Michelle LeBaron is a Professor of Law at the University of British Columbia. She is a legal scholar and practitioner of conflict prevention and transformation specialized in cross-cultural applications of arts to counter violence and ameliorate the aftermath of conflict.
Because of their intentional infliction of damage, terrorist attacks spawn not only practical and logistical challenges, but frequently huge social and material ripples including additional violence, ethnocultural targeting of those who appear to be members of perpetrator groups, ongoing individual and collective psychological vulnerability and social fragmentation. Resilience—the capacity to respond to inflammatory actions and events in ways that prevent further harm—is particularly important for members of Canadian society who are least able to cope with additional trauma including immigrants and refugees. Proactive engagement in fostering resilience is therefore an essential aspect of Canada’s counter-terrorism strategy to deal with “homegrown extremism”.
Professor LeBaron’s research focuses on how the arts can foster belonging and social cohesion across cultural and worldview differences. Her current project investigates how dance, movement and kinesthetic awareness can enhance practitioners’ and parties’ capacities to transform conflict. Professor LeBaron has also published on creativity, intuition, spirituality and intercultural relations. She writes poetry and fiction and is a long-time practitioner of yoga.