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WORKSHOP SUMMARIES


Techniques in CBR (the how to's)—Round One

"Seeds, Plants, Food: Developing Community-Based Research and Resources"

Katherine Barrett  & Carolyn Raffensperger,  Science and Environmental Health Network

Research dollars of federal agencies and private corporations are increasingly being channeled into to high-tech agriculture, that can be standardized, patented and transported globally. This kind of agriculture aims at short-term solutions to narrowly defined problems and interests. However, it fails to address urgent problems at the community level, and in fact erodes local control over the kind of food we grow and eat. Using the precautionary principle as a guide, this workshop will explore how community-based research can help us to reclaim control over agricultural research and resources. We will draw on the experiences of presenters and participants to explore the role of, for example: --urban-rural connections, including community-shared agriculture programs --seed breeding clubs, and community-owned seed banks --community gardens and food share programs --public research, education and extension institutions. Workshop proceedings will be developed into a practical guidebook for communities and individuals.

"Transferring Technical Skills to CBR"

Michael Barndt (Nonprofit Center of Milwaukee and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)

The Nonprofit Center of Milwaukee Data Center offers a spectrum of GIS services to urban neighborhood organizations - using community development principles to help organizations develop their own capacity to structure their data (MIS) and analyze it (GIS). Training staff to work with complex products requires a major commitment by a small organization. One CBO is training 5 staff members; others are only consuming such services from the Nonprofit Center. When is local capacity worth it? How can we reduce this investment by organizing data systems, templates and focused support? How are recent changes in software reducing the barriers and improving the likelihood of Public Participation GIS?  Why have efforts such as Community 2020 failed to take hold? The workshop will review a set of case studies - including computer demonstrations, discuss the template and support roles of the Nonprofit Center, identify future software trends and challenge participants to talk about the barriers to technology transfer that this and other complex tools present. Formative evaluation questions will also be discussed.

"Assessment of Community-Level Use of Information Technologies: Developing Tools for Evaluating Efficacy"

Paul Baker & Andrew Ward

 The proposed roundtable would explore the rationale for developing a set of tools to effectively evaluate the implementation and use of  information/communication technologies (ICT) in various types of communities. Despite the increased interest and funding in ICT-network projects, evaluation tools to assess their community impacts are sketchy and sparsely available at best. Most of the discussions related to ICTs are still at either an abstract level in the various disciplinary journals, or have been vetted ad nauseam in various popular media, with the debate occurring at a level too superficial to warrant using as the basis for public policy decisions. So-called evaluations of these networks provide little more than anecdotal evidence of their significance for users. While these accounts do occasionally provide valuable insights, more systematic approaches using established methodologies are essential. What is needed are tools that will permit the accurate assessment of the various outcomes that result from the implementation of ICT community  network projects to be able to accurately assess the outcomes of varying types of ICT community networking projects. Such research would have utility in its contribution to the task of creating  objective tools for rational community policymaking. The outcome of the workshop will be the generation of an array of potential community level indicators from which evaluators can select in crafting assessments of the efficacy of various technology related community initiatives.

"Citizens participation in research and environmental decision making: what can we learn from Russian experience"

Maria Tysiachniouk  (Center for Independent Social Research, St. Petersburg, Russia)

This talk will present the results of a longitudinal community based research effort along the Neva River in Leningrad Oblast, Russia. In this project, sociological intervention was used through community workshops, teachers and parents in schools were trained to collect sustainability indicator data in their communities, and school children were directly involved in the data collection. The NGO The Center for Independent Social Research assisted with data analysis. Results were fed back to the community and used as a catalyst for community visioning efforts. The presentation in Atlanta will present the model and results used along the Neva River and then ask participants to share their own experiences using parallel models for data collection and involvement in sustainability planning. In this way, the case study will stimulate comparative discussion that will help address cross-cultural and cross-national differences while developing a base of understanding about the underlying process of community-based research.

"New Research Partnerships: A Dutch Experiment to Increase Community Participation and Commitment"

Elise Kamphuis (Community Research Institute for Economics, University of Groningen)

No Description

"European Experience in Community Research with EASW Methodology"

Teresa Rojo & Alain Labatut  (Pax Mediterranea s.l., Sevilla, Spain)

This workshop gives a synthesis of the results of an assessment on applications of the methodology EASW to different community issues in Europe over 1995 and 1998. EASW is a methodology launched on 1994 by the European Commission of the European Union in order to promote involvement of citizens’ associations in decision making and public choices for a more sustainable living.  Citizens get together with technician, politicians and enterprises, at the local level.  A series of plenary sessions and group discussion seminars are organized during 1 day or 2, inviting around 30 persons, representing the different social groups.  The technical team required is made of an organizer, a coordinator and 4 group EASW monitors. The workshop includes a  brief description of the EASW methodology procedures and reference of the around 70 experiences of dialogue and learning seminars carried out in countries of the European Union from 1995 and 1998.  The analysis refers specially to ten cases thoroughly studied in order to build up a took kit or guide on different approaches, modes of use, thematic selections and results obtained. The issues approached are urban ecology, job creation, information & communication technologies, sustainable technology planning, and others.

