Saori Ogura

Student Fellow


PhD Candidate


Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy





Geographic Location

Vancouver, BC

Saori Ogura is a PhD Candidate at Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, and a UBC Public Scholar. She has been working with Indigenous communities in India and Zimbabwe, using art to revitalize their climate-resilient small grains cultivation. Her doctoral research involves understanding the meaning of traditional small grains cultivation to cultivators and community members in Japan. She uses arts-based participatory action research methods to pass down the ancestral seeds and knowledge to younger generations that are crucial for maintaining agricultural biodiversity and adapting to climate change. Saori was the recipient of the 2017 Nikon Salon Miki Jun Inspiration Award for her photographs documenting her time living in India’s Eastern Himalaya.

Areas of Interest: Climate Change Adaptation, Agricultural Biodiversity, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Occupational Science, Small Grains

Primary Recipient Awards

Saori Ogura – Catalyst Fellows – 2022

The Wall Catalyst Student Fellow cohort will first come together to engage in the online, interdisciplinary Facing Human Wrongs course and subsequently work together on a number of public-facing projects.

The course content touches upon systemic, historical and ongoing violence, unsustainability, our complicities in social and ecological harm, and our tendency to address complex problems, such as biodiversity loss, food insecurity, economic and political crises, and the potential for social and environmental collapse, with simplistic solutions. The course requires students to be willing to be uncomfortable and to have their perspective challenged.

Saori Ogura – Catalyst Collaboration Fund – 2023

Growing Millet Together! Global Cultivation Stories for Climate-Resilient Communities

2023 is the UN Year of Millet, which highlights the important role of millet as a food crop for climate-ready agriculture and high nutritional value to communities around the world. Millet has been heralded as having a high degree of environmental tolerance to difficult conditions, such as drought, cold, salinity, low-fertility soils, as well as having the ability to be stored for decades. However, millet cultivation is declining globally, and there is an urgent need to revitalize it and preserve ancient seeds. Collaborating with Indigenous and local millet farmers in Zimbabwe, India, Japan, and the gene bank in Canada, this project seeks to create a platform that enables ‘storytelling from millet producers around the world’, highlighting some of the diverse perspectives around millet cultivation and reciprocal relationships with the land. By growing millet together and exchanging stories across borders, this initiative aims to promote millet cultivation in each community, contributing to improve community and climate resiliency.