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Wednesday, June 22 • 11:15 - 12:15
CON01.03c - The Making and Translation of a Collaborative Community - University Partnership in Rural Nova Scotia

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Marginalization has been described by Stevons and Meleis (1994) as ‘living on the periphery’ and this can, at times, also be the experience of living rural. After having worked for several years in community-university partnerships in Toronto, I am excited to have recently returned to my home community in rural Cape Breton. Since being here, I have often reflected on the potential role of a community-university partnership in supporting diverse opportunities for rural youth who are often described as facing increased levels of poverty and risk (Rhew, Hawkins & Oesterle, 2011; Pruitt, 2009).

It is critical to point out that small and rural communities are rich in relationships and do offer incredible connectivity, demonstrations of care and informal learning opportunities (often through personal networks) for youth interested in exploring their many interests and abilities beyond the classroom. These critical learning opportunities, however, are not always accessible or accessible to all. This is an equity issue for youth in rural communities, raising the question: how can we, the community, use processes of community engagement and experiential learning as opportunities to expand notions of possibility and place for youth?

As a co-designer and former project coordinator with the NOISE for Social Change project located in York University’s School of Social Work, it has been my experience that experiential and community-engaged learning improves academic achievement, increases civic participation and supports feelings of belonging within one’s community. Being back in Cape Breton, I’m very interested in exploring possibilities for a similar project that supports community-engaged and experiential learning for youth in my community. This presentation will explore the emergence of a research collaboration between faculty from Cape Breton University’s Department of Community Studies, the Inverness Education Centre Academy, the Inverness Development Association and the Inverness Early Years Group that intends to first explore youth understandings of/ interest in community engagement and then work towards building a community-based program designed to support, enhance and extend notions of possibility for youth in rural Cape Breton.


Jen Ryan

Jennifer is an Assistant Professor in Cape Breton University's Department of Community Studies. She is from Cape Breton Island and is most interested in how collaborations between universities and communities can support community development processes, contribute to youth wellbeing... Read More →

Wednesday June 22, 2016 11:15 - 12:15 EDT

Attendees (5)