Techniques in CBR (the how to's)—Round Two

"Striving for Change: Meeting the Challenges of Community-Based Research"

Dan Allman (University of Toronto)

This session will use various techniques for discussion, task-centered analysis and  problem identification to provide participants with useful tools to meet the challenges of conducting research with communities as partners at every stage of the research process.  The session is conceived of as interactive. The elements of the research process will be explored and  participants will have the opportunity to share past challenges, successes and skills learned.  Strategies for successful community-based research projects will be detailed and case examples will be solicited and discussed.  Topics to be covered will include developing skills and capacity building, balancing research and community development, structures that ensure community participation, mechanisms for mediation and communication, and the strengthening of community/researcher relations. Participants will complete this session with tools for developing, conducting and evaluating successful community-based research projects, as well as strategies for the creation of a community-based research that is both community relevant and scientifically strong.

"Participatory Practices in Architecture"

Bryan Bell

No Description

"Learning from Corporate Partnerships"

Douglas Greenwall, Dorothy Herring, Donna Dodd, Nicholas Snider

Former President Jimmy Carter and Rosalyn Carter created the Atlanta Project (TAP), a program of The Carter Center, in 1991.  Its mission was to help Atlanta's urban communities improve their quality of life by gaining access to resources necessary to address problems that most concerned the residents.  A non-governmental, non-profit program, TAP established 20 neighborhood cluster offices in three metropolitan Atlanta counties to help residents address issues such as housing, health care, education, unemployment, substance abuse, public safety, teenage pregnancy, youth dropping out of school, etc.  TAP developed partnerships between community residents and twenty major corporations in the city. These corporations made financial contributions, but more importantly loaned personnel to work with the residents on planning and implementing community initiatives.  These partnerships produced benefits for both the businesses and residents.  They represent the largest scale business partnerships-s for community building that has been done in the U.S. to date. Participants will discuss lessons learned, the pros and cons of bringing the community and business cultures together as well as the difficulty of bridging racial, economic and work culture differences.  Examples of successful projects and sustaining progress will be discussed.

"COMMUNITY-BASED RESEARCH AT THE GRADUATE LEVEL: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES"

Katherine Barrett & Carolyn Raffensperger (Science and Environmental Health Network)  John Gerber (University of Massachusetts Extension) 

This workshop will focus on the 'next wave' of researchers: graduate and undergraduate students. We will explore the opportunities for, and unique challenges to conducting community-based (CBR) and public-interest research (PIR) as part of students' course work or dissertation. The goal is to develop tools and support systems that will encourage students with diverse backgrounds, interests and experiences to undertake this type of research. The workshop will include presentations by graduate students, advisors and members of non-government and/or community organizations who are involved in CBR or PIR. Presentations will provide starting points for group discussions centered on the following questions: --How to get started: choosing a program, developing a project, establishing contacts. --How to get funding: fellowships, grants, internships. --How to get through: selecting a advisory committee, developing a peer group. --How to get published: balancing pressures to publish with commitments to communities. --How to move on: opportunities after graduate school.

"University and Community Partnerships"

Eliud Wakwabubi  (Participatory Methodologies Forum of Kenya (PAMFORK))

Universities are believed to be sources of knowledge which is of universal applicability to the general problems facing our communities. To the contrary side, this knowledge is fished and mined from communities. Communities are seen to have no contribution to community research even though they are rich sources of the data tapped by university researchers. Communities face a variety of problems, which universities must provide solutions to. They should be integrated into community research and be seen as the original recaputulators of knowledge and not mere informants of the same. A variety of communities in Kenya have not been researched on due to their remoteness. Intellectual properties of the communities, community research documentation, linkages between universities and communities, language barriers, community/university work sharing forums, internship programmes, orientation of university education to communities and multi-sectoral poverty eradication interventions, all need to be addressed by this partnership. This will be a debating forum in which participants will be divided into different groups. They will discuss specific themes and present them to the workshop. It will be a brainstorming exercise involving critical appraisals and community research experience. This discussion will replicated by the participants so as to promote community research projects. It will be specifically relevant to third world countries where community research is in its preliminary stages and where there are poor partnerships between communities and universities.

Techniques in CBR (the how to's)—Round Three

"Learning Teams and Community Research:  The Process as Product"

Tony Hebert, Virginia Seitz, Jamey Dobbs, Kim Naujock

This two day workshop will highlight the Learning Team model, a proven approach for promoting participation in research, planning and community development.  The Learning Team approach creates an equitable dialogue across stakeholder groups while building opportunities for shared decision making. This approach also strikes a balance between participatory processes and data, such that, resident capacity is built, civic attachment promoted and civic infrastructures augmented while research issues are explored. The first day of the workshop will expose participants to the Learning Team process, providing a conceptual structure for community participation.  Day two will give them practical solutions to problems they may be facing in their own community work through Learning Team best practices from locations throughout the United States.  Through interactive media, group sharing sessions and other participatory exercises, participants will take part in an interactive dialogue with workshop presenters and fellow workshop participants.

"What Do you Really Want, and How Will You Know When You Get It? Using Community-Based Measurement to Define Research Problems & Monitor Results"

Debra  Mason

Ours is a culture of action and doing. Our rush to do something - anything - in combination with our assumptions about how the world works, interferes with our ability to identify and effectively consider the full range of options we have for creating more vital and inclusive communities. This workshop will provide hands-on experience with tools to clarify desired outcomes, incorporate the interests of diverse stakeholders, select indicators and measures of progress, and identify and prioritize information needs. Researchers, advocates and organizers, community volunteers, funders, and technical assistance providers will find the community-based measurement process a useful tool for incorporating reflection, action, information, and continuous learning into their work. Each participant will be provided with a take-home workbook with the workshop activities and explanatory material.

 

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