B.Sc. (hon.) [Western] Medical Physiology and Pharmacology

D.Phil. [Waikato, New Zealand] Human Geography

M.E.Des. [Calgary] Environmental Design

M.S.W. [Calgary] Social Work

[Workshops dealing with restorative justice practice, existential psychotherapy, popular education and form theatre.]

Research and Practice

My research and practice focus on community development as a means for addressing what are often taken to be personal and mental health problems. I am interested in the structural origins of social issues and the policies and practices that address them. My work focuses on collective and community development approaches to problems like young Inuit suicide, housing and living conditions, food security and the impacts – social, cultural and environmental – of resource development projects. The themes of social organizing and resistance through the use of methods like participatory action research and popular education inform my work, as do critical theories dealing with economic, social and cultural issues.

While much of my research and community work currently focuses on Inuit settlements in the Canadian Eastern Arctic, I have also worked in Tanzania, Mozambique, Vanuatu in the South Pacific and Nicaragua. I am a documentary film maker and recipient of two international awards: the Gustavus Myers Award for my contribution to human rights in North America and the Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin Prize from the American Society for Ethnohistory, Cornell University, for Tammarniit (Mistakes); Inuit relocation in the eastern Arctic, 1939-1962 (Vancouver, UBC Press, 1994), co-authored with Peter Kulchyski, Native Studies, University of Manitoba.


Current and Related Research and Film Projects


  • Nanivara, a project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada in Gjoa Haven and Naujaat, Nunavut Territory, working with Inuit youth and Elders on contemporary expressions and the importance of Inuit culture and a critical examination of Inuit social and colonial history.
  • Up Here, Down Under: Inuit and the North Rankin Nickel Mine, 1957-1962. A documentary film based on interviews with Inuit Elders, archival footage, stills and contemporary B roll. Funded by ArcticNet (with Alex Formos and John Sandlos, Memorial University).
  • The Impact of Resource Extraction on Inuit Women and Families in Qamani’tuaq, Nunavut Territory. Research funded by ArcticNet, Pauktuutit: Inuit Women of Canada, centre national de la recherché scientifique (France) and the Canadian Women’s Foundation (with Karina Czyzewski).
  • Promises of prosperity: Exploring support for mine-involved Inuit families through culturally relevant child welfare services. Research funded by SSHRC and ArcticNet (with Patricia Johnston).
  • Making a Living: The experience of Bhutanese Refugees in Canada. Documentary film (with Irina Sedinova and Raj Khadka). Funded by UBC non-medical research fund.


Social Impact Assessment: Theory, Method and Practice. Calgary, Detselig, 1980. (editor, with Bill Mykes).

Lessons: Maori land tenure and resource development – implications for Canadian northern development and northern indigenous people. Ottawa, Circumpolar Affairs, Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, 1984.

Critical Choices, Turbulent Times Volume I: A companion reader on Canadian social policy reform. Vancouver, UBC, 1996. (editor with Chris McNiven and Robert Case).

Critical Choices, Turbulent Times Volume II:  Retreat and Resistance in the Reform of Canadian Social Policy. Vancouver, UBC, 1999. (editor with Robert Case).

Critical Choices, Turbulent Times: A community workbook on social programs. (2nd edition), Vancouver, UBC, 1999. (with Nancy Pollak and Richard Vedan).

Tammarniit (Mistakes): Inuit Relocation in the Eastern Arctic 1939-63. Vancouver: UBC Press, 1994. (with Peter Kulchyski).

Kiumajuk: game mangement, community development and Inuit rights in the eastern Arctic. Vancouver, UBC Press. [in press, to be released, spring, 2007 (with Peter Kulchyski)].

Recent Book Chapters

Canadian Dimension Covers British Columbia: Power, promises and pulp fiction. Chapter for a forthcoming book (refereed) celebrating the 50th anniversary of Canadian Dimension Magazine.

Homelessness and Health in the Crowded Canadian Arctic (with Nathan Lauster). Manal Guirguis-Younger, Stephen Hwang, Ryan McNeil. Homelessness and Health in Canada. Ottawa, University of Ottawa Press (forthcoming, 2012).

“Climate Change as a Human Rights Issue” Chapter for Environmental Social Work. London, Routledge (forthcoming, 2012).

Blangy, Sylvie and Frank Tester. “Impact Minier sur la Santé des Hommes et des Troupeaux de Caribou”. Mondes Polaires: Hommes et Biodiversités des Défis pour la Science. Eds. Aline Chabreuil et Véronique Lefebvre. Paris. le cherche midi, 2011. 132-135.

Recent Refereed Papers

Tester, Frank. Mad Dogs and (mostly) Englishmen: Colonial relations, commodities, and the fate of Inuit sled dogs. Études/Inuit Studies Journal, 34(2) (2011): 129-147.

Tester, Frank. Can the Sled Dog Sleep? Postcolonialism, cultural transformation and the consumption of Inuit culture. New Proposals: Journal of Marxism and Interdisciplinary Inquiry, 3:3 (2010): 7-19.

