Sept. 30, 2020

History Alumni Spotlight: Roda Siad, BA

History and English (2009), Documentary Filmmaker and Researcher
Image of Roda Siad
Image of Roda Siad

I chose to major in history during my undergraduate studies not because I had a specific career path in mind, but simply because I loved history. I also had a strong interest in the arts and specifically documentary films, which is why I pursued filmmaking after completing my BA in History and English Literature. The theoretical knowledge that I gained from my undergraduate courses supplemented the practical media training I received in Ryerson University’s Media Production program. On a foundational level, my education in history provided me with the critical reasoning and analytical skills needed to conduct background research for my documentary films.

Often, we are exposed to a single historical narrative, from one perspective. However, as a filmmaker I was always interested in the telling underrepresented stories and providing a platform for voices we do not regularly hear from. My media projects thus far have focused on the experiences of people on the move. I have had the opportunity to work on projects that explore refugee integration in Italy, Germany and Canada. I co-directed an award-winning short documentary called 19 Days, which was produced by the National Film Board of Canada. The film offers a glimpse into the world of refugee resettlement in Canada and has been screened across Canada as well as in the US, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the UK, the Czech Republic and Japan.

My passion for researching and writing about refugee issues has also led me to pursue further graduate studies. I am currently a PhD student in Communication Studies at McGill University and my research interests are in the intersections between technology, forced migration and humanitarianism. Specifically, I am interested in the implications of emerging technologies used in service delivery in refugee camps. My research is supported by a SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Doctoral fellowship. I can confidently say that the research and writing skills I gained during my liberal arts education at the University of Calgary have been, and will continue to be, instrumental in my doctoral studies.