Issue #1: Opportunities and Barriers to Community Engagement
Participants: Isabell H., Anne lronside, Andrew B., Erlene W., Murray Journeay, Penny S.
Barriers: Perception of ‘unsafe’ environments; lack of skill; capacity; fear of engaging; lack of trust; misconceptions; attitudes and assumptions; lack of understanding and appreciation of roles; TIME; council isn’t aware of what is being discussed.
Opportunities: Give people ‘space’; facilitated process (eg. asset mapping –women’s resource center and places – people who are not ‘like minded’); skill building/capacity; provide a variety of messages and ways to engage; create more ways for Council and Community to connect.
Issue #2: How Best Do We Tell/Hear?/Understand? Our Many Stories Of Past and Future and Use Them?
Participants: Steve Lloyd & Vince Verlaan
1. Meaning and Use of “Story” Story is who we are. How do we tell, hear, etc. when we have no common story? Who writes our story and how to challenge “mother culture” that is atomizing, hierarchical, competitive, disempowering? Awareness of that story/filter is key first step. Take assets approach to story telling with university & community (talents). Charges the dynamic, flow and dialogue starts.
2. How stories can change the Univ/Comm? Dynamic? i. facilitate the telling of stories respectfully ii. sharing allows connection, honeycombing, hope iii. potential for mutuality/affiliation increases by listening iv. new story of u/c engagement can emerge v. “learning together” links community goal and university function
3. How to Use Stories To Increase Movement & Replication? i. generate attention ii. generate interest iii. “door-opening” experience iv. build on joy/interest v. generate/use more stories vi. spiral effect/quickening
“No One Can Live With the Terrible Knowledge That S/he Is Not Needed”.
Issue #3: Balance between Individual and Community In Meeting Needs
Participants: Bob Woollard; Bob, Randi, Heather, Geoff
Summary: Insulation (wealth and socio-economic structures) from our Interdependency. Instinct to be altruistic - presumption of altruism gets challenged by events that cause pain/fear and reinforce the cultural assumption that the world is a “dangerous place ” (contributes to individualistic approach).
Pain, and the understanding of its meaning, is needed for growth. “Groups” succeed in competition because they cooperate within the team. Team becomes redefined to embrace existing solitudes. Time not given to understanding/redefining our roles. We need to define clear, focused and achievable goals and link them to the larger context at a scale that is relevant.
Issue #4: Grounding Global Citizenship
Participants: Anne Ironside, Bob Woollard, Andrew, Randi Kruse, Steve Lloyd
Summary: Nesting of different scales of citizenship (like Russian dolls). Global as ultimate identification. Conflicts between levels of citizenship. G. C. of UBC will involve continual transformation of UBC. This transformation will only occur as UBC engages in action with its local and global communities. UBC needs to recognize itself as a community.
Issue #5: Taking Action, Sharing Control, Mutual Benefit “Cycle of Change”
Participants: Vince Verlaan, Erlene, Penny, Sharon, Heather
Summary: Universities/Institutions? can’t manufacture care – the heart of care is community and comes from community. Foundational principles need to be defined. Using body metaphor – pelvis/legs = power base. Heart/arms = people/community. Who see a need and feel connected. Healthy wholeness, connected, continuous, increase receptor cells at University level. Actions: 1. Case studies that help plan future – ethnic seniors & Bowen Island. 2. Take a self help group approach to our group 3. Foundational principles; cases that prove value; identify barriers; plan actions to cross barriers. Leverage points and connections to change system. Cycle of change: policy –> projects –> resources.
Issue #6: Mechanism for Linking Community Organizations Needing “Research”/Evaluation? (etc.) Consultants with Researchers (both University and Independent)
Participants: Geoff, Erlene, Bob, Sharon, Heather
Summary: Community of scholars (university) should have sufficient capacity to respond (reach out) to address community needs and to embrace independent researchers.
For partnerships to work-need to focus on community strengths – build on these to move toward addressing gaps. Validation of research – encourages extractive research because of peer-review process. Is the university “socially responsible” to treat university-derived research results in service to the community rather than itself. Link university activities with c-needs – should be a mandate (not about slogans) – also a rule for communications professionals to translate this academic knowledge to relevant professions and communities (trust building).
