Leila Harris

Wall Scholar




Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability and The Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice


Science and Arts



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Leila Harris

Dr. Leila Harris has trained as a political and socio-cultural geographer, and her work examines social, cultural and political-economic and equity dimensions of environmental and resource issues. Much of her work has focused on key themes of water politics and governance, political ecology and environmental justice, critical development studies, and intersectional and feminist approaches to nature-society studies. Dr. Harris is Professor, Institute of Resources, Environment and Sustainability, UBC; Professor Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice, UBC; Faculty Associate, UBC Department of Geography, and Co-Director of the Program on Water Governance.

Current projects of the EDGES Research Collaborative (Environment & Development: Gender, Equity and Sustainability Perspectives) include focus on water security and governance, politics associated with the human right to water, urban water resilience, indigenous water governance, and transforming water governance for equity and sustainability (with past and current projects in Canada, Turkey, Ghana and South Africa).

Primary Recipient Awards

Leila Harris – Theme Development Workshop – 2019
Leila Harris – Wall Scholars – 2018

As a Wall Scholar, Dr. Harris will be working on a book manuscript related to water access, governance, and narrative in underserved communities of Accra, Ghana and Cape Town South Africa. The book, entitled Human Right to Water: Lived Experience, Narrative and Democracy in the Context of Inequality is the culmination of a multi-sited and multi-year Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) funded project, and will address the politics and consequences of the uneven implementation of the human right to water. The work considers linkages been uneven water access and quality, linking such patterned inequity to a range of socio-political concerns, including theoretical considerations concerning inequity and democracy. A second focus of the Wall residency will be to advance a newer project on non-material dimensions of household water insecurity (HWI), with particular interest in the relationship between HWI and broader socio-political considerations, including community engagement.

Leila Harris – Theme Development Workshop – 2016
Leila Harris – Wall Colloquia Abroad – 2016

Workshop on water equity and resilience in Southern Africa
Principal Investigators:
Dr. Leila M. Harris, Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability; Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice
Mr. Nico Elema, NEPAD Centers for Excellence, Institute for Water Studies, Stellenbosch
Prof. Dominic Mazvimavi, University of Western Cape, Cape Town
Prof. Gina Ziervogel, University of Cape Town, Cape Town
Download the research paper published in ScienceDirect that draws from the workshop proceedings.
View the special journal issue “Special Issue on Hydro-Social” in Human Geography.

Leila Harris – UBC Visiting Scholar Abroad Program – 2012

As a UBC Visiting Scholar Aboard she will work in Cape Town, South Africa to conduct critical research on water access, affordability and governance in informal settlements of Cape Town South.

Leila Harris – Early Career Scholars – 2011
Leila Harris – Catalyst Collaboration Fund – 2022

Project: Makers’ Lab: Art/Research Collaborations and Solutions for the Climate Crisis
Coordinating spaces for BC-based artists and UBC artist/academics and students to connect, collaborate and create with a focus on exploring the climate and nature emergency. Zoom sharing and brainstorming sessions for artists and researchers working on key linked themes (biodiversity loss, climate grief, water insecurity) will be followed up with an in-person creative workshop and “makers’ lab” where creative teams will be able to act out, and explore their creative ideas (e.g., demonstrations, art installations).

Co-Principal Investigator Awards

Mary Galvin – International Visiting Research Scholars – 2017