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Community Participation: An Intersectional Feminist View of a 'Fuzzy' Concept

Date: Wednesday, November 30, 2022
Time: 2:00pm - 3:00pm EST
Location: Virtual

The interactive discussion invites researchers and practitioners in non-profit and community development work to reflect on a seemingly benign and benevolent topic of community participation. The event features findings of participatory action research that examined the quality of volunteer participation in neighbourhood-based projects in Lawrence Heights, Toronto. The findings were recently published in a peer-reviewed publication written in co-authorship with community partners. In the publication, we approached volunteer participation with an intersectional feminist lens, critically examining who is participating, why, and with what money and whose time volunteer participation is enabled. Drawing attention to the gendered and under-resourced nature of the non-profit and community development work, we argue that when approached uncritically, community engagement may contribute to extractivist processes endemic to patriarchal, white supremacist, heterosexual capitalism. To support reflexive practice among researchers and practitioners, we offer Community Engagement Continuum that features indicators for the technocratic vs. transformative community engagement process.