“University” can be very intimidating to community. Cultural shifts necessary to promote (community) relevant education and research. Good intentions are not enough – good academics need to be good citizens.
Issue #7: How Do We Move Beyond Rhetoric Into Meaningful Dialogue Giving Voice to Community and Academy?
Participants: Randi, Anne, Penny, Steve, Vince, Andrew
Summary: Interested people from community and academia engage together in a creative process. Structure – principles and basic structure defined by community and university. Not specific “how to” = just guidelines to build from. Reflection is important to process and to change end point as necessary (allows partnership to flourish) can identify what/who’s missing. Multiple ways and directions for partnerships to be initiated – unclear mechanism (need sandbox to be built = Robson Square?)
Issue de jour = immediacy and passion (leads to global citizenship). Meaningful community engagement = equal voice in defining, acting and evaluating. Role for science that informs process (traditional science). Need to identify resources and limitations of community and academy (i.e. Universities perceived as having rich resources: skills, cash, networking, expertise, new ideas, capacity for on-going project maintenance but this may not always be the case).
Randi · Will write up poster boards. · Globalchicago.net/ashoka – her request: keep dialogue going and share in the responsibility for the outcomes of this work.
Vince · Will email info about SFU dialogue speaker series to the group
Bob · Admin at UBC will be involved in Vietnam project. · Bob will report back to group.
Anne · Robson Square a crossroads place – she will share contacts she has there · Link with this group and Global Citizenship and connect with Continuing Studies
Heather · Through SCARP course – event scheduled to bring UBC, admin rep and those working on Global Ed – and university links to community
Ideas: 1. Have meeting to generate “and, and” and identify leverage points 2. Create website – links to community engagement, tools, etc. as a repository
To Do: Write cheat sheet – How To Define Community Engagement? Community voice has role to play in creating.
Post questions on wiki that you generate after today – these questions can form next session!
Foundational Principles; cases that prove value; identify barriers; plan actions to cross barriers.
Future: Publish a journal – Canadian Journal of Community/University? Engagement Vince – annotated bibliography can link to website.
NOTES FROM INAUGRAL MEETING OF the UBC COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT WORKING GROUP
i think it's the practice of building strong civic society...universities and communities together...and this is a group likely to play well in the sandbox together so the practice is sure to be fun! p
note... i've started calling what we used to call 'working groups, committees, task forces etc., all of them, "practice groups" ...not because they'll all practice open space, where i used it first, but more because it feels better, though i guess it does beg the question 'what are we going to practice, and how, in this group?'... feels more powerful, more playful and more together... my two cents in the midst of a whole bunch of other people practicing... MH
First of all, we discussed the fact that the kind of community engagement (CE) we were talking about was in the context of university-community relations. In particular, we were interested in UBC’s unique role as a place where teaching, learning and research are partially informed by real worlds issues and immediate challenges. I think that we want UBC to sponsor an ethic, which says that addressing and responding to pressing social issues using democratic problem solving is our ethic. Vince talked about co-learning, appreciative inquiry, and dialogue as ideals in an action-oriented institution that balances education and advocacy. One of the things that I thought was especially interesting about this part of the conversation was that powerful and conservative departments and faculties (Medicine) can be advocates more easily than perhaps the weaker ones (Women’s Studies). We did add a bit of detail to what these community-university partnerships would have to involve including: planning tasks, conducting experiments, education, and strategizing. The broad questions that will be asked are something like what, so what, and now what?
I promised to look up University in Ruins. In this book, the author, Bill Readings suggests that the university has changed from "the primary institution of national culture in the modern nation-state" to a "bureaucratically organized and relatively autonomous consumer-oriented corporation." The idea is that education is a product, and students are consumers and it is all related to the fact the nation-state is losing power as the source of our identity. This is pretty interesting in relationship to the fact that global citizenship is being pushed here at UBC. Some have told me that the Academic Plan is currently being revisited in order to implement some of its original tenets. Readings solution is a bit like Martha P’s “educating global citizens who are politically, culturally, and socially aware. Universities; he opposes "unthinking participation in institutional-bureaucratic life." I think the point is to see what happens when “real issues” are the context for the work that is being done here, including students.
