CBRC

Simon Fraser University’s Community-Engaged Research Initiative (CERi)

Simon Fraser University’s Community-Engaged Research Initiative (CERi) at 312 Main Street, Vancouver is ready to launch.

Led by Co-Directors, Stuart Poyntz, SFU professor, School of Communication, and Am Johal, director, SFU’s VanCity Office of Community Engagement, CERi will open new offices at 312 Main in December 2019 and will offer a series of new programs, resources, events and space designed to support and enhance community-engaged research across SFU’s three campuses, throughout the Lower Mainland and across Canada.

CERi is a new kind of university initiative. Designed around a collaborative research space, CERi will promote principles of participation, cooperation, empowerment and knowledge translation to lift up and strengthen the capacity of SFU’s researchers and students. This in turn will allow our researchers and students to engage respectfully and ethically with community members in meaningful and productive research partnerships that are capable of making a positive difference in communities throughout British Columbia.

CERi emerged from SFU’s University Steering Committee on Community-Engaged Research and is designed to offer scholars, students and community members flexible research space, a community librarian/archive program, research funding support, learning resources, a Visiting Scholars program and media production resources, while engaging in a university-wide discussion of policies linked to the recognition of community-engaged research at SFU.

Community-engaged research (CER) is defined by a set of practices, values and objectives that emphasize active participation of the individuals and communities directly affected by research activities and joint responsibility between investigators and communities for the design, execution and outcomes of research projects. CER is premised on principles of reciprocity, including the shared ownership of research produced as a result of partnerships between scholars, students and communities. Through the process of inclusion, research findings can have greater relevance to the communities they concern, while meaningful engagement in the research process can help to increase the likelihood that research findings will be used and will be useful for the communities they involve.

Beyond a range of new programs, CERi will raise awareness, celebrate and recognize outstanding CER at the SFU. Over the past six months, working in coordination with an Advisory Board, Poyntz and Johal have undertaken the development of an ambitious implementation plan that builds on a year-long process (2018/19) of consultation and reflection on CER at the university.

This plan is now ready to be launched and calls for participation, applications for student research funding and access to research space will circulate in April 2020.

As this initiative unfolds, our aim is to create a unique social infrastructure in the university, one that will entrench and expand SFU’s capacity to lead community-engaged research through the development of a one-of-a-kind institute that will be unique in Canada and a leader around the world.

For more information on CERi and our programs, please visit our information page at www.sfu.ca/vpresearch/community-engaged-research.html and look for our new website, launching in January 2020.

Stuart Poyntz and Am Johal

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Research for All

Why Research for All? What does it do for academia? And what does it does it do for wider communities?

Research for All was born out of a UK initiative that brought together enthusiasts from different universities and different academic disciplines. While each team was creating a culture of public engagement in their own university we were also developing ideas for an international journal. We brought together a range of people involved in engaged scholarship, including academics, professional service staff, and community organisations to frame the initial ideas for the journal. Our collective vision is a journal that encourages universities and communities and other organisations to do research together, and make use of the findings, to take seriously how this changes what we can learn together, the new insights that can be inspired, and to study how to do engaged research more effectively.

Research for All had a long gestation, with discussions nationally then internationally. Those early conversations developed a vision for a journal with a high profile and academic credibility that: improves society through engaged research; improves practice by providing a space to share ideas; models engagement with its content and processes; and engages strategic leaders, research funders and policy makers to change the culture of universities.

Do you have any ties with Canada?

One of the journal partners is the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE), who have a long standing relationship with colleagues championing community engaged research in Canada which helped shape our initial ideas for the journal. In addition, in 2015, well before our first issue, we took this conversation to the C2UEXPO Conference in Ottawa and came away enthused by Canadians leading the field in community-based research and service learning.

We are privileged to have on our advisory board, Budd Hall from University of Victoria, and UNESCO co-chair in Community-Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education, and his co-chair, Rajesh Tandon from the Society for Participatory Research in Asia, who co-authored our first published article.[i] This provided the rationale for the journal – the value of understanding different knowledge systems and the importance of community-based participatory research partnerships.

Our Canadian editors illustrate the breadth of interests expressed in the journal. Janet Jull, at Queens University in Ontario, develops and evaluates approaches and tools for shared decision making in partnerships with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities. Crystal Tremblay, at University of Victoria, uses participatory video and arts-based methods for creative citizen engagement and the co-creation of knowledge leading to environmental and social equity.

We’re delighted to have published contributions from other Canadians about scaling up community-based research[ii] and about knowledge brokering.[iii]

What does Research for All hope to achieve for community-based research?

