Kathleen Sitter Image

Kathleen Sitter


Canada Research Chair in Multisensory Research and Knowledge Translation


Associate Professor

Faculty of Social Work, Calgary Campus

Full Member

Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute

Contact information


Educational Background

Doctor of Philosophy 2012

Master of Social Work 2008

Master of Communication Studies 2002

Bachelor of Public Relations 1997


Kathleen Sitter joined the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary in 2017. She was appointed as Associate Professor in 2019 and is an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Medicine, Division of Community Health and Humanities, at Memorial University. Kathleen has worked with a variety of adults and youth in the areas of disability, mental health, human rights, and health care. She currently leads the Multisensory Studio, a lab that focuses on creating blended sensory and arts-based methods in research design and knowledge translation.

Kathleen has held over $8.0 million in research funding, and her multisensory activities include over 200 arts-based works, juried screenings, and exhibitions. Examples include creative forms of knowledge translation such as films, cartoon abstracts, photograph exhibits, digital stories, and participatory videos.

In 2020, Kathleen became the Canadian Research Chair (CRC) in Multisensory Storytelling in Research and Knowledge Translation, making her the first CRC in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary.


Areas of Research

Research and Scholarly Activity

Sensory and Arts-Based Methods

  • Developing and evaluating digital storytelling as a therapeutic intervention
  • Advancing accessibility in post-secondary institutions
  • Identifying barriers and facilitators for youth with disabilities during life-stage transitions
  • Creating and evaluating theatre and film productions as a form of knowledge translation 
  • Advancing accessibility in knowledge translation activities through 4-D installations
  • Exploring accessible storytelling through smell-maps and sound-scapes

Participation in university strategic initiatives


Course number Course title Semester
SOWK 799.87 Arts Research and Fat Studies F2021
SOWK 747.01 Research Methods II: Qualitative F2021
SOWK 799.86 PAR, Disability & The Arts F2020
SOWK 679.99 Sex Work and Storytelling S2020
SOWK 799.82 Race & Racism in Canadian Social Work Education S2020


  • Dorothy Killam Fellow, National Killam Program - Killam Laureates. 2024
  • Killam Laureate, Emerging Research Leader Award, Killam Laureate, University of Calgary. 2023
  • Research Innovation Award, Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary. 2021
  • U Make a Difference Award, Innovation and Curiosity, University of Calgary. 2020
  • Canada Research Chair (T2) , SSHRC. 2020
  • Faculty Publication Award, Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary. 2020
  • Peak Scholar Award in Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Knowledge Engagement, University of Calgary. 2019
  • Teaching Excellence Award (PhD/Masters), Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary. 2019
  • Faculty Publication Award, Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary. 2019


  • When participatory approaches are inaccessible: A movement toward research engagement through multisensory storytelling.. Sitter, K.C. & Grittner, A.L.. Routledge. 37-48. (2021)
  • Multisensory storytelling: Creating stories through our senses. Sitter, K.C. (accepted). Critical Pedagogical Inquiry. (2021)
  • Moments of Home. Sitter, K.C.. Critical Pedagogical Inquiry. (2021)
  • Journal Editor: Multisensory Storytelling. Sitter, K.C.. Critical Pedagogical Inquiry. (2021)
  • (accepted). Fat studies and arts-based approaches: Positioning the need for movement.. Haney, C.A. & Sitter, K.C.. IJQM. (2021)
  • Photo-based evaluation: A method for participatory evaluation with adolescents. . Exner-Cortens, D., Sitter, K.C., Van Bavel, M., & Wright, A.. American Journal of Evaluation.. (2021)
  • Digital storytelling and validity criteria. Sitter, K.C., Beausoleil, N., McGowan, E.. IJQM. (2020)
  • The revival of anti-racism education: Considerations for social work education. Ladhani, S. & Sitter, K.C.. Critical Social Work. (2020)
  • Communities of practice: Acknowledging vulnerability to improve resilience in healthcare teams. Delgado, J., de Groot, J., McCaffrey, G., Dimitropolous, G., Sitter, K.C., & Austin, W.. Journal of Medical Ethics. (2020)
  • A meaningful focus: Investigating the impact of involvement in a participatory video program on the recovery of participants with severe mental illness. Whitley, R., Sitter, K.C., Adamson, G., & Carmichael, V.. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal. (2020)
  • Can participatory videos reduce mental illness stigma? Results from an action-research study of feasibility and impact. Whitley, R., Sitter, K.C., Adamson, G., & Carmichael, V.. BMC Psychiatry. (2020)
  • Perceptions of paratransit accessibility among persons with disability: An adapted photovoice study. Sitter, K.C. & Mitchell, J.. Health Promotion Practice. (2019)
  • Sexual health and disability. Sitter, K.C., Burke, A., Ladhani, S., & Mallay, N.. British Journal of Learning Disabilities. (2019)
  • The role of place in the lives of sex workers: A socio-spatial analysis of two international case studies. Grittner, A. & Sitter, K.C.. Affilia. (2019)
  • Media coverage of mental illness: A comparison of citizen journalism v. professional journalism portrayals. Carmichael, V., Adamson, G., Sitter, K.C., & Whitley, R.. Journal of Mental Health. (2019)
  • Occupational stress injuries in two Atlantic provinces: A policy analysis. Hall, A., Ricciardelli, R., Sitter, K.C., Simas, D., de Boer, C., & Small, S.. Canadian Public Policy. (2019)
  • Journal Editor: Artistic Pedagogies in Academia Cultural and Pedagogical Inquiry: Special Issue, Summer Issue 2018. Sitter, K.C.. University of Alberta. (2018)
  • Critical disability studies and community engagement. Nusbaum, E., & Sitter, K.C.. Wiley Blackwell. 191-202. (2018)
  • Learning to engage in social action using photovoice: A participatory action engagement to transform learning. Sitter, K.C.. Brill Sense. 199-214. (2018)
  • Adapting photovoice in the classroom: Guiding students in the creation of a photovoice project. Sitter, K.C.. Brill Sense. 215-129. (2018)
  • Conditional cash transfers: A critical review. . Ladhani, S., & Sitter, K.C.. Development Policy Review. (2018)
  • How Twitter is changing the meaning of scholarly impact and engagement. . Burns, V., Blumenthal, A., & Sitter, K.C.. Qualitative Social Work Research. (2018)
  • Creating a canvas: Artistic pedagogies in academia. Sitter, K.C.. Cultural and Pedagogical Inquiry. (2018)
  • Sex work and social media: Online advocacy strategies. Duke, E., Sitter, K.C., & Boggan, N.. CPI. (2018)
  • Making the journey: A photo voice study on transportation and quality of life for persons with disabilities. Sitter, K.C. (Editor). The Centre for Newfoundland Studies. 40. (2017)
  • Exploring duoethnography in graduate research courses. Lund, D.E., Holmes, K., Hanson, A., Sitter, K.C., Scott, D. & Grain, K.. Palgrave Macmillan. 111-129. (2017)
  • Taking a closer look at photovoice as a participatory action research method. Sitter, K.C.. Journal of Progressive Human Services. (2017)