So our contribution to the truly engaged university would is to define this ideal called community engagement in terms of university-community relations meant. In Vince's words, we want to talk about a place where teaching, learning and research are enterprises completely informed by community engagement and democratic problem solving. This partnership between the university and the outside world will have to involve collaboratively planning, experimenting, educating, and strategizing. To get there we are going to ask broad questions like:
What is community engagement?
To what problem is community engagement the answer?
What are the conditions under which community engagement takes place?
What are research and learning objectives of the university that CE serves?
In terms of desired outcomes:
1. We need to lay out:
fundamentals of what it is criteria for what it is at its best organizing principles learning benefits changes sought outcomes we seek 2. The creation of a cheat sheet or report card of sorts that will be used to evaluate UBC's progress in that direction.
3. Develop a think piece - which will ask key questions that we will have people write to
4. Development of an educational module (provides example etc. that can be taken up into a given course.
In the mean time, we will do everything in our power to help UBC realize community engagement.
borrowing from Randi's parting words (if you don't mind me quoting you Randi) it felt like we were part of a revolution today! this is a most interesting group of people to be working with and i think the opportunities and challenges will make it that much more rewarding, and timely.
as you say chris, it's all about invitation into each others worlds. here are some further thoughts on co-learning and reflection from CRCP at MIT:
CRCP is organized on the belief that this process begins when individuals and groups are able to use reflection to bring conscious attention to the examination and improvement of their practice as community and social justice leaders. Reflective practice permeates all aspects of the work by CRCP. Reflection enables community practitioners1 capacity to respond to complexity in deeply introspective ways, by discouraging impulsive theory building. It seeks to change mindsets, and give practitioners tools for trans-formation, in the areas of technology, economic development, and community empowerment. CRCP believes that for struggling communities to create wealth and empowerment in the new information and knowledge economy, it is of paramount importance for the tacit knowledge embedded in the practice of community leaders and residents to be articulated, scrutinized, shared and elaborated.
Second is the development of technologies and media that support the capture, storage, integration, sharing, and management of the knowledge that resides in communities. The growing complexity and diversity of urban communities presents a multitude of ways of knowing. From narrative accounts to storytelling, to visual representations to audio recordings of conversations and meetings, the task of capturing and integrating multiple ways of knowing is increasingly complex. In this digital age, sophisticated yet simple to operate digital tools offer new opportunities for individuals and groups to capture their own stories, narrative accounts, and knowledge. Developing tools for supporting collective story making, narrative sharing across language and literacy barriers, and tools for coding, archiving and managing the knowledge that resides in everyday actions has yet to be tackled. It is precisely this range of tools that will enable the disenfranchised to form their own knowledge capital.
Core to addressing these issues is the need for a research and development orientation to the work, so that every occasion of doing this work with communities is an opportunity for constructing knowledge out of experience. The knowledge that we build through our learning partnerships with communities will itself be captured, scrutinized, and shared with students, faculty, and the wider field of social justice and urban planning practitioners. The tools that are developed to further both our reflective practice and knowledge-capture work will be evaluated, refined, and brought to varying contexts. Because of the Center1s mission to bring new tools and practicies to communities, as well as to bring the knowledge of communities to bear on the preparation of urban planning students, research and inquiry are at the core of our model for understanding and advancing our work.
Through our R&D orientation and long-term community partnership strategy, CRCP is uniquely positioned to pursue a number of goals related to the education of future leadersin the field of urban planning, in addition to advancing the field of community building, through advancing systematic research, of the use of reflection to build understanding of community practice and articulate tacit knowledge, as well as extending social inquiry methods that build learning relationships among diverse community, foundation and academic constituents.
