Geraldine Pratt

Canada Research Chair in Transnationalism, Precarity and Performance

Tier 1 - 2017-11-01
The University of British Columbia
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council


Research involves

Using social science research to create theatre performances designed to provoke dialogue about global care work.

Research relevance

This research will stimulate informed, transnational, public debate about global care work and the immigration of low-skilled labour migrants to Canada.

Performing Research on Global Care and Precarious Work

Is it ethical for families in the global north to import workers from the south to care for their children if these workers must leave their own children? How might someone from the Philippines answer that question? Is it appropriate for families in the global north to export their elderly parents (who may have dementia) to facilities in Thailand or the Philippines for round-the-clock care? What failures in the global north’s care systems lead families to make such decisions? Informed public discussion on issues like these means considering perspectives from multiple, transnational angles because the issue often looks quite different depending on where we stand.

Dr. Geraldine Pratt, Canada Research Chair in Transnationalism, Precarity and Performance, explores these and other questions, with a particular focus on the migration of low-skilled temporary workers. Her research involves talking to government policy-makers, working with migrant organizations, analyzing government statistics and policies, and gathering in-depth life histories and testimonies from both migrants and those in need of their services.

Working with professional and community-based theatre artists in Canada, the Philippines and Germany, Pratt and her research team are also transforming their research—conducted mostly in Canada and the Philippines—into theatrical performances to share multiple perspectives and stimulate informed and nuanced transnational dialogue and debate.

By turning social science research into theatre (and vice versa), they are bringing evidence-based research to diverse audiences. Their aim is to change the nature of public debate on temporary foreign migration and emerging global geographies of care.