Nearly half the papers we publish have authors from outside of academia, usually writing with their academic partners. They come from advocacy and support groups, schools or further education, support services, theatre, local TV, commercial enterprises, museums and government. They include teachers, school students, patients/ health service users, policy makers, freelance participation practitioners and independent researchers. That makes Research for All a great place to hear from community members and those working with them and with academia, and for finding inspiration and sharing lessons about community-based research.

Attracting such a range of contributors allows our editorials for each issue to reflect on the field as a whole. So far we’ve explored motivations and conducive conditions for community-based research, , ways of sharing research and experience through the written word and face-to-face conversations, the importance of time and relationships, and the added value of engaging communities with research across the whole field.

We see Research for All as a forum for studying, celebrating and advancing community-based research.

Research for All is based in the UK and supported by: UCL Institute of Education, which has a mission rooted in a commitment to social justice, and is a cornerstone of public engagement with research, part of University College London, a diverse intellectual community, engaged with the wider world and committed to changing it for the betterthe National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE), which is internationally recognized for its work supporting and inspiring universities to change perspectives, promote innovation, and nurture and celebrate excellence.   The journal is fully open access, free to write for and free to read. See: https://www.ucl-ioe-press.com/research-for-all/

[i] Hall, B.L. and Tandon, R. (2017) ‘Decolonization of knowledge, epistemicide, participatory research and higher education’. Research for All, 1 (1), 6–19. DOI 10.18546/RFA.01.1.02.

[ii] Elson, P.R., Wamucii, P. and Hall, P.V. (2018) ‘Scaling up community-based research: A case study’. Research for All, 2 (2): 374–392. DOI https://doi.org/10.18546/RFA.02.2.14

[iii] Phipps, D.J., Brien, D., Echt, L., Kyei-Mensah, G. and Weyrauch, V. (2017) ‘Determinants of successful knowledge brokering: A transnational comparison of knowledge intermediary organizations’. Research for All, 1 (1), 185–97. DOI 10.18546/RFA.01.1.15.)

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New Institutional Member – St Francis Xavier shares about their CBR initiatives

St. Francis Xavier University (StFX) is one of Canada’s leading undergraduate universities, located in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.  One of the distinguishing features of StFX is that it combines the pursuit of research excellence with local and regional social relevance achieved through community engagement and partnerships.  These efforts have had global reach and impact.  Dating back to the Antigonish Movement, StFX has had a long and continuing tradition of working with communities to facilitate social change, address inequities and marginalization, as well as improve policy and governance.  The StFX Extension Division, which can trace its roots to the beginning of the Antigonish Movement, has been instrumental in these efforts, reaching communities across Atlantic Canada. StFX is also home to the Coady International Institute, a world-renowned centre of excellence in community-based development and leadership education.  In collaboration with partners in Canada and the Global South, the Coady Institute works to reduce poverty and transform societies by strengthening local economies, building resilient communities, and promoting social accountability and good governance.

Today, the Coady Institute and Extension Division have joined in a united effort to address local and global development challenges at the community level.  Through Coady-Extension, StFX hosts the Nova Scotia Government-funded Centre for Employment Innovation (CEI), which supports capacity development and applied research needed to improve employment prospects for under-represented and traditionally marginalized populations.  StFX is also home to the National Collaborating Centre for the Determinants of Health (NCCDH), funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada.  The NCCDH focuses on health equity and how differences in local socio-economic conditions at the community level can cause inequities in health and public health care services.  StFX’s efforts in community-university research were organized into the Centre for Regional Studies in the mid-1980’s, which had a wide-reaching mandate to promote research into the social, economic, cultural and political issues of relevance to Atlantic Canada, and to eastern Nova Scotia in particular.  More recently, StFX launched the Brian Mulroney Institute of Government and Frank McKenna Centre for Leadership, as part of a new focus on public policy, governance and leadership issues, as well as the newly formed Climate Services and Research Centre, which aims to use climate data and models to provide climate information and adaptation strategies responsive to community needs. 

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New Institutional Member – Aurora College shares about their CBR initiatives

Aurora College is a college located in the Northwest Territories, Canada with campuses in Inuvik, Fort Smith, and Yellowknife. The college also includes 21 Community Learning Centres located in remote communities across the NWT. Currently, the college is sectioned into two large divisions: the post-secondary division and the job training and adult education division.The post-secondary division of the college offers several degree programs through partnerships with southern universities, post-secondary diploma and certificate programs as well as trades and apprenticeship programs. Aurora College also has dynamic and flexible job training programs, which are offered mainly in the small remote communities of the NWT and which consist of everything from firearms safety to mine training.

