Department of Anthropology and Archaeology
Arts alumni are an accomplished crew. They have great advice for students and fellow graduates, and know that arts degrees teach skills that are sought-after in the professional environment.
Daniela Navia is a Latina feminist from Bogota, Colombia. Her SSHRC-funded Master’s research in the Department of Anthropology focused on using arts and storytelling to create a better understanding of how colonialism impacts Indigenous youth in the child welfare system. Her work has received numerous awards including the City of Calgary’s Chief David Crowchild Memorial Award and the J.B. Hyne Research Innovation Award. She is currently working for the Government of Alberta as the research consultant for the Arts sector.
A documentary based on her MA thesis project is premiering at the Glenbow museum on November 27, 2016: "(Dis)placed: Indigenous Youth and the Child Welfare System" (dir. Melisa Brittain, 2016). For more information regarding this event please visit the event website: https://www.facebook.com/events/1117159741712904/
I began my academic journey at the University of Calgary in the Bachelor of Health Sciences program in the Faculty of Medicine. In my first year as an undergraduate, I applied for a global health research studentship in the Dominican Republic. I remember feeling a great deal of pressure to pursue research and set myself apart academically within my program. So when I was given an interview with Dr. John McLennan to work on the project, I was incredibly nervous. The interview stands out vividly as a great memory at the University because it was a moment when I realized that research was for me. We spoke at length about politics in Latin America, community based research and social inequality. I ended up being involved in that project for three years and it changed my life.
I spent a lot of time volunteering at the Women’s Resource Centre, and met a lot of great people there.
If you could give one piece of advice to an undergraduate completing the same degree that you did, what would it be?
Figure out what sets you apart. Everyone has their own unique strengths and perspectives, and it is important to focus your energy into a path that reflects who you are.
Methods in anthropological research definitely stands out for me. Ethnography has been instrumental in developing my critical thinking skills and learning different ways to incorporate community perspectives in research. Not to mention that anthropologists have an endless supply of interesting stories.
I began my career with a focus on applied qualitative research and worked on a wide variety of interesting projects. Over time, my research evolved to reflect different aspects of my identity as a Latin American immigrant who is passionate about the arts and social justice.
Being able to integrate so many things that I love into my work.
I have had so many wonderful opportunities as a result of my education. I have been able to travel the word through my research, build relationships with incredible people and contribute to programming that strengthens communities.