Citizen-Driven Policy: Strengthening Community Engagement for a Better World.
First and foremost, the C2U Expo 2015 conference provides the opportunity for participants to be inspired and energized by the successes of community-campus partnerships, community based research, and community service-learning. Furthermore, the conference provides a means for participants to build connections and share ideas through meaningful dialogue, work in solidarity to build on the cumulative legacy of the Expo’s networks, partnerships, and projects throughout Canada and the world.
The C2U Expo 2015 conference aims to build momentum for policy solutions that help civil society organizations navigate the current environment, and more effectively assert their interests through policy development and engagement; and Strengthen the growing national movement to deepen community-campus engagement as universities and colleges seek to enhance their potential to contribute to the development of Canada and the public good.
CACSL members will enjoy a 15% discount on the regular conference rate ($65.25 to $72.75 reduction).
A number of pre-conference workshops and webinars will be offered prior to the conference in May.
The pre-conference workshops will be organized and facilitated by the Community-Campus Partnerships for Health, Canadian Alliance for Community Service-Learning and Volunteer Canada, Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship, and Community-Based Research Canada. Confirmed workshops are:
Collective Impact Pre-Conference Event.
Understanding and Advancing Impact, Policy and Funding for CBR and CCE.
Engaged Practice Learning Exchange Workshop.
Collective Impact and Community Engagement: From Idea to Action.
How to Build a Research Shop.
Translating Practice to Policy in Community-Campus Partnerships.
CACSL members will enjoy a $105 reduction in the Collective Impact pre-conference event.
The pre-conference webinars will be hosted by the University of Saskatchewan and Memorial University. Confirmed workshops are:
Have you ever found yourself needing to relay a large amount or complex pieces of information in a concise and efficient manner? If so, infographics may be one of the many tools available to do so. As the name may suggest this week’s technique , infographics, employs the use of graphic elements in order to present information to a particular audience.
Although not formally named as such, infographics have been in use for a lengthy period of time, often being used in scientific books and maps as early as the 1600s. Since then, their utility has expanded from academia and cartography to include any discipline or area needing to relay knowledge. As an everyday example, newspapers often use infographics to present the weather, show current stock rates, and analyze the outcome of sport events.
Resources, time, and skill
One of the attractions to using infographics as a way to mobilize knowledge is their ease of use. With little effort, a visually appealing and informative graphic can be made either by hand or using a variety of online tools. For example, here is an infographic I recently made using Piktochart.com that took a relatively short period of time.
Infographics are only limited by the ingenuity of the individual that is creating them.
The utility of infographics lie in their ability to display complex knowledge in a simple way. However, sometimes a particular piece of knowledge needs to remain complex and not be distilled in any way in order to remain informative. For example, if a novel new technology is being researched, the findings associated with that research are probably best disseminated through lengthy papers as opposed to an infographic. This way the subtle nuances associated with that research are not lost.
Furthermore, the target audience of the infographic should be taken into consideration before the design. The language used within the infographic should cater to that audience (there’s no sense using jargon that your audience doesn’t understand). Also, the infographic should be memorable in some way. The use of impactful content and visually appealing displays help with this. Finally, the infographic shouldn’t overwhelm the reader. Simple messages are easier to remember and thus are more impactful on the reader.
The take away
Companies and organizations can establish and align their goals through the use of infographics. For example, an infographic could be used to represent a Theory of Change, detailing the paths of knowledge used in each part of that organization. Furthermore, infographics could be used as a means to disseminate knowledge between groups within an organization. Furthermore, infographics may be used in order to raise awareness on an issue; by first gathering the attention of a reader, then directing them to more detailed sources of information such as a policy brief or a research paper.
What is Knowledge Mobilization (KMb)? Why should I care?
Almost every research funding grant asks for a knowledge mobilization strategy. In general, researchers want to do research that has value and impact. KMb, in essence, consists of all the activities and outputs that builds awareness, and enables use of the research.
KMb is an emerging field of work which leaves for room multiple definitions and perspectives and is multi-faceted with varied roots and assorted branches. (Roots and branches).
This means you have the opportunity to think through and define what it means based on your hub’s needs and interests.
Purpose of knowledge Mobilization
Why do research funders such as the Tri Council (SSHRC, CIHR, and NSERC) as well as many foundations expect researchers to develop a knowledge mobilization strategy as part of a research grant proposal?
The bottom line for funders is that they want the money they put towards research to have results. A knowledge mobilization strategy demonstrates the linkages between the research results and addressing real world issues and shows how the research would be put into use.
SSHRC Perspective Expanded
Purpose of knowledge mobilization:
Better connect social sciences and humanities research within and beyond academia, to maximize intellectual, cultural, social and economic impact. Framing our Direction, SSHRC 2010-2013
The goal is to maximize the impact of research and to capture and communicate those impacts as widely as possible. As a result, researchers, institutions and funding agencies are deepening their engagement in knowledge mobilization and finding new ways to capture and communicate the many benefits research and research talent can offer to all sectors of the economy, culture and society. Strengthening Canada’s Cultures of Innovation. SSHRC Strategic Plan 2013-2016
SSHRC categorizes KMb into four domains: Co-creation, Broker, Exchange and Dissemination. Below are examples of activities under each of the domains.
The K * Continuum- another lens with which to look at Knowledge Mobilization
Key Considerations in Knowledge Mobilization
Knowledge mobilization and participatory action research share space. e. Engagement activities inherent in participatory action research are simultaneously aspects of knowledge mobilization. For example, a meeting bringing together stakeholders to identify the needs is a part of designing a research project, and simultaneously part of a KMb Strategy. Please see attached diagram that shows the connections between KMb and the phases of research.
KMb is a means rather than an end. The goal is not to only distribute the knowledge, but to share it in such a way that it is easily accessible, useful and used. Understanding the world of the potential user enables creation of KMb products and activities that makes adoption and application more likely. Start with a focus on the potential user and their use of the information. Do a thorough analysis of their context, interests, needs, and their trusted sources.
Knowledge does not get used up when shared. A dizzying array of techniques exist. One piece of research can be shared in through multiple means. Multiple means and ways of sharing enables meeting the of multiple audiences. g. Knowledge may be shared via a journal article, a policy brief, an infographic, a play, a sculpture, a news release, a presentation, and be distributed via tweets, facebook posts, blogs, webinars, online conversations, face to face meetings and so forth. Effective knowledge mobilization means understanding the audience(s) their information gather habits, the use to which they would put the knowledge, and your goal in sharing the knowledge.
An academic paper published in an academic journal is knowledge mobilization but only one aspect of knowledge mobilization. You can expand the reach of your findings by using multiple media, formats, and distribution methods. KMb Techniques
Some Key Questions to ask yourself in developing a KMb Strategy
What is the knowledge the research will generate?
Who are the audiences and stakeholders? e. Who’s the knowledge for and with? Who cares about this issue? Who should care?
Who will use the knowledge? How will they use it? How and to what extent do they want to participate in the design and delivery of the research? What difference can the research make? To whom? Who has the power to implement change?
What is the most effective way to connect with each audience?
What KMb activities make sense for each phase of my research?
What do I want to accomplish through the research?
To what extent will I include participatory action research thereby integrating knowledge mobilization from the beginning of my research project?
Assessing your KMb: Reach + Relevance + Relationship = Results
Reach, Relevance, and Relationships combine to create the conditions to achieve results.
KMb consists of four main aspects- Reach, relevance, and relationship make up the key elements of achieving results. Although effective reach, relevance, and relationship do not guarantee uptake and use of the research findings together they increase the likelihood of it being useful, useable, and used .
Reach speaks to the breadth of connections as reflected in the question ‘’Are we connecting with the people who care or should care about this issue? Are we connecting with those who can make changes?
Relevance speaks to the question, ‘’To what extent do our KMb activities and products reflect the needs and interests of our audiences and stakeholders?’’ It also reflects the importance of the research to them.
