Our Team


PhD | Executive Director
elizabeth.shaffer@ubc.ca | 604.822.0885

Elizabeth Shaffer is the Executive Director at the Centre. Prior to joining the IRSHDC, she was Director of Collections at the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, overseeing initiatives focusing on the digitization, preservation, and pedagogical use of Holocaust survivor testimonies and the development of digital systems in support of anti-racism education and exhibition curation on issues of genocide. She holds a Master of Archival Studies degree and PhD from the School of Information at UBC. Her current work and research focus on critical inquiry into how information policy, practices and systems emerge and evolve in contemporary digital spaces, with particular attention to social justice issues, impacts of colonialism, and collections that document traumatic human events. She is also cross-appointed as an Assistant Professor for UBC’s School of Information.



MLIS | Digital Collections Specialist

Kristin Kozar is a Digital Collections Specialist at the Centre. A member of the Hwlitsum First Nation, she served on council for 6 years. She has completed her MLIS degree with a concentration in First Nation curriculum in 2018 and has previously worked at what was formerly known as UBC Aboriginal Health and has worked on a project where she researched and analyzed how to use Blockchain to give Indigenous peoples and communities autonomy over their own records. Further, Kristin has been a keynote speaker at the ACA conference on the topic of “Data Sovereignty for Indigenous Sovereignty”. She currently works at the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre where she is the co-lead of the Oral Testimony project and works primarily with research and engagement.

Kristin believes interpersonal relationships, sharing influence, having a willingness to learn and cultural humility are imperative for work with Indigenous communities, individuals and content.

In Kristin’s free time, she loves to read, hang out with her two boys and go for long walks with her dog.


MLIS | Research and Engagement Strategist

David McAtackney is the Research and Engagement Strategist at the Centre. He is originally from Belfast in Northern Ireland, but has lived and worked on the traditional, ancestral and unceded lands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples since 2012. David is a Masters of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) graduate from UBC’s School of Information, and he graduated from this program with a First Nations Curriculum Concentration. In his previous role David was a Research Analyst for over two years with the First Nations Health Authority. Overall, he has worked in a variety of social science and health science research roles on projects with a variety of Indigenous communities and organizations, including with the First Nations and Indigenous Studies department at UBC, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Musqueam First Nation, Gitxsan First Nation, and Cowichan Tribes.

Records and Collections


PhD | Metadata Team Lead

Naomi Lloyd is the Metadata Team Lead and oversees the Centre’s content management system. She has a master’s degree in library and information studies from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and a doctorate in history from UBC. An immigrant to Canada, Naomi is of South African settler ancestry. Naomi recognizes that modern library and archival practice emerged from, and remains indebted to, a colonial context. In her work with systems, records, and metadata, she is committed to representing disruptions to colonial information practices, and is grateful for the guidance of residential school Survivors, Indigenous information professionals and their allies, and Indigenous communities more broadly, in this regard.


MAS | Digital Collections Specialist and Researcher

Noah Duranseaud is a Digital Collections Specialist and Researcher at the Centre. Their work is informed by their background in their masters of archival studies and their time as a Finding Aid Writer at the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, where they gained experience working in a facility that focuses on the needs of Survivors. Noah’s focus on the relation between archives and social justice are key elements in the importance of their role at the centre. Noah’s work at the Centre involves research projects using various archives’ digital collections and communicating with the Centre’s collections team.


MAS, MLIS | Digital Collections Specialist

Emily Larson is a Digital Collections Specialist at the Centre, where she focuses on user experience, interactive and emerging technologies, and processing archival materials. She has a MAS and MLIS from the University of British Columbia School of Information. As an information professional, her work centres on the importance of storytelling and the power dynamics of information. She is located in Vancouver on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.


MA | Digital Collections Specialist and Researcher

Katie Powell is a Digital Systems Specialist and Researcher at the Centre where she assists the team with systems and metadata development as well as grant applications. A current Dual Master of Archival Studies and Library and Information Studies student at UBC’s School of Information, she lives, works, and learns on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

Programming and Education


MLIS | Research and Community Liaison Librarian

Kim Lawson is the Research and Community Liaison Librarian at the Centre. A member of the Heiltsuk Nation, Kim is involved in community governance work. Her Master’s thesis, “Precious Fragments: First Nations Materials in Archives, Libraries and Museums,” was written to acknowledge Indigenous cultural professionals (archivists, librarians, and knowledge keepers), doing important memory, information and cultural work that was largely unknown outside their communities and undocumented in LIS literature. She was Archivist/ Librarian at the Union of BC Indian Chiefs while finishing her MLIS from UBC iSchool and worked at Xwi7xwa Library (UBC). She sees the interconnectedness of education, cultural humility, and information services as a crucial aspect of Indigenous informatics and community resilience.


Education and Programming Strategist

Shannon Robinson is an Education and Programming Strategist at the Centre. She hails from intersection of Treaty 6 and Treaty 7 territory in Red Deer, Alberta, but holds an undergraduate degree in Art History and First Nations & Indigenous studies from the University of British Columbia. Shannon has worked as a program coordinator for the Native Youth Program, supported public programming at the City of Red Deer and held an internship in Education and Public Programs at the Museum of Anthropology. She appreciates every opportunity to work with and learn from community. She strives to establish pathways for Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples to come together in a good way.