Lauster, Nathanael and Frank Tester. Culture as a problem in linking material inequality to health: On residential crowding in the Arctic.Health & Place. 16 (2010): 523-530. [Paper conceptualized by Lauster and Tester, drafted by Lauster, reworked and edited by Tester.]

Tester, Frank. Iglutaasaavut (Our New Home): Neither “New” nor “Ours”: Housing challenges of the Nunavut Territorial Government.Journal of Canadian Studies. 43.2 (2009): 137-158.

Tester, Frank  & Paule McNicoll, A Voice of Presence: Inuit Contributions toward the Public Provision of Health Care in Canada,1900-1930, Histoire Sociale – Social History, 41.82 (2008): 535-561. [50%]

Tester, Frank and Peter Irniq. Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit: Social History, Politics and the Practice of Resistance.  ARCTIC. 61.1 (2008): 48–61.

Yan, Miu Chung, Xin Huang, Kenneth W. Foster, and Frank Tester. “Charity Development in China: An Overview”. Journal of Social Work and Development. 17:1 (2007): 79–94.

‘Why Don’t they Get It?’ Talk of Medicine as Science. St. Luke’s Hospital, Panniqtuuq, Baffin Island. Social History of Medicine. Vol. 19, No. 1: 87-106. 2006. (with Paule McNicoll).

Art and Disarmament: Exchanging Arms for Tools in Mozambique. Development in Practice. Vol.16. No. 2: 169-178, 2006.

Iglu to Igluarjuaq. In: Pamela Stern and Lisa Stevenson (editors), Critical Inuit Studies: An Anthology of Contemporary Arctic Ethnography. Lincoln and London. University of Nebraska Press. 2006. pp. 230–252. (book chapter).

Isumagijaksaq (Mindful of the State): Social constructions of Inuit suicide. Social Science and Medicine. Vol. 58: 2625 – 2636. 2004. (with Paule McNicoll).

The Evolution of Health and Social Services for Nunavut: class, ethnicity and public versus private provision. Canadian Review of Social Policy. Vols. 49-50: 199-225. 2002.

Writing for Our Lives: the language of homesickness, self-esteem and the Inuit TB epidemic. Etudes/Inuit/Studies. Vol. 25. Nos. 1-2: 121-140. 2001. (with Paule McNicoll).

With an ear to the ground:  The CCF/NDP and Aboriginal Policy in Canada.  1926-93. Journal of Canadian Studies Vol. 334. No. 1: 52-74. 1999. (with Paule McNicoll and Jessie Forsyth).

Arctic Abstersion: The Book of Wisdom for Eskimos, modernism and Inuit assimilation.  Etudes/Inuit/Studies Vol. 23. Nos. 1-2: 199-220. 1999. (with Paule McNicoll and Peter Kulchyski).

Recent Professional Research Reports and Studies

Tester, Frank. Inuit Sled Dogs, Qikiqtani Region : Historical Changes and Events Affecting Them,  1955 – 1970. Qikiqtani Truth Commission, Iqaluit, Nunavut Territory. October 2008. 62 pages.

Tester, Frank. (with Ashley deRegil and Christopher Flannelly). Health and Medical Care in the Qiqiktani Region: 1945 – 1975. Qikiqtani Truth Commission, Iqaluit, Nunavut Territory. April 2008.  68 pages.

Tester, Frank. Lake Harbour (Kimmirut) Nunavut Territory: A Social History to 1956. Qikiqtani Truth Commission, Iqaluit, Nunavut Territory. February 2008.  27 pages., single-spaced.

IGLUTAQ: The Implications of Homelessness for Inuit – A case study of housing and homelessness in Kinngait, Nunavut Territory. Vancouver, UBC, April. 2006.

Peace, Reconciliation, and Trading Arms for Development Tools in Mozambique: An assessment. Report prepared for CUSO, The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), and the Canadian High Commission, Mozambique. 2004. (with Sandra Teeves).

The Yaeda Chini Project (Tanzania): An Assessment. Ottawa. Report prepared for CUSO (Canada) and NOVIB (The Netherlands). 2002.

CUSO/NOVIB: The Small Projects Fund. Ottawa. CUSO. Report prepared for CUSO (Canada) and NOVIB (The Netherlands). 2002.

Other Publications

Anti-Oppressive Theory and Practice As the Organizing Them for Social Work Education: the Case Against. Canadian Social Work Review. Vol. 20: 127-132. and Rebuttal: 137-138. 2003.

Social Work in an Augean Age. (editorial). Canadian Social Work Review. Vol. 19. No. 2. 2003.

Can I wipe your windows?:  Coming of Age in a Global Economy. Canadian Review of Social Policy.  Vols. 45/46. 2000. (with Robert Case).

Work and the Changing Labour Market: Issues for Social Work. (editorial). Canadian Social Work Review. Vol. 17. No. 1: 5-7.  2000.