The origins of CCEC: Building on the momentum of the CFICE project
CCEC is a living legacy of Community First: Impacts of Community Engagement (CFICE), a seven-year (2012-2019) CCE action research project based at Carleton University and core funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).
CFICE aimed to answer the question: How can community-campus partnerships be designed and implemented to maximize the value created for non-profit, community-based organizations?
Within CFICE, community-based, academic and boundary spanning practitioners worked together on multi-scale demonstration projects that addressed critical social and environmental issues across varied sectors including poverty reduction, community environmental sustainability, food security/sovereignty and violence against women. During the last three years of the project, several working groups were formed to mobilize what was learned from demonstration projects to influence policies, practices and systems that achieve more effective, value-generating CCE.
CCEC Roundtables: Gaining understanding and inspiration from CCE practitioners across Canada
Between 2017 and 2019, CCEC convened a series of national and regional roundtables that engaged CFICE partners along with other community and academic representatives, policymakers and funders to inform the development and long-term action plan for CCEC. Roundtables were held in Ottawa, Vancouver, Saskatoon, Brandon, Toronto, Haliburton County, Halifax and St. John’s.
Throughout the roundtable series, participants provided thoughtful and constructive reflections about the CCE landscape and their hopes for a national CCE network.
The goals of the roundtables were to:
- Connect multi-sector partners who share similar goals to advance community-based initiatives;
- Examine the current CCE landscape across regions in Canada;
- Contribute ideas and recommendations to improve policies and funding mechanisms for CCE; and
- Consider how to grow the impact of CCE.
“Systems need to be flexible, co-created and co-governed to
support different ways of engagement, learning and participation.”
(excerpt from the Saskatoon roundtable summary)
“There are currently a lot of resources available but the awareness is low.
One way of moving forward can be to draw on and to learn from previous CCE research champions.”
(excerpt from the Halifax roundtable summary)
Some prominent ideas and messages from members coming out of the CCEC roundtables included:
- A strong desire for the development of a pan-Canadian network and community of practice to support greater communication, knowledge exchange and impact across community-campus partnerships;
- Acknowledgement of opportunities to connect and build on the efforts of existing CCE networks and organisations; and
- Encouragement of community-driven, place-based and regional approaches to CCE, including sensitivity to unique concerns in rural areas
Walking the talk: Taking a community-centred approach to heart as CCEC moves forward
Following the roundtable series, CCEC began to work toward becoming its own entity with the objective of building a vibrant community of practice for community-campus engagement (CCE) in Canada.
CCEC’s governance structure includes an eight-member Steering Committee that comprises a mix of community-based and academic representatives, with an additional ex-officio TCCBE member.