Publications, reports, and student success story videos regarding the School of Developmental Studies programming can be obtained from the website. Aurora College is also distinctive in that it has a high quality Research and Development branch called Aurora Research Institute (ARI). The mandate of ARI is to apply scientific, technological and traditional knowledge to solve northern problems and advance the territorial economy and society. ARI publications and reports can be obtained from their website

Aurora College is in transition to becoming a Polytechnic University so the years ahead present many exciting opportunities as well as challenges. The college has always worked closely with community and territorial partners, and that collaborative approach will provide guidance to becoming a uniquely northern but widely recognized polytechnic university.

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A Message from the Co-Chairs of CBRC

We hope this message greets everyone in a position to enjoy a relaxing holiday season with family and friends. The end of the year tends to be a time of both reflection and anticipation of what is to come in the new year. For CBCR, 2019 has been a very important year of re-imagining and solidifying our role as a conveyor, organizer, and supporter of all important things related to community-based research in Canada.

In 2019 CBRC hosted six webinars that showcased ambitious research projects and interesting community-campus partnerships. The audience included researchers from across of country and internationally. If you missed any of them, please visit CBRC website here where you can find all the recordings. We also facilitated highly evaluated and well attended Community-Based Research Excellence Tool (CBRET) workshops in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver. Please check the website [here] about what’s involved to host this workshop in your organization. This year CBRC were so pleased to have 11 new institutional members come join us under the tent. A hearty CBRC welcome to University of British Columbia, McMaster University, University of Alberta, Dalhousie University, St Francis Xavier University, NORDIK Institute, Trent Community Research Centre, Georgian College, Aurora College, Interior Health Authority, and Positive Living North.

As a national organization, we have embarked on an ambitious strategic planning process that we will be rolling out for consultation and feedback in 2020. This process has been led by two CBRC board members, Dave Heidebrecht, Manager, Office of Community Engagement, McMaster University and Crystal Tremblay, Assistant Professor and Special Advisor on Community Engaged Scholarship, University of Victoria, who work closely with the Strategic Planning Subcommittee. Big thanks to you both.

Speaking of 2020, we are very excited about what is coming in the new year. We are thrilled that the 8th C2UExpo will be taking place in Sault Ste. Marie from May 12- 14th. Hosted by NORDIK Institute, Algoma University and Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig, C2UExpo 2020- Culture, Place and Resilience will attract delegates from across Canada and around the world to learn about innovation in local, national, international community-campus initiatives and community-based research. Read the Call for Proposals here and plan to be there for intellectual and social benefits. CBRC will have a big presence in Sault Ste. Marie: we will be hosting a pre-conference workshop and will be sharing our strategic plan for feedback and consideration.

In 2020 CBRC will continue to provide variety of platforms to enable community engaged researchers to connect and learn from one another. Stay tuned to our website to learn about these opportunities as they emerge. And do not hesitate to drop us a line or two…

We wish all of you a safe and happy holiday season. Happy 2020 Year everyone!

Joanna Ochocka and Steve Dooley

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OCIC Youth Policy-Makers Hub & Gender Equality Hub

The Ontario Council for International Cooperation is gathering activists, community youth leaders, artists, educators, and allies from across Ontario to co-create and engage in policy-making and advocacy initiatives towards gender equality, social and environmental justice issues. The application deadline to join the Hub is Nov. 6, 2019. Learn more here.

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International Dialogue on Gandhi and Higher Education

Two CBRC Board Directors, Budd Hall and Crystal Tremblay, attended an international conference in India. The conference was led by UNESCO Chair in Community Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education in partnership with International Development Research Centre (IDRC), UNESCO New Delhi Cluster Office and Association of Indian Universities (AIU). This conference brought together practitioners, academics and Gandhian philosophers to explore the contemporary relevance, applications and impact of Mahatma Gandhi’s theory and practice on higher education in India and the world.

Read the report here.

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Edmonton Arts Council Job Posting

The Edmonton Arts Council (EAC) is looking for a Manager of Research, Measurement Analytics and Learning. To see the job posting, click here.

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Engagement Scholarship Consortium Accepting Applications for Community-Engagement Regional Conferences

The Engagement Scholarship Consortium will support up to four regional conferences per year. Applications for regional conference funding will accepted on a rolling basis until annual funds for regional conferences are committed. For specific information on application procedures, submission, and criteria, go to: https://engagementscholarship.org/conference/regional-meetings.

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CBRC Strategic Planning Announcement

The CBRC strategic plan (2020-2025) is in the process of developing over the next 4 months and will be released at the C2UExpo in Sault St Marie. The plan will reflect the changing landscape of community-based research and suggest CBRC programs and services for the next 5 years. Your ideas are very welcome to shape this process and the results. This is an exciting time to envision CBRC in the future. There will be opportunities to offer feedback both online and in person at events planned across the country. Please check the CBRC website in November for a draft plan and ways to provide feedback.

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