Kanishka Sikri (they/them) was selected to receive the 2023 Senior Women Academic Administrators of Canada (SWAAC) Graduate Student Award of Merit. The Award will be presented to Sikri on May 5th. This year the banquet and reception of the SWAAC annual conference will be hosted by Western University and its affiliates, Brescia University College, Huron University College and King's University College.
The SWAAC graduate student award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in their university and in the community while maintaining an excellent academic record. Sikri’s outstanding academic performance and stalwart community outreach made them an exceptional candidate.
Sikri is a writer and scholar researching violability: the practice that marks certain lives, bodies and lands to the possibility of violence. They are formally trained as an International Development Specialist from the University of Toronto, and are currently a PhD Candidate in the Graduate Program in Gender, Feminist and Women's Studies at York University speculating on the ways violence becomes synonymous with and inhabits the lifetimes of Black, Brown and Indigenous women in Canada and the world. Sikri’s doctoral project, SomeThing, It, Violability, for which they are currently conducting research, will help rethink sexual violence and open up possibilities for transformative anti-violence interventions that centre the agency of racialized women.
In addition to their academic achievements, Sikri has taken on leadership roles in numerous activist-oriented community research projects. Exemplifying a devoted changemaker, they worked as a Research Fellow with the Reach Alliance collecting stories of community resiliency against cartel violence in Mexico and assessing the role of women’s police stations in mitigating gender-based violence against Dalit women in India.
Sikri also founded Lottet (let’s open that third eye together), a consulting firm that works with community, corporate, and government clients around the many faces and forms of violence, from its racialized arm to its gendered leg to its ecological face and its epistemic shape. Through Lottet, Sikri has provided subject matter expertise and led consulting on projects like the National Action Plan on Gender-Based Violence with YWCA Canada and Framework for Transformative Human-Rights Based Organizational Change with OCAD University. Additionally, Sikri built an attractive and well-used website (kanishkasikri.com) and blog, which now host 17,000+ followers. They are also a speaker and facilitator with clients like the United Nations, SPARC and the Aga Khan Foundation.
Sikri is honoured to be recognized through the SWAAC Graduate Award of Merit, and shares that they “hope to engage a lifetime project that does not just duel and battle, but betray violence, revoke it, call for its surrender so that we can intimately imagine our futures without it.”
York University is proud of Sikri’s contributions to areas of gender, culture and social justice and hopes to further support their ideas that will take flight in the years to come. They are a revolutionary scholar with a bright future ahead of them.