Matthew Walls

Matthew Walls

Matthew Walls

Alumnus, PhD (2014), Anthropology

“My specialty is arctic archaeology.”

I’m from Calgary and just finishing my PhD in Anthropology. My specialty is arctic archaeology, and I’ve been studying the long-term relationship between Inuit and their environment in Greenland. In my dissertation research, I’ve been working closely with groups in Greenland who practise traditional hunting skills as a means of exploring their heritage.

I’ve been documenting the process through which individuals become skilled kayakers, and the types of environmental knowledge involved in the practice with the intent of better understanding the archaeological record of Inuit communities in the more distant past.

I specifically chose U of T to work with my supervisor, Max Friesen, as well as the Department of Anthropology’s international reputation.

I was able to take advantage of a number of funding opportunities for graduate students at U of T, which enable me to develop my research project independently. U of T funded my pilot research, and I was able to use that as an opportunity to secure larger external grants, when then allowed me to run three full field seasons in Greenland. I think it would have been difficult to do that at another university.

U of T has also provided a lot of opportunities to develop my teaching skills. Over the course of my degree, I was a teaching assistant for many different classes, and have recently had the chance to teach a full course. I hope to eventually land an academic job that allows me to research and teach.

I would encourage prospective students to take full advantage of the many great writing workshops offered by the English Language and Writing Support, and the teaching courses at the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation.