Research Affiliate and Core Member
Leila Qashu is dedicated to supporting ground up, community-based projects initiated by and for communities. She has been doing this by prioritizing listening and focusing on community-based and collaborative initiatives in her research and work. She has been working with Indigenous women and youth in Ethiopia for over twenty years, and more recently on projects with Indigenous youth and decolonizing university in Canada. After completing two Master’s degrees at the Université de Paris 8 in France, she completed her interdisciplinary PhD in ethnomusicology in 2016 at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada. For her PhD research, for which she held a Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship (2010-14), she focused on ateetee, an indigenous Arsi women’s sung dispute resolution ritual, and how Arsi women use this process to protect, promote, and affirm their rights. Her PhD received the 2017 CAGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award. She held Banting and SSHRC postdoctoral fellowships and received a SSHRC grant for a collaborative arts-based project with youth on young Arsi Oromo women’s expressive strategies for questioning, resisting and changing problematic ideas and practices. She held these positions with Concordia’s Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling, and with the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (IICSI) at McGill and Guelph universities. Leila has extensive experience in community relationship building, collaborative initiatives and community-based approaches to problem solving, as well as creative arts and improvisation experience. She has managed a variety of academic and community-based projects and festivals. In addition to her research creation and other research activities, she is currently working as research coordinator for the Quebec Network Environment for Indigenous Health Research (QcNEIHR).