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Concordia’s SHIFT Centre for Social Transformation celebrates its impact through relationship-building

‘Being part of this ecosystem drives us to navigate challenges with resilience and innovation’
June 26, 2024

The SHIFT Centre for Social Transformation at Concordia recently launched its impact evaluation with an event that celebrated how relationships drive social change.

It marked the culmination of an 18-month evaluation process, showcasing the transformative power of connections within the SHIFT community as it works to create a more just and inclusive city.

Named “We are always becoming,” the SHIFT impact evaluation illustrates the perpetual process of learning, growing and working across differences that is essential for social transformation. The evaluation reflected SHIFT’s innovative governance processes, which have inspired strong relationships built on trust among partners, governance committee members, students, staff and other members of the centre’s community.

Writer, performer and cultural worker Kai Cheng Thom guided participants through the evening’s event, emphasizing the importance of joy and celebration in activism. She encouraged the community to embrace the transformative power of love and compassion to sustain their work, as feminist theorist bell hooks invites us to do.

Since 2019, SHIFT has hosted more than 150 public events, supported 270-plus paid internships for students, collaborated with 54 community organizations and facilitated more than 10 community-led research projects.

The stories behind these numbers were brought to life at the event and made SHIFT’s impacts visible.

Participants explored four immersive rooms presenting “the Archetypes,” an experiential way of understanding SHIFT’s evaluation data and findings. By entering a room, participants were immersed in the story of a typical “member” of SHIFT’s community, based on the many experiences gathered during the evaluation process.

‘A tool for education around impact’

Samanta Nyinawumuntu, founder and executive director of the Black Healing Centre, is an active member of the SHIFT community. She explains its impact: “Being part of SHIFT’s ecosystem has instilled confidence and a deep sense of motivation within our team, driving us to navigate challenges with resilience and innovation.” 

Aisha Sommerfield is a SHIFT intern who worked with Hamidou Horticulture, an organization that grows hard-to-source ethnic and ancient seeds and produce. She says her relationship with the centre opened new doors.

“SHIFT provided me with a safe, open environment to learn new skills,” Sommerfield notes. “Now I am deciding between two colleges to pursue my studies in horticulture.”

The evaluation revealed both affirmations and areas for growth, reflecting SHIFT’s commitment to continuous evolution. Richenda Grazette, SHIFT’s funding and evaluation coordinator, highlighted the significance of participants’ ongoing feedback in creating the evaluation process.

“What we saw and learned went beyond just our findings: we used the evaluation as a tool for education around impact, for convening different members of our ecosystem to make new relationships and for spreading SHIFT’s values of community leadership,” Grazette says.

The impact evaluation reaffirms that SHIFT’s mission of social transformation is a long game, and the relationships members build and sustain are key to supporting social transformation and amplifying the centre’s impact within its community and beyond.

Take a closer look at “
We are always becoming,” the impact evaluation of Concordia’s SHIFT Centre for Social Transformation.


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