Below The Radar: Social Transformation — with Tara Mahoney

May 19, 2020

In the May 19th episode of the Below the Radar podcast, host Am Johal is joined by Dr. Tara Mahoney, Research and Engagement Coordinator at CERi. Their conversation explores Mahoney's work at CERi, involvement in emerging forms of participatory political engagement in Canada and a look at the reasons why Millennials doubt the efficacy of government.

Mahoney has a PhD from SFU School of Communication, where her research lens has focused on the intersection between neoliberalism and emerging forms of participatory political culture in Canada.

Her findings reflect the barriers limiting the Millennial generation from participating in democratic institutions. Alongside more common socio-economic barriers, she noticed that there is also a deep mistrust of the capacity of government to effectively act on issues that impact them.

Cynicism is felt deeply by Millennials, she says. "[They] believe in the role of government in an activist government, so government should be taking care of people in various ways, but then they don’t actually believe that government is capable of doing that."

Mahoney explains how alternative forms of political engagement might be more satisfying and offer the younger generation greater feelings of self-actualization than traditional institutions.

She was drawn to work at CERi because it focuses on connecting the capacity and resources of public institutions, like universities, to communities and organizations who are doing the frontline work of social sustainability and social innovation.

Mahoney describes her role as the "match-maker", pairing researchers and students with community organizations to perform community-engaged research and achieve their collaborative goals.

In addition to her role at CERi, Mahoney is an instructor with the Civic Innovation Change Lab at RADIUS SFU, a research fellow in climate change communications at the David Suzuki Foundation and the creative director of Gen Why Media.

You can listen to the podcast here:

Meet Tara Mahoney, Research and Engagement Coordinator