Relationship speaks to the question, ‘’Are we connecting with the depth and breadth of audiences and stakeholders to the level of appropriate level of engagement?’’ Relationships, key to knowledge mobilization, come in many forms and levels. While fully engaged partners are critical to the success of the research mobilization it is vital to pay attention to the needs and interests of the more peripheral participants. Sharing with your core engaged partners while vital will not be enough to move your knowledge into action.
Successful KMb requires depth and breadth of engagement.
Fully engaged- partners:a relatively small group of people whose passion and engagement in the issue to be researched energize and nurture the community
Active and supportive: Involved to some degree in the design and development but not as involved as the fully engaged group
Interestedoccasionally active participants: Participate when the topic is of special interest, when they have some specific to contribute, or when they are involved in a project. This may also include policy makers and other decision makers who have an interest in the outcomes of the research, but do not actively participate in the research.
Observer participants:people who have a sustained connection and interest in the research, but with less engagement and authority, either because they are still newcomers, because they do not have as much personal commitment, or need to keep in touch but cannot participate fully. These people may be active elsewhere and carry the learning to these places.
Transactional participants: outsiders who interact with the research project occasionally without being members themselves, to receive or provide a service or to gain access to artifacts produced by the community, such as its publications, its website, or its tools.
Results from your mobilization efforts can be difficult to ascertain and measure. On one hand the outcomes from your mobilization efforts need to mirror the intended outcomes of your research which tend to require significant time to pass. On the other hand, you can measure interim outcomes that can lead to the achievement of longer term goals. For example, increased attention to the issue by decision makers that your research contributed to can be considered an interim result. Longer term outcomes would be the implementation of the policy or practice change.
Looking for a good opportunity to connect with people working on sustainability initiatives throughout Ottawa? The 3i Springboard Summit is about collaborating on a shared mission to Innovate, Interact and Initiate in order to promote action for the benefit of the greater Ottawa community.
A divide is growing between university professors and the rest of the world. On one hand, anti-intellectualism is becoming mainstream in that public figures and policy make it increasingly difficult for research to be accepted by the masses. On the other hand, university professors alienate themselves by failing to disseminate their research further than the pages of academic journals and having little interest in community engagement.
It’s hard to bridge that divide however, when community engagement fails to operate within the “soft money” model that many schools of public health have adopted. Under these models, the majority of professors’ salaries are funded through grants. Public intellectuals have a hard time finding a place within universities due to the current focus in academia being on the bottom line and not community growth.
Over the last few decades, universities have adopted a Wal-Mart business model of hiring in that by not guaranteeing employment, they insure that contract instructors accept lower salaries for more amounts of work. This makes it increasingly difficult for community-based research to gain traction in a system that is reluctant to change. While it should be noted that the tenure process has been slowly changing by placing more emphasis on community engagement, an emphasis on how to engage in community-based research in all stages of academia needs to be put placed. A growing number of knowledge mobilizing tools are now available that can help bridge this growing divide and educate the public.
Drawing on lessons learned from University of Victoria’s hugely successful community-based leadership initiatives, the following book draws upon a host of dialogues, debates, reflections and ideas on issues related to the learning, teaching, and practice of community-based research. Not only does this book explore the practice of community-based research, but it delves into the obstacles and opportunities that may present themselves along the way.
In March 2013, an expert panel appointed by the Ontario government presented the Minister of Health with a comprehensive three-pronged strategy to address the issue of childhood obesity. The Healthy Kids Panel recommended a strategy to start all kids on the path to health, change the food environment and create healthy communities. For each of these elements, it proposed realistic, achievable measures along with an action plan to turn ideas into reality. Alex Munter was Co-Chair of the panel. In this lecture he will address how members of the multi-sectoral committee took on their mandate, put evidence ahead of preconception and were willing to move away from the prevailing wisdom of their sector in order to put together an effective strategy. He will also explore the complexity of the issue from both a political and a policy perspective and present his insights on how we make progress to protect child and youth health.
Attached you will find the poster for this event and a map identifying the location of the lecture.
Please share this invitation with colleagues and encourage them to attend!
Looking for novel ways of engaging or sharing knowledge? Check out: Improvisation, community, and social practice – ”The project’s core hypothesis is that musical improvisation is a crucial model for political, cultural, and ethical dialogue and action.”