About the Lab

The Knowledge Equity Lab will be an opportunity to ground synergistic movements in a more structured, intentional, and collaborative way. Housed in the Centre for Critical Development Studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough, community partners, activists, and knowledge makers and holders will be supported with institutional resources including meeting space, materials, and research training via partnerships with faculty and students from the University of Toronto. In addition to being a space for knowledge co-creation and circulation, the lab will act as a hub for values associated with knowledge equity and inclusion.

Faculty will have the opportunity to engage outside of academia, challenging the incentive structures which only legitimate knowledge packaged in the standard of academic papers and journals.

Students will participate in critical, pedagogical exercises that challenge the ‘banking model of education’ — the notion that students are empty containers for knowledge, but rather active co-producers whose efforts lead to actionable, tangible social change. This is particularly fitting for students of Critical Development Studies, who are trained to analyze power relations to redress issues of social, environmental, economic and epistemic injustice. 

Several movements locally and globally already exist which forward these aims, such as 

  • those advocating for openness, (including open access, open pedagogy, open-source, open internet, and open science); 
  • movements towards decolonization (including decolonization of knowledge, of the internet, of curriculum, and amplification of indigenous and traditional knowledge); as well as 
  • efforts to promote alternative methodologies and modalities of research (including community-based research, participatory approaches, feminist research methods, and more)

Ultimately, we hope this lab will serve as a disruptive space; a space to question norms and transform the competitive culture of academia, and enable experiential learning, collaboration, and the exploration of alternative research and knowledge production methodologies.

Proposed lab activities

Preliminary lab activities may include workshops, research training sessions, hosted discussions, seminars, exhibitions, demonstrations, and more. 

Research training sessions will enhance student and community partners’ knowledge of various research and knowledge production methods. This may be taught collaboratively by students, faculty/researchers, and/or community partners.

Sessions may include, but are not limited to workshops on:

  • Digital research tools
  • Geographic Information Systems 
  • R programming language 
  • Data visualization 
  • Story telling
  • Spoken word 
  • Arts-based research methods 
  • Participatory research methods  

An inclusive space will be provided on a regular basis for students, community members and faculty to host discussions on a broad range of issues pertaining to knowledge co-production and knowledge equity.

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