Shannon Walsh

Wall Scholar


Associate Professor


Department of Theatre and Film





Geographic Location

Shannon Walsh

Dr. Shannon Walsh is a filmmaker who has written and directed three feature documentary films, which have screened in cinemas, museums, and over 60 film festivals around the world. Her films have been broadcast on television in Canada, South Africa and the U.S.

As a theorist, Dr. Walsh is interested in the social construction of power its contestations, largely focused on South Africa, and crossing a range of disciplines and methodologies. Her PhD research at McGill University used an approach she called ethnography-in-motion to trace how women and children living with HIV in Durban’s shack settlements navigated the health care system. From 2013-2016 she was a faculty member at the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong where she taught film production. She is currently a Research Associate at the University of Johannesburg’s Research Chair in Social Change, where she also did her post-doctoral work with support of a SSHRC fellowship. Recently, Dr. Walsh co-edited the book Ties that Bind: Race and the Politics of Friendship in South Africa (Wits University Press, 2016) with historian Jon Soske. 


Primary Recipient Awards

Shannon Walsh – Wall Scholars – 2017

During her time as a Wall Scholar, Dr. Walsh is focused on completing research and filming for her fourth feature documentary Illusions of Control.  The documentary tells five stories of people creating new and surprising relationships within human damaged landscapes such as clear-cuts, decommissioned mines, deserts and nuclear contamination zones.

Co-Principal Investigator Awards

Claudia Mitchell – International Visiting Research Scholars – 2018

A broad area of concern in Dr. Mitchell’s research is the idea of engaging various publics in social change, particularly in relation to gender-based violence and other social justice concerns. Talking Public(s) in Socially Engaged Research with Young People will offer a public platform for deepening an understanding of two broad interdisciplinary areas of research crossing the humanities, social sciences, and health sciences: (1) young people and especially girls and young women speaking back (talking public) through the arts, media-making, and various participatory visual methods to address social justice issues, such as gender-based violence; and (2) researchers (talking public) in working with young people in the context of policy.  This work cuts across a number of key disciplinary areas, including Film Production and Education as her host faculties, along with Health Research, Indigenous and First Nations Studies, Law, Sociology, Child and Youth Studies, and Social Work.  She will be hosted by Drs. Shannon Walsh, Anthony Pare, Bonny Norton, and Heather McKay at UBC.


Kylie Thomas – International Visiting Research Scholars – 2017

While Kylie Thomas is at UBC she will work together with Dr Sarah Hunt (Assistant Professor in First Nations and Indigenous Studies and in the Department of Geography) to facilitate a workshop on photography and resistance with two-spirit youth. She will also share her recent work on the contemporary student movements campaigning for the decolonisation of universities in the aftermath of apartheid, and on the powerful ways in which queer activists have responded to the rape and murder of LGBTQI people in South Africa.

She has also developed a collaborative research project with Dr. Shannon Walsh on the history of HIV and AIDS activism in South Africa, a subject that has been at the centre of both their research for close to twenty years. She met with Dr Walsh during her research visit to South Africa in August 2018 and began to work on a proposal for a collaborative book project that focuses on the visual history of the South African HIV and AIDS epidemic.

Dr. Thomas is keen to engage with students and faculty at UBC who are working on social justice issues in Canada.