Heather McLean

Assistant Professor
Environmental Studies and Human Geography
Athabasca University


PhD Environmental Studies, (Urban Studies), York University, Toronto, Ontario
Mscl Planning (Social Planning) University of Toronto
BA, Human Geography (University of British Columbia)

Honors and Awards

Economic and Social Council Research Council, Future Research Leader (University of Glasgow, 2017-2019) & Urban Studies Foundation Research Fellow (University of Glasgow, 2014 - 2016)

Research Interests

Heather Mclean (she/her) is an assistant professor in Human Geography and Environmental Studies at Athabasca University.  Heather’s research focuses on gentrification, precarious work, arts interventions, and mutual aid. Working from feminist, decolonial, and arts-based paradigms, she engages in research that de-centers dominant discourses and involves participants in co-producing knowledge. Her current research investigates the role of the arts in envisioning and enacting mutual aid in so-called rural British Columbia and Alberta. Her drag king character Toby Sharp: The Tool for Urban Change is based on her ongoing research on gender, performance, and urban politics and her past life as an urban planner in Toronto. She has performed with Dirty Plotz (a queer/feminist cabaret in Toronto), and co-led drag king walking tours for the Workers’ Theatre, the People’s Bank of Govanhill arts collective, and the Glasgow School of Art in Glasgow, Scotland, and for the Edinburgh College of Art. She has also co-creates drag king webinars and videos on gentrification and climate disaster with artists Nakuset Gould and Chris Bose.

 Toby with Dirty Plotz at cabarets in Toronto: https://antipodeonline.org/2013/03/28/featured-video-a-buzz-in-my-hub/

Toby in Edinburgh, Queering Deep Time (Stone Walks, Edinburgh): https://walkinglab.org/portfolio/queering-deep-time-stone-walks-edinburgh/


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