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Portrait of Alka Kumar

Alka Kumar

Mitacs Elevate Postdoctoral Fellow
EducationPhD, University of Manitoba
Areas of ExpertiseLabour market integration for racialized skilled migrants; qualitative research; auto-ethnography; community-led and practitioner-based approaches; grassroots peace building and social justice; storytelling and career transition practice

Alka Kumar's research and practice in migration studies is situated in a labour market context. In her recent doctoral work, she examines the 'experiential' aspects of economic integration in relation to racialized skilled immigrants in Canada, using qualitative methods, a practitioner lens, and a solution-focused approach.

Alka is an educator and an instructor; and prior to moving to Canada in 2008, as a skilled economic migrant, Alka was an Associate Professor of English at the University of Delhi. With her Master’s in English, acquired at University of Delhi, and doctoral studies completed at University of Pune, in (Nobel Laureate) Doris Lessing’s major fiction, Alka taught courses in Fiction, Postcolonial Literature and Theory; and she pursued teaching and research in Canadian Studies, Diasporic and Immigrant Writing.

With education and work experience spanning the humanities and in interdisciplinary social sciences – literary studies, migration, and peace studies – Alka’s work lives between research and practice, spanning across sectors, with a focus on social justice and capacity building for racialized immigrant and refugee communities. Her current focus is also on employing narrative enquiry and storytelling as well as participatory research methods to explore alternative methods of knowledge production in migration.

With expertise in building capacity for racialized communities across sectors, Alka currently also works in a consulting role with the not-for profit Coalition of Manitoba Cultural Communities for Families (CMCCF) as a Project Advisor on their Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (J.E.D.I) Initiative; she writes a monthly blog (external link) , published on the organization’s website.

She also supports newcomer individuals in career development and employment pathways planning during their migration-transitions, including teaching and developing resources around topics such as Workplace Communication and Business English, as well as Management and Resolution of Workplace Conflicts.

Recent publications

(2022). The Economic Necessity of Improving Qualified Immigrant Settlement in Canada. (external link, opens in new window)  The Future Economy.  

(2021).  At Canada’s Universities, Institutional Racism Is More Than a Case of Few Bad Apples (external link) 

(2021). Can COVID-19 Help Us Build a More Inclusive Post-Secondary System? (external link) 

Book Chapters

(2023). Racialized skilled immigrants in the Canadian labour market. In (Maiangwa, B, (Ed.)), Paradox (es) of Diasporic Identity, Race and Belonging (external link) . Cham: Springer International Publishing.