The University of Winnipeg



Institute of Urban Studies announces 50th anniversary speaker series

IUS Director Dr. Jino Distasio will be moderating the first discussion forum of the ‘IUS 50th Anniversary Speakers Series.’ ©UWinnipeg

Since its foundation in 1969, the Institute of Urban Studies (IUS) has been an applied research centre that’s engaged with numerous partners in community-based research initiatives. To celebrate its golden jubilee, the Institute is launching the IUS 50th Anniversary Speakers Series.

The first discussion forum — Beyond the Ivory Tower: Universities and Community Engagement — is taking place Wednesday, April 24. Doors open at 6:30 pm and the panel discussion will run from 7:00 – 8:15 pm in Leatherdale Hall.

Panelists include Dr. Paul Lawrie, associate professor of history at UWinnipeg; Shauna MacKinnon, associate professor and chair, Urban and Inner-City Studies at UWinnipeg; Betty Edel, manager of prevention at End Homelessness Winnipeg; and Christina Maes Nino, executive director of the Manitoba Non-Profit Housing Association. Discussion will be moderated by IUS director Dr. Jino Distasio.

During the past few decades, Canadian universities have more actively integrated community engagement and service-learning components into their mandates and programming. These changes reflect shifting approaches to conducting research — increasingly conducting research using participatory frameworks that emphasize the importance of conducting research for, with, and alongside community.

These shifts challenge more traditional models and perceptions of higher education. While universities continue to support curiosity-driven research, as institutions of and within our communities, universities are also gathering spaces and sites for mutual knowledge exchange.

Inner-city universities like UWinnipeg also have a unique vantage point and responsibility concerning working with communities, which differs from suburban campuses that are often more disconnected from their surrounding neighbourhoods. Universities are increasingly redefining their role based on evolving demographics and broader societal issues.

Beyond providing educational opportunities, they can also act as centres for community capacity-building and contribute to serving the public, influencing change (program, policies, and action), and transforming the well being of our communities.

In this first forum, the panel will reflect on these following questions:

  • Broadly, how has the University’s role in the production and dissemination of knowledge evolved over the past decades?
    • How has community-based research changed over time?
  • What constitutes a meaningful community-based and participatory research initiative?
  • In a more normative frame, what should the University’s role be in supporting community-engaged research, particularly as an urban, inner-city institution?
  • What impact has this had on UWinnipeg researchers and community members?

Each panelist will get up to 10 minutes to speak and the discussion will be followed by questions from the audience. There will also be a coffee reception following the discussion in Tony’s Canteen.