Brock co-sponsored workshop to highlight community-led research governance

Often the rules of research are set by institutions, associations or other bodies, typically followed through by academic researchers seeking community collaboration with pre-formatted research plans.

But an upcoming two-day virtual workshop is aiming to turn all of that on its head.

Co-sponsored by Brock University, McGill University and others, the Community-led Research Governance: Envisioning the Future Through Dialogue workshop will highlight how communities are taking an active, empowered role in overseeing the research process.

“We’re interested in what we call ‘community governance’ of research, which is fundamentally different from the more common notion of ‘community engagement’ within research,” says Scott Neufeld, Community Psychology lecturer in Brock’s Department of Psychology and one of the workshop’s panel speakers and co-organizers.

Held Thursday, April 7 and Friday, April 8, the free online workshop will feature “innovative and radical strategies” that communities have developed to govern research, says Neufeld.

Two panels will take place Thursday, April 7:

  • Indigenous Research Governance, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., will feature presentations on the Kahnawake Schools Diabetes Prevention Project Code of Ethics, the Manitoulin Anishinaabek Research Review Committee and Guidelines for Research with Aboriginal Women.
  • Urban Community-Led Research Governance, from 2 to 4 p.m., will include the Jane Finch Community Research Partnership, Research 101: A Manifesto for Ethical Research in the Downtown Eastside, and Research 102: Meaningful Activist Research in Treaty 6 Territory.

On Friday, April 8, a virtual discussion will take place from noon to 2 p.m. on Community Involvement in Research Governance in Canada.

Neufeld says the two-day workshop is particularly relevant for students and faculty interested in community-based research, communities and individuals who may collaborate with university researchers, and members of the institutional research ethics community.

“The goal is to give a sense of what is possible when communities take control of the research and ethics review process and how empowering community research governance makes for more respectful relations and ultimately better research,” he says.

Neufeld is part of a McGill University-led research team funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada that is investigating how communities are taking an active, empowered role in the research process.

“The project fundamentally involves questioning assumptions regarding expertise,” says Phoebe Friesen, Assistant Professor in the Biomedical Ethics Unit and Department of Social Studies of Medicine at McGill University, who is leading the study.

The workshop is part of the team’s research project and knowledge mobilization strategy.

“The panels will showcase the existing strengths and accomplishments of communities, and the dialogue the next day will encourage participants to consider what they can do to give communities more agency in research governance,” says Friesen.

To learn more or sign up for the Community-led Research Governance workshop, visit the event’s online registration page.

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