Presentation Abstracts

Centre for Initiatives in Education: Stories and strategies from 25 years of community engagement

Jennifer Gilbert, Centre for Initiatives in Education, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

We offer accessibility and learning support to individuals from non-traditional educational backgrounds, particularly those who experience barriers entering university for reasons of GPA, learning needs, and former educational experiences.

The Centre for Initiatives in Education, in Carleton’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, has hosted community-engaged programs for 25 years. These include: Enriched Support Program, Indigenous Enriched Support Program, Women’s and Men’s Bridging Programs, Lifelong Learning Program (formerly Learning in Retirement), Indigenous High School Mentorship Program, Carleton Nunavut BA Project, Peer Assisted Study Sessions, and Discovery University. We have also worked closely with community organizations such as Harvest House, Youville Centre, Nunavut Sivuniksavut, and Pathways to Education.

In our interactive presentation, we share insights from 25 years of engaging with diverse communities. Many have been marginalized due to race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, age, disability, or other factors. We present stories and strategies from our staff and faculty who have built and sustained these programs, including the complications and complexities involved.

Work with communities is never ‘done’ – new growth and opportunities arise out of existing partnerships. Engaging stakeholder communities is an ever-evolving endeavor, as is our understanding of the work we do. Our stories and strategies illustrate the teaching moments we have experienced as well as the many different versions of success. Our reflections capture 25 years of engaging with communities that have traditionally been marginalized from
university education.

Community Engagement and READ: Our History, Our Future

Boris Vukovic, Dean Mellway, Cathy Malcolm Edwards and Julie Caldwell, READ

The READ Initiative was inspired by a desire to come together as a community and connect across communities to make change in accessibility. This remains our driving inspiration now and in the future. We are building on the many successes of our community that have made Carleton a place with a culture of accessibility reflected in its identity and guiding values. At the same time, we do not take past achievements for granted and we recognize that persons with disabilities continue to be marginalized in our society and equitable social participation is still not our reality. But we are not alone in  recognizing accessibility as a growing priority locally, regionally, and nationally. Carleton University has championed a comprehensive Coordinated Accessibility Strategy with READ playing a key role in its development and taking on the mandate for its implementation. Provincially and nationally accessibility is rising to the top of the agendas as exemplified by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and the Accessible Canada Act. In response READ stepped up to the challenge at the national level to create the Canadian Accessibility Network with our allies to make a difference by collaborating across disciplines and sectors.

In the proposed session, members of the READ team will discuss our experience and strategies in advancing accessibility through community engagement. We will first reflect on our history and community engagement as our foundational focus and success. We will then illustrate our work through an overview of our work with internal and external communities through the Coordinated Accessibility Strategy (CAS) and the Canadian Accessibility Network (CAN). To celebrate the launch of the Centre for Community Engagement, we will tell the story of READ as founded in the commitment to engage with and across communities for the society that is more accessible and inclusive for all.

Interdisciplinary Community Engagement

Troy Anderson and Stephen Field
Sprott School of Business and School of Industrial Design, Faculty of Engineering and Design

This presentation will use two (of many) community projects that Carleton students have worked on to illustrate successful community partnerships. The projects were developed in the context of an interdisciplinary framework that Business and Industrial Design have partnered in since 2014 (Longido, Tanzania for eight years and Mayo, YT, for two years) . This will include a 1.5 minute video of a charcoal making kiln in Tanzania, and a 2-minute APTN report on a mural project in Mayo that was executed this year along with a photo or two.

We will emphasize the necessity of finding champions in the partner community, and the crucial nature of community co-creation and co-design to ensure a sense of ownership. We will speak of the advantages of interdisciplinarity as a way to broaden the scope of possibilities and render a proposed partnership more attractive. We will talk about the importance of both internal and external partners being committed to the interdisciplinary aspect of any project to avoid problems ranging from suboptimal performance to project meltdown. We will mention our use of the VR environment to compensate for constraints imposed by COVID, enabling geographically distributed teams to work together in the same space in real time. We will touch on usefulness of extended field trips as a way for students to connect with the community. Finally we will speak of how it absolutely critical for both faculty and students to have a high tolerance for ambiguity, maintaining the ability to remain flexible in order to adapt to changing conditions or unexpected events in the community.

Research in non-ocularcentric narratives and the Canadian Council of the Blind

Carla Ayukawa, School of Industrial Design, Faculty of Engineering and Design

This talk presents my experience with the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB) in conducting research on how to improve access to museum exhibits for visitors with vision loss through inclusive narratives. People with vision loss are underserved in their access to museums. This could be a result of sensory, experiential, and social barriers as well as institutional practices that do not sufficiently consider non-ocularcentric inclusive narratives at the outset of the exhibition development process. The participation of individuals with congenital and early-onset blindness can lead to multiple and diverse narratives that can provide evidence to challenge previous ocularcentric narratives.

An important part of my research involved the consultation and participation of individuals with congenital and early onset blindness, which was enabled through the CCB. My presentation touches on three areas: why this community’s participation was important; how the CCB assisted me; and what form did the research design take to facilitate participation. Beginning with statement on how ocularcentric knowledge has led to barriers in access to individuals with vision loss, my talk shares evidence of the value of non-ocularcentric insights and life experiences of individuals with congenital and early-onset blindness. It then describes how the CCB contributed to my research design and how the study’s methods and tools were designed with the community’s distinct sensory abilities in mind. The presentation also includes the unexpected challenges and opportunities that arose as a result of the pandemic. Finally, I touch on the findings that emerged and support collaboration with people with congenital and early-onset blindness in exhibit development.