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A crescendo of voices: Creating networks of networks in research on fathers’ involvement Jessica Ball Early Childhood Development Intercultural Partnerships.

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Presentation on theme: "A crescendo of voices: Creating networks of networks in research on fathers’ involvement Jessica Ball Early Childhood Development Intercultural Partnerships."— Presentation transcript:

1 A crescendo of voices: Creating networks of networks in research on fathers’ involvement Jessica Ball Early Childhood Development Intercultural Partnerships (www.ecdip.org) University of Victoria, Canadawww.ecdip.org

2 Joining forces in C-U Networks When we ‘learn in place/learn from place’ … how far can we go? If we leave our home-based learning sites, do we have to leave our context-embedded knowledge behind? Can we create a ‘movement’ with different constituencies, different sensitivities, different needs, but with a shared agenda for knowledge creation, mobilization & social change? Can we have a symphony of sounds, or must we all sing out of the same page in the song book?

3 Getting from local to national social change How can CU research be conducted to instigate change beyond the sphere of the community- based research project? CU networked research: A network of networks approach Double layering: Community-specific AND pre-planned omnibus activities & commitments

4 A promising example… Fathers Involvement Research Alliance CURA Goal: Increase visibility & supports for positive fathers’ involvement with their children 1.Create & strengthen alliances 2.Create & consolidate Canadian knowledge 3.Promote conditions for social change

5 Fathers Involvement Research Alliance CURA Research focus on 7 populations of fathers:

6 Population specific networks Research about each population of fathers was done by a population focused research team, through a “cluster” of community-university partnerships, involving from 20 to 80 fathers. Each cluster was limited to one province & one “population” Eg. Indigenous fathers project cluster –5 community partners, all in B.C. –University of Victoria –university based & community-based team members (2 + 5) –80 First Nations & Metis fathers Populations overlapped (e.g., separated Indigenous father of a child with special needs)

7 Double layer of research questions Double layer of driving hypotheses & questions for data collection Pop. Specific constructs, questions, concerns generated through each cluster’s community-university dialogue Pan-Canadian – derived from pre-project theoretical review, yielding content themes for further investigation. These questions populated the research proposal & got us the funding! No overarching theoretical lens

8 Double layer of ethics review Academic partner for cluster (eg. U. Victoria) Academic partner for omnibus project (U. Guelph)

9 Stable institutional home for the ‘family’ of pop. specific projects Centre for Families, Work & Well-Being, U. Guelph Leadership: Kerry Daly, P.I. Central management group led by Linda Hawkins, E.D. –Accounting –PR –Project wide knowledge mobilization, especially the FIRA website –Annual reports to funder –Mid-term review –Conference planning –Greasing the wheels of networked collaboration

10 Project wide activities In addition to the pop. specific activities at the level of each ‘cluster’ ….. 1.Demographic analysis of fathers in Canada (Census, General Social Survey, etc.) * Pan-Canadian profile & pop. specific 2.Policy analysis: Policy, legislation, constitutional issues affecting fathers’ involvement with their children * Pan-Canadian & pop. Specific 3.Pan-Canadian website to raise fathers’ visibility & provide a clearinghouse (www.fira.ca)www.fira.ca

11 Cluster specific outcomes Each cluster within the collaborative project generated: New capacity in the community and university New knowledge New practice recommendations and tools New policy directions New ‘learning objects’ for training & post-secondary ed. curricula

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13 Identifying cross-cluster commonalities (methodological, theoretical, practice & policy)

14 Expanding geographies of knowledge creation & social transformation from local to global

15 Goal: To define and carry out a community- based research agenda on father involvement in Canada Objectives New Canadian Knowledge Creating Alliances and Networks Conditions for Social Change Outcomes An increase in public dialogue about the conditions that shape father involvement and heightened awareness of the benefits of father involvement and the barriers to it. Students trained to conduct research on father involvement; positive relationships between students and community networks of action. Recommendations to Statistics Canada on measures and issues that are appropriate for advancing our understanding of fathers and fathering A Canadian body of scholarship on father involvement that includes empirical research and policy analysis and recommendations. Outcomes The spawning of new research relationships, collaborations, and funding opportunities that will extend the scope of the present research into additional programs and activities. Increased research capacity to conduct community research by both university researchers and community-based service providers. A vital and sustainable network of people interested in enhancing fatherhood education and promotion programs. Outcomes Best practice examples of involving fathers in services, including the development of new tools and resources and training opportunities for professional staff. Greater acceptance and promotion of father involvement in families, workplaces, communities, and among fathers. Greater attention given to policies affecting father involvement with a call to review and revise policies as needed. New teaching methods and parenting curricula in profession-oriented graduate programs in Canada.

