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PhD scholar in Social and Political Thought chosen as one of SSHRC’s five best storytellers

PhD scholar in Social and Political Thought chosen as one of SSHRC’s five best storytellers

The York Community celebrates Vincci Li for being one of the final five best “storytellers” in a national competition held by the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). The Storytellers project challenges scholars to show, in up to three minutes or 300 words, how social sciences and humanities research helps create a positive change locally and globally. This year’s 25 finalists, chosen from among 230 applicants, displayed their inventive approaches to research by addressing a range of important issues from child marriage and food prices in Ethiopia to digital climate change.

After their submissions were chosen by a jury of 30 communications professionals in February, the Top 25 finalists received $3,000 and were invited to participate in the second phase of the challenge. The finalists presented their stories in late March via Zoom to a four-person jury: Marc LePage, former President of Genome Canada; Nicola Luksic, Senior Producer, CBC Radio’s Ideas; Manon Tremblay, Senior Director of Indigenous Directions, Concordia University; and Jacqueline Wallace, Vice-President, Marketing Communications, Mitacs. This year’s final five were revealed during the 2022 Congress of the Humanities & Social Sciences on May 16th and each one received an additional $1,000.

photo of Vincci Li

Vincci Li

Li, a PhD candidate in the Social and Political Thought graduate program, submitted a video entry to the Storyteller project, titled Crowdfunding for Our Lives. Her innovative study explores the experience of people in Canada who have raised or given money through crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe or FundRazr for personal health-related expenses in order to understand public opinions about the ideal balance of public/private provisioning. Li’s research raises important questions about the roles of government, philanthropic sector and individuals in providing for Canadians under neo-liberalism.

"More and more people are turning to sites like GoFundMe for medical expenses in Canada. We often hear about the viral crowdfunding campaigns on the news, but most people never even reach their fundraising goal. So it's really important that we get to hear their stories. I'm grateful to the SSHRC Storytellers Challenge for helping to share them," Li says of her project.

The issues that Li’s project addresses are vital to investigate especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic in an effort to explore how Canadians care for, and ought to care for, one another in times of need.

Thomas Loebel, Dean and Associate Vice-Provost Graduate, congratulates Li on her remarkable achievement, saying, “Good storytellers intrigue the imagination and encourage it along a journey of discovery. They anticipate our questions and know when to surprise us. The very best of them entice our trust. They exude confidence but with such friendliness. Vincci Li tells a story about her research that draws one in. She sets off a cascade of implications in the mind from her findings that impact a host of different disciplines. Best of all, she leaves one with just enough understanding to generate new curiosity.”

“Research ideas can be incredibly complex to communicate,” says Amir Asif, vice-president, research & innovation. “It takes tremendous talent and skill to make research not only accessible, but to inspire positive change and conversation. Congratulations to Li for her remarkable success in this endeavour, and for asking important questions about how Crowdfunding platforms raise funds for covering rising health care costs. Such presentations are important tools to advance the interests of our communities.”

York is proud of the ground-breaking research conducted by a member of our graduate community and is dedicated to keep empowering scholars for long-term success.

Watch Li’s submission video dedicated to her research here: