Will Garrett-Petts is Professor of English, Rhetoric, and Canadian Studies at Thompson Rivers University. He has chaired two departments; directed two research groups; served as Associate Dean of Arts; received 31 external research grants totaling over $5 million in funding; published 17 books and catalogues, and over 150 articles, chapters and conference presentations. His recent achievements as the Associate Vice-President of Research and Graduate Studies include developing and launching the University’s Strategic Research Plan in 2014; championing the introduction of 4 new programs to support undergraduate research training (shared with the SSHRC Leaders by invitation in December 2016); and coordinating two research MOUs, one a tri-university research partnership with UNBC and UBCO; and the other with the United Way, working on the development of a social innovation “Change Lab.” An additional research MOU with the City of Kamloops is currently under negotiation.
His early scholarship sought to develop a rhetoric of reading, with a special interest in works of art situated at the intersection of visual and verbal literacies: prose pictures and visual fictions. His areas of current interest include small cities research, cultural mapping and community-engaged research, rhetorical theory and discourse analysis, artistic inquiry and interarts practices. Some recent thoughts on community engagement and local governance can be found in his review of Warren Magnusson’s Local Self-Government and the Right to the City.
Will’s most recent book is Artistic Approaches to Cultural Mapping: Activating Imaginaries and Ways of Knowing (Routledge 2019), co-edited with Nancy Duxbury and Alys Longley. The book examines how contemporary artistic approaches can challenge conventional asset mapping by animating and honouring the local, giving voice and definition to the vernacular, or recognizing the notion of place as inhabited by story and history.