Thank you for an interesting and in many ways inspiring day on Bowen Island - with the promise of more. Here are four comments, the first on Naming, the second on the Open Space process, and two on the Content of specific sessions, followed by a couple of ideas/resources that may be of some interest/assistance (forgive me if you've considered these already): "Complementary Holism" as an epistemological tool (via Albert et al, Liberating Theory); and "Appreciative Inquiry" as a possible research method. I'll be interested to hear what anyone thinks. Lovely to have met you all, and hope to again before long - thanks to Sharon for the invitation to "Ethical and Philosophical Issues in Community-Based Research" sessions coming up.
Comment 1. As a latecomer to the group I hope you won't be offended at this, but "Community Engagement Working Group" sounds to me like it was determined on high. What would the community name such a group? Probably something (to leave out the wisecracks) Institutional/Academic?/Professional? EWG.) If the name were determined by (non-academic) community activists with university-based activists and researchers, would Participatory/Creative?/Action?/Practice? EWG come out of it?
2. Open Space. Enjoyed the process, liked the tone, have been part of equally (or more) effective facilitated workshops previously (e.g. in the "Tin Wis (labour/First? Nations/ environmental) Coalition" in the early '90s, processes for which we adapted from a variety of sources and previous experiences), but understand that it's useful to share a name for a specific process with other entities. That said I'm a tad concerned about the content produced from the workshops - the 'knowledge' we claim to share (in print) and thus the 'history' of what we have done, with its implications for the future. This may be no fault of the Open Space process per se, and it certainly is NOT the fault of those trying to make sense of a pile of abbreviated notes (hi Randi!), but too much of importance got left out. I'm going to mention two critical items (in my humble estimation) in a second. First I have to add: 2 b) You all work too hard. Consider this, from another part of the Ashoka wiki: "CRCP is organized on the belief that this process begins when individuals and groups are able to use REFLECTION to bring CONSCIOUS ATTENTION to the EXAMINATION and improvement of their practice as community and social justice leaders. REFLECTIVE PRACTICE permeates all aspects of the work by CRCP. REFLECTION enables community practitioners1 capacity to RESPOND TO COMPLEXITY in DEEPLY INTROSPECTIVE ways, by DISCOURAGING IMPULSIVE theory building. It seeks to CHANGE MINDSETS, and give practitioners TOOLS FOR TRANS-FORMATION, in the areas of technology, economic development, and community empowerment. CRCP believes that for struggling communities to create wealth and empowerment in the new information and knowledge economy, it is of paramount importance for the TACIT KNOWLEDGE IMBEDDED in the practice of community leaders and residents to be ARTICULATED, SCRUTINIZED, SHARED, AND ELABORATED." (emphases added)
My return to academia after a decade's absence this fall finds that, just as in public schools, academics are working their lives away at a pace that leaves almost as little time for the emphasized things above, as have teachers (though you folks still have it pretty cushy, that is most of you wouldn't last a minute in a secondary classroom). (Who says I don't know how to provoke a response?) (It's about time you all start standing up for public education, unless you don't want it anymore.) How can the ideas put forth by the CRCP above, and our own intention to change the world starting where we live, come to fruition if the method - to put it bluntly Thinking, emphasizing Reflection - is left out? Put another way, finding ways to work less and reflect more might be part of the solution to EVERYTHING, the whole cultural metamorphosis; perhaps something we should Reflect upon...
3) From Session 2, "Story." Vince joined me in sharing ideas - the reason I put it up for discussion is from a perspective that Story is central to who we are. It is a way of perceiving that could be critically important to engagement and action, here and globally. James Hillman helped to describe this in We've Had a Hundred Years of Therapy and the World's Getting Worse: people can more effectively be (self-) perceived in a social sense as a collection of stories. "Post-modern" approaches to therapy, like Hillman's, suggest that people think about themselves not as broken, needing an expert to 'fix' them (medical model, often too merely attending to symptoms), but as a layered collection of stories. An example lay in the application of a resonant method with street-based youth down Abbotsford way: the first question of each potential new student (for a 'store-front' school) was "What are your Gifts?" From that (to most) shocking beginning, new stories began to be written. One boy, whose parents were still somewhat involved and who came to visit in tears, afraid that his third suicide attempt would be successful, told me a couple of years later in a chance meeting that his life had been changed by it all, outlining his plans after having been accepted to college. To his everlasting credit my mother was with me at the time. I mention all of this because it works, to perceive the self differently, as a story or set of descriptions, many created by others and recreated/adopted/assimilated/adapted and re-capitulated by the self, a story which can be regarded as such and thus open to revision. We are not broken. We can use guidance and support, but do not require repairs beyond our ken. We do not have to accept all of the old story. We have the capacity, too, whatever versions we dicker over, to write the following chapters ourselves, and together. Here, in the genesis of the future, starting from a healing of the so-called (pun intended) past, in the taking control of 'who we are,' is why Story matters. We had a great chat starting from this key point, Vince and I; that's part of the story too.
