An interview with Olav Slaymaker

Olav smiles at the camera, wearing a light jacket over a dark shirt. He has close cropped salt and pepper hair.

Dr. Leonora King, UBC Geography alumna and faculty member at Kwantlen University, conducted an interview with professor emeritus Olav Slaymaker in early 2020.

In this interview, Prof. Slaymaker reflects on the importance of three themes that have guided his relationship to geography and landscapes: family, intellectual community (academia), and faith and science. The interview offers insight into:

  • ways in which his early experience of war-time family life, frequent travel between contrasted landscapes, and issues of science and faith shaped his interests in geography and landscapes
  • the proliferation of the ‘Columbia school’ of geomorphology and the Quantitative Revolution into the UK.
  • the development of academic interest in and public consciousness around environmental change in British Columbia
  • the naïve realism underpinning much physical geography ontology, and Dr. Slaymaker’s perspective that faith can play a role in creating emotional and intellectual space for critical realism
  • the common and uncommon ground between human and physical geographers, and the opportunity for reconciliation