I’m Hugo Chesshire. I love politics, philosophy, and technology. I hold British and Canadian citizenship. I was born in Birmingham, England, and I grew up there, but I’ve made Canada my home since August, 2000.
I’ve worked in information technology, call centre training and development, in post-secondary education, and in academic research. I’ve worked in the UK, Canada, and the Philippines, I’ve studied in China, and I’ve been an exchange student in France and the Czech Republic. I love to read, travel, experience new places, and meet new people. I’m a very curious person, and there is so much to see and learn in the world. If it won’t come to me, I’ll seek it out. Recently, for instance, I’ve taught myself audio and video editing, and I’m working on vlogs and video reviews, just for fun. I’m also brushing up my French in my spare time. I’m gregarious and outgoing, and I’m proud to have friends on every continent.
I’m working as a research associate at the Niagara Workforce Planning Board. I do the research that drives labour market planning, and is useful to government, employers, workers, job-seekers and students. It’s a chance to exercise my skills in research, analysis and critical thinking, and to do so in a useful way that benefits and strengthens my community. Among other things, I’m running the NWPB blog, where you can get down-to-earth labour market info, and I worked on publications such as our Destination: Apprenticeship brochure, and the October 2013 Labour Market Plan Update.
I try to live as a just and decent person. I take something from Plato in that I make an effort to examine life and circumstances rather than just accept them. This is not to say that laws or social trends are always wrong, but if they are just and right, they should be able to withstand questioning. I’ve been an advocate and activist for social justice, women’s rights, workers’ rights, and the ethical treatment of animals. I’ve served as a union steward and a student advocate, and I’ve marched in protests and picket lines.
I’m mainly concerned with wealth inequality and poverty, and the underlying problems which drive them; I agree with Gandhi’s observation that poverty is the worst form of violence. Poverty makes all sorts of other oppression possible, and it’s emotionally damaging when one lives in the midst of plenty, and when success and character are equated to wealth. I talk about these issues on my blog a lot. I contribute to fixing them in the little ways that I can. My father said to me that you don’t have to have a job helping people in order to help people, and if you can make someone else smile, you’ve made the world a little bit better. Words to live by.
I did not go to university straight from school, but in 2008 I decided to get a degree as a mature student. I attended Brock University in Ontario, graduating in 2012 with first-class honours in both Political Science and Labour Studies. I came top of my class in both majors, and won over a dozen awards, scholarships, and academic prizes. I was also a student representative, and worked in the Political Science department recruiting and faculty affairs committees. I’m currently finishing my Master of Arts in Political Science at Brock, having accepted a large merit-based funding package from the university and a SSHRC, which is a prestigious federal research grant.
I’m a great writer. I won a lot of book prizes and awards at university for my academic papers, and I’m one of a very, very small number of undergraduates who have presented their research at major academic conferences, including that of the American Political Science Association, the most prestigious and rigorous in the field.
In my spare time, I’m a voracious reader. I particularly enjoy history and philosophy, which is not only great for my critical thinking skills, but sometimes helps me sound clever (or insufferable, depending on your perspective) at parties. I’m also very interested in computer history and platform studies. I got my first computer at age six, and since then I’ve owned IBM compatibles, Commodore Amigas, and Macs, using DOS, all flavours of Windows, Linux, MacOS, and even a few niche operating systems I have played around with (like QNX, or BeOS – fascinating little pieces of software). I’ve never had a gaming console, though. I don’t have anything against them or people who own them – they’re great entertainment, but for me a computer also has to be a creative tool. I used to repair computers for a living, and I still keep those skills active, building my own custom water-cooled computers and keeping them running, as well as the computers of friends and family. Tinkering and building is part of my nature – I always want to know what makes something work, and not just how to use it.
I currently live in the Niagara region of Ontario with my wife and our three cats.