Changing Narratives

For more than thirty of Atkinson’s eighty-plus years, we have supported pragmatic visionaries through our fellowship programs. Atkinson Fellows are widely known for game-changing investigative journalism, persuasive narratives, and public policy innovation.


The inaugural Atkinson Artist is an outstanding culture worker who fires up our collective vision and action for decent work and a fair economy. Rollie Pemberton (aka rapper Cadence Weapon) is focusing on unfair working conditions in the gig economy and urban gentrification in neighbourhoods like Toronto’s Little Jamaica. This part-time appointment also provides him with time and space to pursue his artistic practices.


The Atkinson Fellow on the Future of Workers is an exceptional policy innovator, grounded in the realities of working people and their communities. Armine Yalnizyan’s mission is to bring a workers’ perspective to the public policy development process — and to help all of us make sense of what’s happening in the economy.


The Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy – known simply as The Atkinson –  was established in 1988 to demonstrate the power of journalism to serve the public good. It’s for seasoned journalists who have high expectations for themselves and for this country: Canada’s best journalists. It’s a year to “go deep” and to tell a story that has real potential to influence public policy. Stephanie Nolen was the last recipient of the Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy for 2020 to 2021. The program is currently under review.


The Atkinson Economic Justice Fellowship is an occasional award for leading public commentators and organizers. Since 2001, six Fellows have produced in-depth research and led Canada-wide conversations on a range of critical public policy issues: Gitxsan child welfare activist Cindy Blackstock, housing activist Cathy Crowe, early childhood education expert Kerry McCuaig, former Premier of Saskatchewan and Medicare champion Roy Romanow, immigrant rights advocate Uzma Shakir, and economist Armine Yalnizyan.