UNBC Geography and Rights Action Field School to Guatemala 2018


Geographies of Culture, Rights & Power: The Global Order, Injustice, and Resistance in Guatemala

Dr. Catherine Nolin (UNBC Geography Program) and Grahame Russell of Rights Action are co-organizing their 8th field school to Guatemala for the Spring 2018 sem​ester.

On campus dates: late April/early May 2018 (tentative)
In Guatemala dates: May 5-18, 2018 (tentative)

Application deadline: December 15, 2017

Who is Eligible?

We hope you will consider participating in this Field school and, perhaps, inform other students who may be interested as well. This field school is for UNBC students as well as students at universities across Canada – both senior undergrads & graduate students. We will facilitate non-UNBC student participation via Skype/BlueJeans before our departure. Please contact us for an application form.

The Plan

Week One

The first week of the course takes place at the UNBC campus in Prince George. Students will prepare for this intense week of classes by reading material made available one month before the course commences -- tentatively planned for the end of April into early days of May 2018. During the UNBC-based seminars we will discuss both theoretical issues of power and human rights as well as specific historical and contemporary aspects of Guatemala's violent past and present. Pre-reading and course work will help to prepare you for an intense Field School experience in Guatemala.

Week Two & Three

Weeks two and three take place in Guatemala. Grahame Russell of Rights Action will facilitate all aspects of our time in Guatemala including set-up, guiding, translation, transportation, and so forth. All students will return to Antigua for a final day of reflection, discussion, and analysis of our various experiences. The final form and content of the Field school will be worked out in consultation with Rights Action, participating students, and Dr. Nolin.

Over the course of 14 full days in Guatemala, participants will meet with Guatemalans and some North Americans working for human rights and the environment. The group will travel (by rented van) to and spend nights in rural communities seeking justice for environmental and health harms caused by North American mining companies; to the coffee-growing regions of the country to meet with indigenous organizations working for Fair Trade and equitable trade arrangements; communities resisting forced eviction from their ancestral lands to make way for African palm 'for export'; meet with people working for the rights of sweat-shop (maquiladora) workers; and human rights organizations & the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation who work to clarify past violence, historical memory and justice. (Closer to the actual dates, UNBC-Rights Action will set out a detailed 14-day itinerary.)

Field School Leaders

Grahame Russell

Grahame Russell is a non-practising lawyer, adjunct professor at the University of Northern British Colombia, author, and, since 1995, co-director of Rights Action. Rights Action funds community-controlled development, environmental defense and human rights projects in Guatemala and Honduras, as well as Chiapas, El Salvador and Oaxaca; and carries out education and activism work in the USA and Canada related to global human rights, environmental and development issues.

Catherine Nolin​

Dr. Catherine Nolin is an Associate Professor of Geography and has long-standing interests in issues of Maya refugee movement, Guatemalan migration and refugee experiences in Canada, and critical development studies related to resistance to Canadian mining operations in Guatemala. Catherine has organized and facilitated seven field schools to Guatemala in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010 (plus a graduate student delegation in August 2010), 2012, and 2014; and one interdisciplinary field school to Peru. Learn More

Required Courses


  • GEOGRAPHY 333 – GEOGRAPHY Field School
  • GEOGRAPHY 426 – GEOGRAPHIES of Culture, Rights & Power


  • NRES 763 – GEOGRAPHY Field School
  • GEOGRAPHY 626 – GEOGRAPHIES of Culture, Rights & Power

Optional Course

Independent Study (arranged with your home program taken concurrently or immediately after the field school)


Cost = $1000 + airfare + tuition

  • Weeks One & Two: $1000 (approx.) – based on 14 days in-country
  • Airfare: $900-$1,000
  • UNBC Course Fees: See UNBC Tuition & Fees

This field school fee covers: 14 nights of hotel; 2-3 meals a day for 14 days; transportation in-country; trip organization, guiding, translation; honorariums for some people and communities we meet with, etc.

(Participants pay for their own travel to and from Guatemala – though we will coordinate schedules to travel together)​


Grahame & Catherine will have discussions with interested persons about the possible risks involved with this delegation, before people decide to join or not. Since 1995, with Rights Action, Grahame has planned and led over 50 such delegations to Honduras, Guatemala, Chiapas and Oaxaca, and never had any serious problems.

For More Information

Grahame Russell, info@rightsaction.org, 1-860-352-2448
Catherine Nolin​, catherine.nolin@unbc.ca, 1-250-960-5875