Recognizing and Negotiating Community/Researcher Relations

November 12, 2020

The relationship between university-based researcher and community-based researcher is vital to community-engaged research. It is sometimes a complicated one, raising issues of privilege, commitment and unrecognized bias. It can also be a space of friendship, solidarity and mutual learning. Join us for the dialogue with two community-based researchers and two CERi Graduate Fellows exploring this relationship.

This panel is hosted by Dr. Nick Blomley and SFU’s Community-Engaged Research Initiative (CERi), and moderated by Jackie Wong.


Jackie Wong

Jackie Wong is the Community Strategic Initiatives Associate of SFU's Community-Engaged Research Initiative (CERi).


Nick Blomley
Professor, Department of Geography, SFU & Researcher-in-Residence, Community-Engaged Research Initiative (CERi), SFU

Nick Blomley is a Professor of Geography at SFU and a CERi Researcher-in-Residence. He has a long standing interest in legal geography, particularly in relation to property. Dr. Blomley is interested in the spatiality of legal practices and relationships, and the worldmaking consequences of such legal geographies. Much of his empirical work concerns the often oppressive effects of legal relations on marginalized and oppressed people. Recent and current research projects, often in collaboration with others, include a) the analysis of ‘rental precarity’ in Greater Vancouver; b) the study of court-imposed ‘red zones’ imposed on street-involved people and protestors in Montreal and Vancouver; c) the dispossession of Japanese-Canadians in the 1940s; d) a community-based project creating tenant-led research into precarious housing conditions in Vancouver’s most vulnerable population and e) the governance of poor people’s possessions by private and public regulators in Canadian cities.


Marina Chávez
MA Student, Department of Geography, SFU

Marina Chávez is a Master’s student in the Department of Geography. She is focused on understanding the law’s role in the regulation and social construction of poverty. Marina has worked in research and activism on homeless encampment enforcement in California and uses her experiences to continue to advocate and collaborate with activists seeking housing and economic justice. Currently, she is working on a project related to the regulation of SRO Tenant possessions in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Her goal is to pursue transparent peer-based research that centers participant voices.

Tom deGrey
Tenant Researcher, Downtown East Side SRO Collaborative & Co-Researcher, Right to Remain

Tom deGrey works as a Tenant Researcher with the DTES SRO Collaborative and, too, is a co-researcher with the Right to Remain. Both of these roles involve building relationships with tenants through interviewing, haiku-making, and day-to-day activities to help tenants advocate for improved conditions in their homes. Responsibilities with the Right to Remain have also involved conducting archival research with students in order to uncover the historic importance and abdication of public health in ensuring the habitability of SRO hotels. As a tenant advocate and researcher, Tom has both academic and lived experience of the complications which arise when vulnerable tenants attempt to assert their legal rights against powerful and resourceful landlords. He has experience of the effects of inadequate legal protection and bylaw enforcement on low-income tenants in his neighbourhood, as well as the roles of advocates, politicians, and researchers in supporting tenants’ rights.

Connie Long

Connie Marie Long is an advocate for vulnerable communities with lived experiences who does work in Chilliwack and Abbotsford. She has experience with addiction and she is passionate about what she does.

Claire Shapton
MA Student, Department of Geography, SFU

Claire Shapton is a second year Master’s student in the Geography Department within the Faculty of Environment at Simon Fraser University. She is interested in the intersections of housing justice, feminist ecologies, animals, and governance. She began to explore community engaged research as an intern and researcher with an anti-displacement movement in her home of Portland, Oregon. Her current academic work analyzes the logics of property and multi-species housing precarity in Abbotsford, BC with the activist group the Drug War Survivors.