16 Impact: Fathers and Families (148) Impact: Community Organizations (144) Impact: Connections (101) Impact: Policy or Government (76) Impact: Academic (117) Impact:Community Organizations (97) Impact: Academic (46) Impact: Policy or Government (26) Impact: Academic (31) Impact: Community Organizations (37) Impact: Policy or Government (55) Impact: Policy or Government (59) Impact: Community Organizations (46) Networks Impact: Connections (28) Impact: Academic (62) Impact: Connections (61) Impact: Community Organizations (37) Impact: Fathers and Families (26) Impact: Policy or Government (26) Impact: Fathers and Families (39) Father Involvement Research Alliance (FIRA) Anne Bergen, Linda Hawkins and Jaime-Lee Brown. Impact: Fathers and Families (17) Focus :  Fathering  Community Practice and Process  Legislation and Funding Practice  Networks, CU Partnerships and Alliances  Research Practice Impacts: Fathers and Families Community Organizations and Practice Policy or Government National and International Connections Academic Impact: Connections (30) Impact: Academic (38) Impact: Connections (46) Objectives Creating Alliances and Networks Conditions for Social Change New Canadian Knowledge Impact: Fathers& Families (15) 17 Reports 37 Advisory or Consulting Services 68 Conference Papers or Presentations 49 Works Published or Accepted for Publication 28 Workshops 11 Theses and Research Proposals 117 Media Products 2 Creative Works (DVDs and Films) 20 Meetings and Networking Events

17 Why has a complex multi-component CURA project been so successful? What does it take to achieve collaborative productivity in a project with many CBR components?

18 Herding cats 1.Clear and uncluttered vision 2.Selective inclusion 3.Effective leadership 4.Clear structure for independent & collective aspects & timelines of research plan 5.Responsive project management 6.Permanent host institution (e.g., Research Centre, ongoing program)

19 Promising Practices in Networked Research 1.Vision: Uncluttered path that all can agree with. “To increase visibility and support for positive fathers involvement” 2.Selection criteria: Not ‘all comers’ Independent AND collaborative Able to commit to some common deliverables (no prima donnas!) Able & willing to teach (what other team members need to understand) Able & willing to learn 3.Effective leadership: clear communication, responsiveness to both project-wide and cluster specific needs, high tolerance of ambiguity, good ‘boundaries’, no control freaks, acknowledge difficulties and successes

20 Promising Practices in Networked Research 4.Clear structure: Overall plan, commitments, and strategies will articulated at the outset so partners and participants know what they are agreeing to. FIRA-CURA: Yr 1 2 3: Cluster specific Yr 4: Thematic analysis Yr 5: Knowledge mobilization 5.Competent & responsive project management: Not everyone will move at the same pace: prop up some slow starters, be alert for emerging keeners Equitable, not necessary equal, resource allocations Differentiated roles – not everyone does everything 6. Permanent host institution: geographic home, experienced project management staff, financial buffers, ability to support certain post-project activities (e.g., the next project, opportunities to continue to mobilize project products).

21 Promising Practices in Networked Research 6.Permanent host institution: geographic home, experienced project management staff, financial buffers, ability to support certain post- project activities (e.g., the next project, opportunities to continue to mobilize project products)

22 Promising Practices in Networked Research 7.Double layers of knowledge mobilization: Some population specific and some omnibus Emissary model – from community-specific to policy tables Ambassador roles – representing project wide social change objectives (e.g., national policy tables) Consolidating action potentials: networked practitioner engagement Consolidating intellectual productivity: networked academic engagement No expectation of a unified theory, unified set of objectives for policy reforms, or pan-Canadian ‘voice’ A crescendo of different voices

23 Beyond site specific learning Are we there yet?

24 From CBR to national to global FIRA network beginning to network with emerging networks around the world… South Africa Australia USA UK Finland Brazil International Father Involvement conference in Oct 08, Toronto FIRA a signatory to Global Alliance of Community-Engaged Research

25 Find out more: and


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