4) Global Citizenship. Quick clarification (I swear). Bob and others insisted (at least, that's my Story) on thinking of citizenship in terms of "levels" which can come into "conflict," which is what our group reported. I still feel (in part from having done some research on the topic a decade ago) that we carry many kinds of citizenships at all times, and that imagery of citizenship implying a hierarchy of any kind, and conflict, is not as helpful to us. I mentioned sharing some notions around this with Peter Boothroyd, using the example of buying gas for my car to get to work, in which situation many kinds of citizenship come into play; as they do buying a coffee; but also in less-or-other-than- commercial exchange situations, such as which radio station to listen to. The reason to talk about this, I think, and to avoid hierarchy as much as possible as well as positivist thinking about types, is to adopt a more "dialectical" (as Russian culture uses it) or even "phenomenological" stance, and thereby to be kind to people out there as well as ourselves. I may have a permaculture garden in the backyard, used by a local gardener to feed mentally challenged people in a cafe down the street, but I still buy that gas for my car when I 'need' it. I evade accomplishing things the world needs, or the community could use, watching a World Cup rugby game at the old clubhouse instead of attending a meeting. My citizenships are in play much of the time (all of it, if we were to be highly analytical), taking precedence in the moment as the situation perceived and determined solely by me allows, negotiated as I go; and I (and you) must be allowed to be comfortable with that. I do the best I can, under the circumstances. Citizenship is by no means an either/or choice, even in the momentary choosing, from a perspective kinder to 'being.' A local elder, through a First Nations friend, passed this along. Everybody is trying to feel good; some choose things that don't work too well, or don't work anymore. Everything is 'medicine,' good bad and indifferent. (I hope I've translated that well enough.) If we see our world, and our 'citizenships' in it, as forms of 'medicine,'we can make choices that are good for us and others without the anxiety and self-flagellation of winning and losing from moment to moment. We must be allowed to live with and in our various citizenships, play with them, and participate in transformation, the cultural-and-more metamorphosis that we are all praying for and working very hard toward. In the end I want my neighbour to plant a permaculture garden too (Farm The City!), but not to feel badly/disengaged/in opposition because of other choices she makes that aren't so "nice to the fishies." I am interested in my community feeling stronger, more capable of writing the Story of its past and future, able in that Story-writing to work with our differences, including the differences we all carry alone within ourselves, creating the future from reality, who we are right now.
thanks so much to anyone taking the time (ahem) to read all of this...
here are the resources I promised...
On the use of story for community development http://www.elearningpost.com/features/archives/001009.asp
"Appreciative Inquiry" http://connection.cwru.edu/ai/ http://www.appreciativeinquiry.ca/
"Complementary Holism" Liberating Theory - By Michael Albert, Noam Chomsky, Holly Sklar, Robin Hahnel, Lydia Sargent (sorry for the poor reference, I'll improve it if anyone's interested)
Hello again. I've posted this here in case anyone else in CEWG is interested. The cost of the 3.5 hour on-line conference is 33 Euros, which today is $50.86 Canadian. I've signed up, and will of course be happy to share the proceedings if desired.
OpenSpace?-Online® Conference ===========================You are also warmly invited to take part in our OpenSpace?-Online® Conference for Change Facilitators Worldwide, November, 8th, 2003 in real-time at your computer. This event comes very soon - please register now! http://www.openspace-online.com/oso_en/data/to_oso.php?l=6f4922f45568161a8cdf4ad2299f6d23