We caught up with MSC alum Dr. Christopher Lyon (IDS '08) and asked him about his research and work as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Leeds.
Tell us about your research. How did you get where you are?
The story of my research begins in large part at MSC. My research focuses on the social dimensions of resilience in relation to the complex environmental challenges facing humanity, like climate change, disaster, and resource depletion. I first encountered these ideas in a paper I wrote for Rick McCutcheon's Conflict and Construction of the Other class. My undergraduate work led directly to an MSc at the University of Alberta, and then to a PhD at the University of Dundee in Scotland, which I completed last year.
By the time this interview goes to press, I will have joined
an exciting interdisciplinary team at the University of Leeds, researching the role of phosphorus in the resilience and adaptive capacity of Britain's food system. It's amazing to think that my research trajectory to this point is essentially based on the continued expansion of ideas from my time at Menno Simons College.
Who does your research matter to most and why?
My research is aimed at individuals, communities, and organisations addressing key sustainability problems, but hopefully it matters to us all. The scale and scope of human activity has created an environmental problem unlike any humanity has faced before. We all have a role to play in meeting this challenge, whether you're a student, a farmer, a fisher, a CEO, or a member of government.
How is your research part of your teaching?
My work hinges on the idea that the world is a complex, dynamic, social-ecological system. It draws from the social and natural sciences, and the humanities, and I bring that into the classroom, encouraging students to link their work to these different knowledge systems. Doing this isn't always easy for students from different disciplines who may not yet have been asked to consider these different systems. With its small class sizes and friendly, knowledgeable, dedicated, and highly interactive teaching staff, MSC provided me with an outstanding example of how to engage students around complicated material, which I now draw on in my own practice.
Considering pursuing post graduate studies? MSC can help. Learn more.