Partnering for Change: Community-based Solutions for Aboriginal and Inner-City Poverty  (2012-2020)

This project examined how promising community-based solutions can be supported at the institutional and policy levels to resolve deepening poverty-related problems in Manitoba’s inner-city and Aboriginal communities.

In 2 previous SSHRC-funded projects, we deepened our understanding of these issues and identified effective solutions and various limits to transformational change. We are now investigating the impact of promising community-based solutions—such as innovative housing, education, employment and safety strategies, and personal and community empowerment—to determine how they can be expanded and made sustainable at the institutional and policy levels. We will build upon our past research to find solutions that are sustainable and transformational in Aboriginal and inner-city communities.

Our work is organized around 4 integrated themes derived from our previous work: justice, safety and security; housing; neighbourhood revitalization; capacity building, education and employment; and community economic development.

We employ the same multiple-method research approach used successfully in 2 previous SSHRC projects—qualitative methods, especially community-based participatory research, and quantitative analysis. We also aim to move to a deeper level of inquiry by: using longitudinal analysis to map personal lives within a wider web of familial, community and societal relationships; documenting the multiple, conflicting interventions made by state systems (e.g., criminal justice, child welfare); and working with community and government partners to develop practical policy solutions. We will combine the skills of university researchers with strong publication records with the experiential knowledge of our community partners and the policy skills and capacities of our government partners.

While we focus on Manitoba to build on previous research and ensure an in-depth analysis, our research has broad importance. Because inner cities and Aboriginal communities everywhere face crises, our findings will interest academics, policy makers and community organizations at local, national and international levels.

Transforming Inner-city and Aboriginal Communities Project (2007-2012)

The Manitoba Research Alliance for Transforming Inner-city and Aboriginal Communities was a five-year research project dedicated to solving the complex problems of poverty and social exclusion in Manitoba’s inner-city and Aboriginal communities.

The Alliance’s broad goal is to produce original work that is rooted in the community experience and that is accountable to the community.  We want to:

  • Build local capacity
  • Produce concrete deliverables for community organizations
  • Engage and impact policy
  • Contribute to a body of theory and knowledge that will help other communities to replicate the transformative experience.

The Alliance is made up of academic researchers from the Universities of Manitoba and Winnipeg, government policy makers and community practitioners connected to Manitoba’s vibrant community-based organizations.  The Manitoba branch of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – a community-based research institute – takes administrative control of the project.

Community Economic Development in the New Economy Project

Our first SSHRC grant, The Manitoba Research Alliance on Community Economic Development in the New Economy, identified Community Economic Development (CED) — taking control of resources to generate economic well-being — as a strategic response to assist communities in meeting the challenges and taking up the opportunities created by the transition to a New Economy. We developed community partnerships and made use of ethnographic methods so that the voices of the community could be heard, theorized CED and the New Economy, and examined the state of CED in Winnipeg.