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Community forums: Beyond dissemination and feedback
Community forums are becoming recognized as a strategic way to share research and validate findings. If research is about bringing social change in addition to research findings, then the challenge becomes organizing creative forums to distribute knowledge while inspiring action.
CCBR partners with community researchers, steering committees and other leaders in the community to plan and facilitate community forums.
In creating meaningful community forums, CCBR responds with the following process:
Immigrant Youth in High School - Waterloo Region Community Forum - June 2006
CCBR led the "Pathways to Success: Immigrant Youth in High School" project in Waterloo Region. This was a one-year research project involving qualitative, exploratory research with immigrant students, teachers, school boards representatives and the community at large.
At the end of the study, CCBR organized a 3 hour community forum at Kitchener City Hall bringing together over 150 community members. The program included presentations about the context of immigration in Waterloo Region and in Canada, a youth presentation of research findings, a dramatic theatre presentation by youth, a youth choir, the reading of an open letter to the Minister of Education, youth poetry, discussion, food, entertainment and much more.
By planning and implementing creative ideas that inspire, community forum planners are already involved in social action and experience strong buy-in towards research findings and recommendations. The community is mobilized by strong research and by creative deliveries, both of which require the active involvement of community members.
-written by Joanna Ochocka
Formerly Centre for Research and Education in Human Services (CREHS)