Sharon Halfyard

Postdoctoral Fellowship, Aging Research Council Newfoundland, and Labrador (ARC-NL)

Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies, Memorial University

Sharon Halfyard grew-up on the Northeast Coast of NL in some of the more rural coastal communities where her father, A. Job Halfyard, an innovative high school teacher/principal, was an active volunteer and community leader. Sharon did not see her father retire at age 55 years; instead, he ramped up his second-career entrepreneurial activities and devoted another 30 years to the development of the emerging aquaculture industry. A role model and sharer of knowledge, he encouraged his children to pursue their own dreams while still remembering and valuing their rural roots.

Like so many ‘outport’ young people who went off to Memorial University, Sharon did not return to rural NL. After completing a Physical Education degree and playing on the province’s bronze medal field hockey team at the 1977 Canada Summer Games, she taught Phys Ed. for three years at a high school in St. John’s. In 1982, Sharon went back to Memorial University and completed the Master’s in Education, Learning Resources/Educational Communications and Technology program. For the next five years, she worked as a Librarian/Learning Resources specialist at one of the largest high schools in the province. Five years later, she left that position and traveled west to pursue her interest in documentary filmmaking. That year she worked as a production assistant on the feature film, Finding Mary March, with the 1988 Official Film for the XV Olympic Games in Calgary, for a corporate industrial video production company in Edmonton and on a season of CODCO in Halifax.

After Sharon returned home in 1989, she spent the next 20 years as a documentary filmmaker and video producer/director. As a producer/director with the Division of Educational Technology at Memorial University, she worked with faculty members to design video productions for distance courses in the Faculties of Education, Medicine, Nursing, Business, Earth Science, Anthropology as well as Student Affairs and Services. She also worked on special educational video projects for organizations such as Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), and the Breastfeeding Coalition of Newfoundland and Labrador Inc.

In 1997, she left the university to set-up her own independent production company, Curzon Village Productions Inc.  She pitched ideas, raised funds, and produced documentaries that were broadcast on CBC and VISION TV and used in classrooms around the province. Those productions included a documentary and series of videos related to archeology and ancient indigenous people of Port au Choix and, another on Spina Bifida and the benefits of folic acid. The archeology productions were done in collaboration with Parks Canada and archaeologist, Dr. Priscilla Renouf.  

Sharon was also an active member of the Producers Association of NL during the years when the Newfoundland and Labrador Film Development Corporation (NFLDC) was being established. She later worked as a Program Analysist with the NLFDC and, in 2006, developed a human resource plan for the emerging film industry.

In 2011, at the age of 55 years, Sharon was accepted into the Interdisciplinary PhD program at Memorial University. Instead of choosing to explore narratives about other extraordinary people, places, or events she decided to examine the educational and community leadership development of her father, A. Job Halfyard. That scholarly social history narrative case study drew from aspects of oral history, life histories, autoethnography, and visual auto/biography narrative inquiry methods to examine the emergence of rural educational and community leadership identities. Her aim was to record and chart the institutional, community, personal factors and conditions that influenced the leadership development of teachers. Her main purpose was to analyze and document the enormous role teachers played in the rural development of Canada’s newest province during the 1949 to 1980s period of massive development.

Her postdoctoral fellowship (2021-2022) with the Aging Research Council of Newfoundland and Labrador is a spin-off from that research. Sharon will use similar research methodologies to examine business succession challenges among family-controlled small business owners in rural places. Those entrepreneurial families have often provided the backbone for local employment and community sustainability. It is estimated that more than 12,000 NL business owners will be looking to sell in the next 10 years (Mills, 2020).

Research Engagement



  • McGrath, C., Halfyard, S., & Cheeks, M. (2008). To be my Father’s Daughter. Educational Resource Development Co-operative (ERDC). St. John’s, NL.
  • Halfyard, S. (2013, Fall). The Date. The Newfoundland Quarterly. 106(2), pp. 6-8.

Documentary Production Highlights

Recipient of 5 Awards of Merit by the Association for Media Technology in Education in Canada (AMTEC), plus an Award of Excellence and an Honorable Mention from the Columbus International Film & Video Festival. 

Independent Productions – Curzon Village Productions Inc.

Developed documentary project ideas of potential interest to national and international broadcasters as well as film funding agencies. Skills/Responsibilities:  Proposal writing, research, producing, directing, editing plus the coordination of technical teams.

  • Closing the Gap: 0.4 Mg. of Prevention (2000) – Half hour documentary for CBC Atlantic Region.  Award of Merit (AMTEC), 2000; Honorable Mention, Columbus International Film & Video Festival, 2001.
  • Quest for Ancient Footsteps (1998) – For CBC Atlantic Region.  Award of Excellence (AMTEC). 
  • Commissioned Corporate/Educational videos – Produced resource material for:
    • Operation On-Line (2002) – In collaboration with Memorial University’s School of Business & College of the North Atlantic. Wrote, directed, and edited 3 vignettes for an on-line e-business course.  Also wrote users guide to complement videos.
    • Parks Canada, Port au Choix National Historic Site (1999) – Produced the interpretive site video, Ancient Cultures, Bountiful Seas as well as the interactive video displays, Ask the Archaeologist

Educational/Instructional Videos – Memorial University of Newfoundland 

Worked with professors to develop videos for distance and on-campus courses in addition to working on special projects for faculty or outside clients. Select list:

  • Breastfeeding:  Go with the flow! (1997) – A video, poster and learners guide produced for the Breastfeeding Coalition of Newfoundland and Labrador (NL). Used extensively by health professionals across Canada.
  • Investing in WISE Futures (1996) – Produced for Women in Science and Engineering (WISE).  Broadcast – CBC. Award Winner – AMTEC.
  • Seeing the World in Different Ways (1995) – An inside look at some of the anthropological and archaeological research activities of faculty members at Memorial University of Newfoundland.  Award Winner – AMTEC.
  • No Free Ride (1992) – Produced for Carbonear Integrated Collegiate, NL as part of a Stay in School Initiative.  Broadcast – CBC Regional Network.
  • Reading:  A Gift of a Lifetime (1991) – Produced to encourage adults to read to their young children. Broadcast CBC Regional (2000), Award Winner – AMTEC
  • Our Only Luggage is Our Hope (1991) – As part of a local United Church initiative, this video was produced about Bulgarian refugees for broadcast on VISION Television.
  • WISE Choices (1990) – Described as “one of the best “motivator’ tapes…” this half hour documentary profiles the lives of five Newfoundland women who have successful careers in science and technology.  Broadcast – CBC Regional Network, Award Winner – AMTEC
  • Port au Choix:  A Special Place (1989)Produced as part of MUN Extension community outreach, this documentary was broadcast on CBC Regional Network.  Selected by A & E Networks, The History Channel to appear in the History Showcase (1996); selected by the Canadian Museum Association as a gift of distinction (1994).