BSW | Community Outreach Coordinator

Jess Boon is the Community Outreach Coordinator at the Centre. Jess is a recent graduate from the UBC School of Social Work, and has extensive experience in youth work positions. She previously worked in East Van with youth in or from foster care. Her focus on empowering youth voices and making meaningful accommodations for marginalized youth supports her work at the Centre developing content regarding child welfare and related topics, working on a youth-driven podcast project and creating a youth advisory council.



Senior Strategic Communications Manager

Julie Gordon is the Senior Strategic Communications Manager at the Centre. She joined UBC in 2018 and prior to joining the Centre led communications initiatives for the Indigenous Research Support Initiative, Community Engagement office, and Office for Indigenous Strategic Initiatives. Before that, she ran a consultancy business that provided strategic and creative communications services in support of environmental and social justice work. In this time, she supported the work of several BC First Nations and Indigenous umbrella organizations. She has bachelor’s degrees in English and Environmental Studies and is a graduate of the Writer’s Studio and Graduate Studio at Simon Fraser University.



Administrative Manager
paras.deacon@ubc.ca | 604.822.6941

Paras Deacon is the Administrative Manager at the Centre. With her expertise in project planning and organization, and institutional knowledge about UBC processes, she oversees finance, human resources and administrative tasks for the Centre. She has previously held roles at UBC’s Equity and Inclusion Office and the First Nations House of Learning, and has experience in dealing with multiple stakeholder groups. She holds a Masters in Community Development from UBC, and has a certificate in conflict resolution from the Justice Institute of BC.


Exhibitions & Facilities Coordinator 
luc.desmarais@ubc.ca | 604.827.3999

Luc Desmarais is the Exhibitions & Facilities Coordinator at the Centre. Luc has worked as a museum professional in British Columbia for over 10 years, specializing in artifact collection management, exhibition development, and museum project management. With notable stints at UBC’s Museum of Anthropology and Beaty Biodiversity Museum, the breadth of his experience has allowed him to emerge among the young leaders of Vancouver’s museum scene. Luc’s experience and knowledge on the subject of deaccessioning museum artifacts have led him to developing workshops and best practice procedures for the BC Museums Association, sharing that knowledge across the province.

Student Staff


Research and Engagement Assistant

Grant Bird is majoring in First Nations and Indigenous Studies and is currently in his 4th year. Once his degree is completed, he will continue in medicine as an emergency specialist and hopes to work in northern communities. He is Woodland Cree from Treaty 6 Territory and Homeland of the Metis. He is thankful for being hosted on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded lands of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.


Research and Engagement Assistant

Linnet Chappelka is a student at the UBC iSchool pursuing degrees in Library Information Studies and Archival Studies with a First Nations Curriculum Concentration. Linnet has previously worked with human rights archives and remembrance projects to encourage visibility of and engagement with the historical and current impacts of genocides. She grew up on the lands of the Pequot, Mohegan, Chesapeake, and Puyallup peoples and now resides on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.


Collections Assistant

Caitlin Purdome is a current student in the UBC iSchool Dual Master of Archival Studies and Library and Information Studies program with the First Nations Curriculum Concentration. They are passionate about reparative description, creating respectful access points for library and archival materials, and disrupting colonialism in information institutions. Prior to attending UBC, they worked in academic libraries in Southeast Alaska on Lingít Aaní.


Collections Assistant

A current Master of Archival Studies student in the First Nations Curriculum Concentration, Laura Guglielmin brings a background in history, museums, and archives, and are especially focused on disrupting colonial contexts of memory work, prioritizing community engagement, and maintaining a critical approach to their studies and professional experience.


Communications and Project Assistant

Kenzie Littlelight assists with communications and project tasks at the centre while attaining a BA in political science and a minor in law and society at UBC. Kenzie is a proud member of the Tsuut’ina nation on treaty 7 territory in southern Alberta and is thankful for her ability to learn, work, and live on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded lands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples.


Communications and Project Assistant

Zoé McDaniel is a fourth-year Anthropology major and has spent the last three and a half years building and strengthening intersectional research framework skills. She worked on the BC Society of Transition Houses “Cedar Blankets” project last summer, conducting research related to housing barriers for Indigenous women and translated the MMIWG Calls to Justice into an advocacy plan for the housing sector. She is currently the Public Programming & Events Assistant at the Museum of Anthropology.


Collections Assistant

Elim Ren is a Collections Assistant at the IRSHDC. She is a current MLIS student at the UBC iSchool, and is grateful to work and study on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. Having previously worked with records at the University of Toronto and the University of Victoria, Elim is dedicated to learning about truth-telling work in academic institutions and the process of decolonizing collections to support Indigenous-informed access to information.


Collections Assistant

A current student at the UBC iSchool, Kira Vandermeulen is beginning her second year of a Master of Library Information Studies and Archival Studies Degree. She has previously worked within a library setting to increase accessibility of learning materials through open educational resources. Here at the Centre on the traditional territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), she will be assisting with records management as well as the collections.