Below The Radar: Community-Engaged Research — with Stuart Poyntz & Joanna Habdank

May 12, 2020

SFU’s Community-Engaged Research Initiative was created in 2019 to lift up and strengthen the capacity of SFU’s researchers and students to engage respectfully and ethically with community members in meaningful research partnerships.

In the May 12th episode of the Below the Radar podcast, the conversation explores what CERi’s role is within SFU and the wider community and what drew the CERi team members to work there.

The relationship between researchers and community members can be delicate and complicated, but it’s one that scholars, students and non-profits are increasingly gravitating towards.

Co-directors Stuart Poyntz and Am Johal, and program manager Joanna Habdank, all have extensive experiences working in community development.

Poyntz, who is an Associate Professor at SFU’s School of Communication, has been instrumental in developing youth programs at The Cinematheque, Western Canada’s largest film institute. For him, the need to recognize, nurture and support community-engaged research is more important than ever.

“There’s not an easy fit between the way those practices have historically developed and the actual work of community-engaged researchers,” he said. One of the key facets of that work is to fundamentally change things like tenure and promotion practices and policies.

It also means taking a deep and mindful look at how to build relationships with community organizations and making sure that they are rooted in principles of equity.

“Whenever you consider having any community-engaged projects, it’s to sort of have that recognition of how do you approach it? How do you lower the barriers for non-profits to be part of that? How do you empower their voices?” said Habdank, who has spent more than a decade working in journalism and the non-profit sector.

You can listen to the podcast here: