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vol 9 • 2011


Rhizome freirean 9. Community-University Research Partnerships

Rhizome freirean 9. Community-University Research Partnerships

Budd L. Hall, Guest Editor
Emilio Lucio-Villegas, Editor


Budd Hall is currently on study leave at the Universidad de Seville working with the Prof. Emilio Lucio Villegas and the Cátedra Paulo Freire, from the Office of Community-Based Research at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. He is also the Secretary of the Global Alliance for Community-Engaged Research.

Budd Hall shares his story, “The first time that I met Paulo Freire was in the Senate Council Chamber at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. The Maryknoll Sisters, a group of progressive catholic sisters working in education and community in Tanzania had found the money to bring Paulo to Tanzania to work with those of us at the University of Dar es Salaam and the Ministry of Education who were engaged in adult education work. It was very soon after the publication in English of Pedagogy of the Oppressed. He was 50 years old, dressed in an elegant brown suit and looked much more formal and dignified than I had imagined. He told me that he had dressed that way out of respect for the University of Dar es Salaam and the work going on in Tanzania. I was to work with Paulo for the next 30 days, taking him around the country and organizing a number of workshops and seminars.

I mention this because I want to make the point that universities, from Paulo's own time at the University of Recife, to his time at Harvard in 1969, to my own time at the University of Dar es Salaam and at the University of Victoria now, have always been strategic openings, spaces open for dialogue, and locations of important resources for progressive developments in our societies and communities. It is therefore not surprising that the Rhizome Freireano should pay attention to recent developments in Higher Education and Community or Civic Engagement. It is also a challenge to those of us working in areas of Higher Education and Engagement to be able to understand and position our work within a discourse of empowerment, liberation, anti-oppression and social change. Of course this issue raises a question about whether this is a new dance, a false waltz or an attractive fusion that deserves our engagement and critical support?”

Emilio Lucio-Villegas notes that, “One example could be The Cátedra Paulo Freire at the University of Seville. The major goal of the Cátedra is encourage research and practices about Freire’s thought. But it is not possible to do without the ties between University and Social Movements in Communities. During the academic year 2009/2010 the Cátedra has organized a keynote speaker's series called: How do I read Paulo Freire? Each keynote speaker told about a specific book by Freire and commented it in a personal way. Every time there was a keynote speaker also included were people from communities connecting with the main issue of the book that was being discussed. For example Pedagogy of the City  was linked with Environmental Social Movements; Pedagogy of Indignation with people from an Adult Education School that are in the process of recovering their own history and so forth. Almost all the events have been held outside the University in Civic Centers or Adult Education Schools”.

This special issue has articles by some of the key theoreticians and practitioners leading this most recent emergence. Budd Hall's background is linked to the development of the ideas of Participatory Research in the early 1970s where he was influenced by the ideas of Paulo Freire, Julius K Nyerere (the independence leader and former President of Tanzania), Marja Liise Swantz (a Finnish anthropologist working Tanzania) and others.

He has been interested in knowledge creation and learning from the context of social movements and civil society for 40 years. More recently, he was given the responsibility for creating a university-wide structure to support 'community-based research' at the University of Victoria. It is called the Office of Community-Based Research. His article provides some overview thoughts and then a more detailed description of the challenges facing the work in the OCBR.

Rajesh Tandon also worked with Paulo Freire during Paulo's years as the Honorary President of the International Council for Adult Education. Rajesh founded the Society for Participatory Research in Asia about 30 years ago, a civil society research and capacity-building organization based in New Delhi, India. Rajesh also serves as the Chair of the Global Alliance for Community-Engaged Research, a global network supporting excellence in community-university partnerships. His article in this special issue speaks to the challenges that face Higher Education in the Global South.

Sonali Mukherjee is an Associate Fellow with Council for Social Development, India. She has extensively worked on Gender and Development issues. She has done her doctoral research among the Bison-horn Maria of Bastar region of Chattishgarh State, India, with special emphasis on the status of women. She obtained her doctorate from the University of Delhi, Delhi, India. Two important projects she has worked on are: i) Gender and Urban Governance, sponsored by UNIFEM, New Delhi; and ii) Adverse Sex- Ratio, sponsored by ACTIONAID, New Delhi. Presently she is working on women and land rights in collaboration with Rural Development Institute, India.

Dr. Angie Hart is the Academic Director of the award winning Community University Partnership Programme at the University of Brighton. As part of that role, she is the Brighton lead for the nationally funded South East Coastal Communities Programme (www.cupp.org.uk). She is also Professor of Child, Family and Community Health in the School of Nursing and Midwifery in the Faculty of Health and Social Science. She teaches on professional courses for health and social care practitioners and undertakes participatory research into inequalities in health and social care in relation to children and families. She has adopted three children with severe mental and physical challenges. Her work in the development of Resilient Therapy is highly acclaimed. Her article in this special issue relates to the development and challenges facing the creation and continued operations of the Community-University Partnership Programme at the University of Brighton.

Dr Juliet Millican is Development Manager of Student Learning in the Community University Partnership programme at the University of Brighton in the UK. Her background is in adult and community learning in both the UK and non industrialised contexts and she has experience of project development in community education in Africa, Asia, India and Eastern Europe. Her current work is particularly concerned with the introduction of experiential and reflective learning, student community engagement and the promotion of community/university partnerships. She is also heading a new research and development programme in Cupp which aims to support other universities in resource poor countries in developing community based partnerships of their own.

Nirmala Lall currently a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Victoria in the field of Leadership Studies in Higher Education and Research Officer for the Global Alliance for Community Engaged Research, has 20 years experience working on issues of anti-racism, anti-oppression and multiculturalism in the schools of Toronto, Canada's largest and most diverse city. Also influenced by the ideas of Paulo Freire, her article looks at the challenges with assessing the impact of community-university research partnership structures.

We have invited two scholar-activist poets to share their reflections.

Nanci Lee is a poet and adult educator from Halifax who works with savings associations on issues of governance and financial management. The use of narrative and life-stories is central to her work. Nanci believes that everyone has a story. How we learn from those stories and negotiate them is a key part of our path to a more just and livable world. Her poems have been published in various journals including Antigonish Review, Fiddlehead, Contemporary Verse2, forthcoming in Free Fall and the Literary Review of Canada. In 2009 she won the CBC poetry face-off for Halifax and the Wallace Stegner Residency in Eastend, Saskatchewan. She is currently at work on her first book of poems.

Peter Levesque is the Director, Knowledge Mobilization Works, a consulting and training company based in Ottawa, Canada. Peter served as Deputy-Director of Knowledge Products and Mobilization and was responsible for the piloting and implementation of the Community-University Research Alliance Program at the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. He has also served as the Knowledge Exchange Specialist for the Provincial Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health. He sits on multiple non-profit Boards and was the founding Chair of the Knowledge Mobilization committee for the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation. An experienced speaker, moderator and facilitator, he combines his experience with an education that includes studies in Biochemistry, Sociology, Economics, Volunteer Administration, Public Administration, and Population Health at institutions in Canada and the United Kingdom.

The Communiqué from the “Big Tent” Global Dialogue on Enhancing North-South Cooperation in Community-University Engagement, which was released on September 23, 2010, has also been included. The document expresses the believe in the transformative potential of Communities - connected with Higher Education institutions – to face to the global challenges in a local level.

The Photos

Finally we have included a set of photos selected from the files of University of Victoria's Office of Community-Based Research by Charlotte Charlie. She is First Nations heritage with a long background in community organizing within on Vancouver Island and British Columbia. The photos come from various community university research partnerships linked to work at the University of Victoria.


N. 9 • 2011

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N. 9 • 2011