Registration is now open for the second of three Living Knowledge community-university dinners and discussions, hosted by Concordia’s Sustainable Communities Partnership.
The event, to be held on March 26, is titled Cultivating Experiential Learning. It features a presentation on Concordia’s City Farm School, followed by an opportunity for attendees to discuss the importance of hands-on learning opportunities.
Allison Gonsalves, who is organizing the series with Eryn Fitzgerald from Sustainable Communities Partnership, says she expects a strong turnout for the event. “People are really interested in experiential learning and engaging in the community, but also around these issues related to urban agriculture, so I think that could be a draw as well,” she said.
The first Living Knowledge dinner and discussion, titled Building Research Partnerships, was held on February 26, and attracted approximately 125 people, far more than the organizers had expected. The evening began with a presentation of the Mapping Memories project, a storytelling collaboration between researchers from Concordia’s Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling and refugee youths living in Montreal.
Afterward, the event’s attendees split into smaller groups. “We had one person at each table talk about a project they’ve been engaged in that brings together community and university researchers as collaborators,” Gonsalves said.
Among the presenters were Professor Emeritus Bill Reimer from Concordia’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology, who spoke about his work with rural communities in Canada, and professors Natasha Blanchet Cohen and Rosemary Reilly from Concordia’s Department of Applied Human Sciences, who spoke about an environmental education research project they undertook in Montreal classrooms.
The brief presentations were followed by discussions around best practices for building and maintaining strong research relationships with community partners. Gonsalves says the room was “buzzing” during the conversations and that people proposed a lot of strong ideas to support new collaborative research initiatives.
She also says the event was a great opportunity for people with similar goals and interests to connect. “We had blank business cards on each table that people could fill in. A lot of people contacted me afterwards, to say that they made some new contacts, or they went home with some names in their back pockets.”
The second event will open with a presentation about Concordia’s City Farm School, a student-supported initiative that provides opportunities for experience-based education on urban agriculture. Gonsalves says the City Farm School is a prime example of a successful experiential learning project. “They’re learning by doing in the garden and the greenhouse, and they’re also transferring that knowledge back out into the community,” she said.
Since the City Farm School is open to the public, it’s also an important community outreach initiative, “It opens up what we consider to be a learning space to the community,” Gonsalves says.
People who are interested in attending the Living Knowledge event are advised to register as soon as possible, as there are only 100 spots available.
When: March 26, 2013
Where: Loyola Campus (7141 Sherbrooke St. W.). Event details available with registration.
• Sustainable Communities Partnership
• “Making meaningful connections” — NOW, February 5, 2013