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Community-Based Participatory Research Strategies for Combining Creativity and Sustainability in the Arts and Beyond

Project Leads: Laurence D. Dubuc, Mary-Elizabeth Luka, Robin Sokoloski, Matthew Hoffmann, and Laura Tozer

painting on wooden frame

Funded by Mitacs, and in partnership with the Canadian arts organization Mass Culture (MC) and UTSC’s Urban Just Transitions (UJT), this research project seeks to identify, document, and assess the potential and limitations of a range of community-engaged methods to reimagine and enact better post-pandemic futures. The project looks at different participatory governance structures, arts-based and creative methods involving creative writing, gamifying, embodied practice, dialogical methods such as public interviews, listening tables, and other community-engaged methods such as datathons, crowdsourcing, and community databases. The project also aims at coproducing useful tools and resources for professionals, academics, creative workers, policymakers, etc., who wish to co-design, implement, and evaluate community-engaged projects. The research has led or will lead to the following outputs:  


  • The re-design of the community database Artifex, which contains relevant arts resources for artists, professionals, artrepreneurs, policymakers, academics, etc. (in partnership with ME Luka, Upasana Bhattacharjee, Jermaine Williams, Robin Sokoloski, Kathryn Geertsema, Gillian Cade, Shikha Chowhan, and Busra Alan) (link below).  
  • An open-access article on Mass Culture’s community-engaged and participatory governance in the academic journal Culture and Local Governance (accepted, to be published in the summer 2023) 
  • A public report on MC’s community-engaged methods and participatory governance (summer 2023) 
  • A methods’ toolkit for UJT’s community partners involved in the Just Listening project, based on the research protocol led by Elisa Privitera (summer 2023) (see below) 
  • A community-based participatory research protocol dedicated to research assistants working with UJT for training purposes (Lead: Elisa Privitera)


Recent Publications:

Luka, M. E., Nelson, R., Newman, S., & Sokoloski, R. (2023). Intro to special issue. Culture and Local Governance, 8(1), iii–vii.

Dubuc, L. D. (2023). Participatory Governance and Community-Based Research at Mass Culture. Culture and Local Governance, 8(1), 1–16.

Luka, M. E., & Caroline Klimek. (2023). Happy Accidents and Bureaucratic Debacles: New Ways of Working Towards Impact. Culture and Local Governance, 8(1), 62–82.


Useful Links : 

 Community-Based Participatory Research Strategies for Combining Creativity and Sustainability in the Arts and Beyond – Mitacs grant  

 Research Portal – Mass Culture 

 Artifex – Critical Digital Methods Institute