What's Next (Fall 2010)
by D'Arcy Martin
APCOL is now half way through the second year of our project and the multiple dimensions of anti-poverty work are becoming increasingly clear. Our two initial case studies are now completed and we have begun writing them up. Our new case study is beginning in St. Jamestown, downtown east Toronto, a partnership with the pre-apprenticeship program of George Brown College, which will place decent work in the foreground.
If these case studies are foreground, what is the background? In a word, survey.
Our goal is to engage peer researchers from our initial case studies, together with graduate students, to interview fifty people in eight neighbourhoods. The interviewees are a mix of people currently active on community issues, people who used to be active but aren’t any longer, and people who have never been active.
For the first group, we want to track the informal learning they experience by being engaged, the skills and knowledge that they have developed which are rarely recognized and built upon in any systematic way. For the second group, we want to identify the reasons why people step back from community involvement, the patterns which make this activity difficult to sustain. For the third group, we want to consider the factors that discourage citizen engagement.
What tangible results can we see so far? People in both of our initial case studies have evaluated the APCOL project as having contributed to their work, deepened their commitment and sharpened their skills.
WEB SITE-- To showcase the people and their ideas, we have now put up the web site, www.apcol.ca We hope it will become a forum for discussion, as well as a record of activities and ideas.
CONFERENCE-- Already, community researchers have begun presenting reflections on their learning at conferences, in both policy and academic settings. We hope to expand this outreach in the coming year. In June 2011, we plan to draw together the people with whom we have worked in an internal conference.
D’Arcy Martin is an activist educator and coordinator of the APCOL project.