Kelly Bannister


[email protected]

Dr. Kelly Bannister is Co-Director of the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance and leads the POLIS Biocultural Ethics work. She also heads a Water Ethics and Cross Cultural Values Initiative for the POLIS Water Sustainability Project. She is an ethnobiologist with post-doctoral training and over 20 years experience in applied ethics. Her work encompasses collaborative approaches to biocultural diversity research and education, biodiversity policy, and biocultural ethics as an emerging area of praxis.

Her focus is on ethical and legal issues in research involving biodiversity and Indigenous cultural knowledge. She works in collaboration with a number of non-profit, Indigenous, and community organizations, as well as federal and provincial governments. She has extensive experience in ethics policy analysis and development within Canada and internationally. Her policy work has explored local to international governance mechanisms (e.g. codes of ethics, ethical guidelines, research agreements, community research protocols) to address power relations and facilitate equitable research practices between universities, governments, communities, and Indigenous peoples.

Kelly has particular interests in cross-cultural values, intercultural communication, and conflict resolution within human-ecosystem relationships, including our relationships to, with, and through water. She brings these collaborative dimensions of interrelating to the concept and practice of watershed co-governance and ecological governance.

Kelly holds B.Sc. (Biochemistry/Microbiology) and M.Sc. (Microbial genetics) degrees from the University of Victoria Depart of Biochemistry and Microbiology and a Ph.D. (Ethnobotany/Phytochemistry) from the University of British Columbia Department of Botany. After completing her Ph.D., she undertook post-doctoral research positions in Ecological Governance related to community-based research with POLIS and in Applied Ethics related to protection of Indigenous knowledge with the UVic School of Environmental Studies and the UBC Center for Applied Ethics.