de Leeuw, Dr. Sarah

Dr. Sarah de Leeuw
Associate Professor, Northern Medical Program

An award winning researcher and creative writer whose work focuses broadly on marginalized peoples and geographies, Sarah de Leeuw grew up and has spent most of her life in Northern British Columbia, including Haida Gwaii and Terrace. She is the Research Director of the Health Arts Research Centre and teaches in the areas of Indigenous peoples well-being and health humanities.

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Research Interests

My research sits at the crossroads of social-cultural geography, health-humanities, social determinants of health, and decolonizing Indigenous method/ologies. I am interested in why some peoples and communities have better’ lives than others, why other peoples and communities live with burdens of poverty, isolation, violence, discrimination, racism, sexism, or poor health. Fundamentally, this division does not seem fair to me – and since I grew up in northern and rural British Columbia, in communities often marked by higher rates of poverty or poor health or isolation and marginalization, these topics are also personal. I ask questions about the determining’ conditions of marginalization and, while trying to answer those questions, I also try both to recognize the tremendous resiliency and strengths that often reside in marginalized places and to document these resiliencies and strengths through creative and arts-based means.


Greenwood, M., de Leeuw, S., Lindsay, N. and Reading, C., Eds. (2015). Determinants of Indigenous Peoples’ Health in Canada: Beyond the Social. Toronto, Ont.: Canadian Scholars’ Press. 398 pgs.
de Leeuw, S. (2016). Tender Grounds: Intimate Visceral Violence and British Columbia’s Colonial Geographies. Political Geography. Special Issue on Violence.
de Leeuw, S. (January 2014). State of Care: The Ontologies of Child Welfare in British Columbia. cultural geographies. 21(1). 59-78.
de Leeuw, S., Maurice, S., Holyk, T., Greenwood, M., and Adam, W. (2012). With Reserves: The Geographies of Colonialism and First Nations Health in Northern-Interior British Columbia. The Annals of the American Association of Geographers. Special edition on health. 1-8.
de Leeuw, S. Soft Shouldered. (October 2013). PRISM International. (52)1: 7-12. Winner, 2013, Gold Award and Best Essay, BC/Alberta - Western Magazine Awards; Finalist, 2013, National Canadian Magazine Award competition.


PhD, Queens, Cultural Historical Geography
MA, UNBC, Interdisciplinary Studies (Geography & English)
BFA, University of Victoria, Creative Writing