)

This research is an exploration of the experience of youth living in a rural setting. Using information gathered from census reports, community reports, practitioners who work with youth, and one-on-one interviews with over 80 youth, we found some common themes about access, opportunity, social networking, diversity and the physical environment. We worked with groups of youth to look more deeply at these themes and ended in a place of duality encapsulated by the public/private divide. Youth found themselves in a position of wanting to engage and succeed in the public spheres of life, yet confronting policies and resource allocations that restrict them to the private spheres of life. This is a particular quandary because of the strength of pressures to be competent in the public sphere. Such a dilemma-producing duality is endemic in the neoliberal movement. This final conversation with the youth will be conceptualized as a sculpture, created by local youth artists, to be displayed for public view.

2015 – Stories that Count

This research has created an opportunity for youth to tell their stories about their encounters with police. Over 40 stories gathered in rural and urban settings were compiled into two narratives, which were then developed into two graphic booklets by two local youth artists. With two other youth, and a dialogue-based workshop was developed which incorporated the graphic booklet narratives and a literature review about police practices. This workshop will be conducted with Waterloo Region Police Services. The feedback from WRPS participants will be incorporated, and the workshop will be made available online as a training resource for police services, youth services, and the general public.

2015 – Art as Knowledge

This research is considering the possibilities of art as a significant producer and mobilizer of knowledge. The projects have looked specifically at dance. The work includes a careful examination of the ways in which knowledge is validated and assessed, so that the connections between knowledge and power have become evident. The research exploration is a consideration of knowledge through a social justice lens.

2012 – 2015 – Humanities 101

This is a free university-level course for community members who have been unable to access post-secondary environments because of financial obstacles. I am the coordinator of the course, which entails developing strong partnerships between community agencies, professors throughout University of Waterloo, community members, University of Waterloo student volunteers, and funders.

The underlying principle of this program is about the link between poverty and social exclusion. The research and theoretical work that has come out of this program has focused on concepts of belonging and recognition, the entrance point (into potentially exclusive space), and on embodied privilege.


Van Katwyk, T., Sherbakov, A. (2016). Workshop presentation: Youth, Police and Community: An Open Dialogue. Department of Community & Criminal Justice, Conestoga College, Kitchener.  

Van Katwyk, T. (2015). Workshop presentation: Recognition theory and newcomer support service delivery. Parkdale Intercultural Association, Toronto. 

Van Katwyk, T. & Liegghio, M. (2014). Workshop presentation: The voice of resilience: An anti-stigma approach with young people and their caregivers in child and youth mental health. Ontario Association of Social Workers Provincial Conference, Toronto.

Van Katwyk, T. (2014). Paper presentation: Critical pedagogy and sex education. Dare to Stand Out Canada, National GSM Service Providers Summit, Toronto: Ryerson University.


Van Katwyk, T. & Ashcroft, R. (2016). Using participatory action research to access social work voices: Acknowledging the fit. Journal of Progressive Human Services: August.

Ashcroft, R. & Van Katwyk, T. (2016). Joining the global conversation: Social workers define health using a participatory action research approach. The British Journal of Social Work, 46(2).

Ashcroft, R., and Van Katwyk, T. (2016). The bio-medical model of health and social work considerations of social justice. Journal of Social Work in Public Health, 31(3).

Liegghio, M., Van Katwyk, T., Freeman, B., Caragata, L., Sdao-Jarvie, K., Brown, K.C., & Sandu, A. (2016). Policing and police encounters among a community population of children and youth accessing mental health services. Social Work in Mental Health, 14(3).

Van Katwyk, T., Liegghio, M. & Laflamme, L. (2015). Democratic learning: The study circle as a critical approach to social work education. Canadian Social Work Review 31(2).

Van Katwyk, T. (2010). Book review: Mary Friedman and Shana L. Calixte: Mothering and blogging: The radical act of the mommyblog. APA Newsletters, Newsletter on Feminism and Philosophy, 10(1).

Van Katwyk, T. (2009). Constructed Identity, Subjective Identity and Inter-Subjective Transformation: An Exploration By Way of Motherhood and Canadian Maternity Benefits. (PhD dissertation)

Van Katwyk, T. & Willis, V. (2010). Chronic Homelessness: Street Survivors Who Avoid Services. Toronto: City of Toronto.

Van Katwyk, T. (2006). “Random Acts of Motherism: Using Self-Definition to Resist Discourse and Take Collective Action”. Women and Environments International Magazine, 72/73: 46-47.