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‘We are conducting research in a living lab’

On December 1, Concordia professors take their Beyond Disciplines series into the community
November 22, 2016
By Elisabeth Faure

What can we learn when we challenge ourselves to go beyond the walls of the university and into the community?

That’s what faculty members and community representatives will team up to discuss at the next Beyond Disciplines event, taking place Thursday, December 1, on Concordia’s Loyola Campus.

Organized by André Roy, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science (FAS), in collaboration with the Office of Community Engagement, the series examines the role of mutual learning in research.

Building bridges/Going beyond the walls will pair FAS faculty members and the community representatives they work with.

Chedly Belkhodja, professor and principal of the School of Community and Public Affairs, is hosting the event.

“Engaging with community is at the heart of what we do at the school,” he says. “It’s wonderful to see the dean has chosen this topic.”

Ann-Louise Davidson, an associate professor in Education, concurs. “The research we do is not contained inside the physical walls of the university.”

The post-event reception will be hosted by Loyola’s Hive Café Co-op, which serves a free sustainable lunch for the Loyola community every weekday. Attendees will also get to check out an art project facilitated by La Ruche d'Art NDG Art Hive.

“We are thrilled to be participating. It’s going to be a lot of fun,” says the Hive Café Co-op’s events coordinator Paige Hilderman.

The speakers include Davidson and her colleague, assistant professor Giuliana Cucinelli, as well as Chris Colley and Christine Truesdale of LEARN Quebec, a group that helps minorities in the province’s school system. Together they will discuss maker culture in an educational context.

“Going beyond the walls means engaging in discussions to see how we can build synergies through concrete activities where true collaboration can exist,” Davidson says. “We are conducting research in a living lab. We might not all be playing the same roles, but we can speak to each other.”

Eva Pomeroy, a lecturer in Applied Human Sciences, will be joined by Cédric Jamet, a partner from percolab.

Jamet co-designed and co-facilitated the Concordia ULab Social Innovation Hub, an experiment in transformative education that was launched this fall.

“There is such incredible potential in partnering with the community,” says Pomeroy. “We can continuously co-create learning that is aligned with the needs of the world outside the university in the present moment.”  

Also at the December 1 event, Anna-Liisa Aunio, an adjunct professor with the Loyola College for Diversity and Sustainability, will discuss her research on food justice sustainability with Gaëlle Janvier of Alternatives Montreal.

Monica Mulrennan, chair of the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment, will outline her work with Northern Cree populations alongside deputy grand chief Rodney Mark

Meanwhile, Varda Mann-Feder, also in Applied Human Sciences, will profile her partnership with C.A.R.E. Jeunesse, an organization that helps youth who are transitioning out of government care.

For Mann-Feder, community collaboration has been a transformative experience.

“These young people have thrived against all odds and are the embodiment of resilience. It is very humbling for me as a researcher to work alongside them.”

Beyond Disciplines: Building bridges/Going beyond the walls
takes place at 5 p.m. on Thursday, December 1, in Room 110.00 of the Centre for Structural and Functional Genomics (GE) on Concordia’s Loyola Campus (7141 Sherbrooke St. W.). It is free, open to the public and wheelchair accessible. Please RSVP:



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