Collaborations and Engaged Research
Collaborations between the Institute and organizations are about mutually sustaining projects. They involve agreements about how the Institute can support the organization’s mission or initiative. Collaborative projects can be short term or longer term. They can involve organizations, or individuals and individual projects.
Engaged research is often the bedrock of collaboration. What is “engaged research?” As a way of doing and conceptualizing research, engaged research holds that researchers do not have some better ultimate sense of peoples’ situations than they do themselves. It takes seriously people’s understandings of and authority about their own lives and contexts. Engaged research partners with communities or specific constituencies to ask: what research do they need done? What do they need to know? In this model, people involved in research are informed participant/researchers in the design of research agendas, not “informants” or “data sources.” The idea is to put university people and resources in conversation with communities or individual leaders so as to produce new forms knowledges responsive to grassroots or activist needs and innovative of scholarship and what is known.
Collaborative relations may, or may not, involve engaged research dimensions. Any of these agreements, in combination or not, may be productive, and specific needs and contexts will guide discussions and decisions.