Lisette Farias Vera

Assistant professor

About me

I am Assistant Professor at the Division of Occupational Therapy at Karolinska Institutet, Board Member of the European Network of Occupational Therapy in Higher Education (ENOTHE), and Associate Editor of Journal of Occupational Science. I am also a licensed Occupational Therapist in Chile and Sweden with work experience in both countries. 

Research description

The broad goal of my research is to explore and address issues of social and health inequity that affect people and communities’ possibilities for participation in everyday activities (occupations) that they need to, want to and/or are expected to do. To advance this intent, my research has primarily aimed to a) examine relevant political, cultural and socioeconomic factors that exclude individuals and groups from fully participating in society, and b) to explore theoretical approaches, practices, and methodologies that can enact critically-informed, socially transformative, and collaborative processes between key stakeholders and groups experiencing marginalization. Addressing these areas, I draw on critical social theory, and participatory and dialogical approaches to problematize what is often taken-for-granted to promote reflection and possibilities for action. As an example of this, my doctoral thesis forwards a critical dialogical approach and critical reflexivity to enact values such as transparency, partnership, and democratization of the research process.

One of my early research experiences focused on the exploration of the intersections between identity, culture, and occupation after forced migration. This type of research expands understandings of health associated with the presence/absence of illness to consider how social processes such as migration affect the health of individuals and communities. I have also been involved in research that seeks to enact collaborative processes with people who experience varying forms of marginalization such as sex workers, immigrants, people affected by substance abuse, among others. Building on this work, I hope to continue collaborating with other researchers and community organizations interested in addressing health and social inequities. 

Selected Publications in Occupational Science:

Farias, L., & Simaan, J. (2020). Introduction to the Anti-Racism Virtual Issue of the Journal of Occupational Science. Journal of Occupational Science, 1-6. 

Asaba, E., Aldrich, R. M., Gabrielsson, H., Ekstam, L., & Farias, L. (2020). Challenging conceptualisations of work: Revisiting contemporary experiences of return to work and unemployment. Journal of Occupational Science, 1-14. 

Stanley, M., Rogers, S., Forwell, S., Hocking, C., Nayar, S., Laliberte Rudman, D., Prodinger, B., Farias, L., Townsend, E., Magalhães, L., Simaan, J., Reid, H., & Pols, V. (2020). A Pledge to Mobilize Against Racism. Journal of Occupational Science, 27(3), 294-295. 

Gibson, C., & Farias, L. (2020). Deepening our collective understanding of decolonising education: A commentary on Simaan’s learning activity based on a Global South community. Journal of Occupational Science, 27(3), 445-448. 

Magalhães, L., Farias, L., Rivas-Quarneti, N., Alvarez, L., & Malfitano, A. P. S. (2018). The development of occupational science outside the Anglophone sphere: Enacting global collaboration. Journal of Occupational Science, 1-12. doi:10.1080/14427591.2018.1530133

Farias, L., & Laliberte Rudman, D. (2016). A critical interpretative synthesis of the uptake of critical perspectives in occupational science. Journal of Occupational Science, 23(1), 33-50. doi:10.1080/14427591.2014.989893

Veiga Seijo, S., Farias, L., & Rivas Quarneti, N. (2017). Precarious work as situated occupation: Exploratory study of workers' experiences in the context of Spanish economic crisis. Brazilian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 25(4). doi:

Farias, L., & Asaba, E. (2013). The family knot:  Negotiating identities and cultural values through everyday occupations of an immigrant family in Sweden. Journal of Occupational Science, 20(1), 36-47. doi:10.1080/14427591.2013.764580

Book Chapters

Farias, L & Aldrich, B. (Forthcoming). Critical Theory: Resources for questioning and transforming everyday life. In S. Taff (Ed.), Philosophical Foundations for Occupational Therapy Education, Research, and Practice. Slack Inc.

Farias, L. (2020). The (Mis)shaping of Health: Problematizing Neoliberal Discourses of Individualism and Responsibility. In H. Hosseini, J. Goodman, S. C. Motta, & B. K. Gills (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Transformative Global Studies (pp. 268-281). London: Routledge.

Nichols B., Farias L. (2018) Maternal Care in Guatemala: Problematizing Discourses of Development, Transnational Advocacy, and Indigeneity. In: Schwartz D. (eds) Maternal Death and Pregnancy-Related Morbidity Among Indigenous Women of Mexico and Central America. Global Maternal and Child Health (Medical, Anthropological, and Public Health Perspectives). Springer.

Teaching portfolio

I teach in the undergraduate, masters, and doctoral levels at KI. My teaching areas are related to qualitative research methods (specifically on epistemology and methodology), critical theoretical perspectives, occupational science, health prevention, and the influence of context on health and occupation. I also teach and supervise students at the European Master of Science in Occupational Therapy. Internationally, I have teaching experience from Canada and Chile.

Regarding my teaching philosophy, I draw on a dialogical perspective (Freire, 1970; Shor, 1992) to contest and build on learners’ previous knowledge, integrating their experiences in the learning process. One of the main points of dialogical learning is that it recognizes that people learn both outside and inside the classroom. This means that my teaching constantly attempts to provide learners with opportunities to critically analyze (new) knowledge/situations based on their previous and current experiential knowledge (e.g. personal experiences, clinical practice, previous education). Consequently, the learning activities that I use are planned to embrace a problem-posing format to transform learning into a process where learners can construct their own knowledge by critically analyzing it.


Western University, Canada (2018) - Ph.D. Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (field of Occupational Science)

Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (2012) - European M.Sc. Occupational Therapy 

University of Chile (2008) – B.Sc. Human Occupation and Occupational Therapy Degree

Western University, Canada (2016) – Graduate Certificate in University Teaching and Learning

Western University, Canada (2014) – Graduate Certificate in Academic and Professional Communication

Academic honours, awards and prizes

Recipient of Swedish Occupational Therapists Scholarship 2019

Recipient of Global Bridges Program for Junior Researchers (Strategic Grants SFO-V, Karolinska Institutet) 2019

Recipient of Ingela Petersson Lies Memorial Fund (NVS, Karolinska Institutet) 2019

Elected a Board member of the European Network of Occupational Therapy in Higher Education (ENOTHE) 2018-present

Recipient of Ontario Trillium Scholarship (Doctoral Fellowship, Canada) 2013-2017

Recipient of Western Graduate Research Scholarship (Western University, Canada) 2013-2017

Recipient of Student Research Grant in Occupational Science from the Society for the Study of Occupation:USA 2016   

Recipient of Great Ideas for Teaching (GIFT) Award (Teaching Award, Western University) 2016

Recipient of Global Opportunities (GO) Award for Health Sciences (Western University) 2015

Recipient of the Canadian Society of Occupational Scientists Student Scholarship 2014

Recipient of the Linnaeus–Palme Scholarship for study abroad (Linnaeus-Palme Foundation, Sweden) 2007

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