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Knowledge 4 Change Tkaronto Hub

The UNESCO Knowledge For Change (K4C) Toronto Hub is part of the Knowledge for Change Global Consortium, an initiative of the UNESCO Co-Chairs in Community-Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education with the goal of developing research capacities for the co-creation of knowledge through collective action by practitioners, community-based researchers, community groups and academics. 

Following conversations about the importance of community expertise and to ensure that research are also driven by community needs,  K4C Toronto was co-founded in the summer of 2019 by the Centre for Critical Development Studies at UTSC, OISE at the U of T, community partners Toronto Centre for Community Learning & Development (CL&D), and Ontario Council for International Cooperation (OCIC)

As of March 2020, mentors from these organisations have been trained and certified by K4C Global to become resources in future community-based participatory research projects. They have also been deeply embedded in the pedagogy of the cluster of courses that form the core of the Community Knowledge Learning Hub, an experiential learning project funded by the Provost at the U of Toronto.

K4C Mentors in Training at the Face to Face Residency in Bogota, Colombia


  1. Our collective goal is to enable transformative change by providing community-based education and research learning opportunities (online and in-person) to students, educators, academics, community development and international cooperation practitioners, and residents in our city, province, and beyond. 
  2. Working with communities and partner organizations in support of their education and human development goals
  3. Creating and providing access to CBPAR training for community partners in our region and internationally – through the development of learning institutes that could take place online or in person. 
  4. Share knowledge and practices with other hubs within the K4C consortium

Our Projects: 

Immigrant Women Integration Program (IWIP) Community Based Participatory Action Research Course 
IWIP Researchers after presenting their CBPAR projects to the Community Knowledge Learning Hub

Based out of the Center for Learning and Development, the IWIP CBPAR course is a project-based, post-secondary level course about the principles and practices of Community-Based Participatory Action Research (CBPAR) for immigrant and newcomer women living in the Greater Toronto Area, seeking to explore the potential of CBPAR for social change. For the purposes of this course CBPAR is defined as “A research approach that involves active participation of stakeholders, those whose lives are affected by the issue being studied, in all phases of research for producing useful results to make positive changes.” (Nelson, Ochocka, Griffin & Lord, 1998, p.12)

In the first part of the course students develop a practical understanding of CBPAR purpose, principles and phases and a mix of more traditional and arts-based research methods through readings, reflection, and experiential learning activities. In the second part of the course students have the opportunity to design and carry out a CBPAR project on a topic of their choice either on their own or in small groups. 

By the end of this course students are able to:

  • Explain the main purpose, principles and phases of CBPAR.
  • Design and lead a CBPAR project on a topic of their choice and carry out all phases of the CBPAR process, starting with identifying a research problem/question and the relevant stakeholders/actors and participants; creating a project plan; choosing appropriate community engagement, participant recruitment, and information gathering methods;
  • Use a variety of qualitative, quantitative and arts-based CBPAR methods; 
  • Recruit participants and collect research data based on research ethics principles and protocols;
  • Analyze quantitative data (basic analysis using free survey applications (e.g. google forms), and analyze qualitative data using basic manual coding techniques, and 
  • Create a succinct report on research findings (using PowerPoint). 
Community Based Participatory Action Research Summer Institute 
Poster for the inaugural Community-Based Participatory Action Research institute

The Summer Virtual Institute on Community-Based Participatory Action Research (CBPAR) aims to support capacity-building of civil society organizations and community members in Ontario. 

Over the course of four weekly 90-minute online modules participants are introduced to CBPAR principles and phases, and learn how to use CBPAR methods observation and arts-based methods through readings, resources, reflection, and experiential learning activities. Given the time limitation, this Institute will not be covering the full range of CBPAR methods. 

Bridging Knowledge Cultures Project 

The Bridging Knowledge Cultures project is funded by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada. Through the project, we aim to identify and facilitate the flow of knowledge about bridging differences in knowledge cultures and power relations between partners in each of the 14 K4C hubs. The Knowledge 4 Change Tkaronto Hub is one of the participating hub partners in this research. 

The project focuses on analyzing different ways in which knowledge is understood, constructed, validated and used in academic and non-academic settings, and the practical obstacles that such differences create for working across knowledge cultures. The ultimate objective of this project is the development of a new framework for a systemic and contextually-situated approach to co-production of knowledge.

Knowledge production is a core function of higher education Institutions. One way of producing knowledge has been through research partnerships with external stakeholders such as community organisations. The challenge for academics in building mutually-beneficial partnerships is: how can they achieve real involvement with their partner organization? The ‘top-down’ approach in university-led research has been widely practiced, which is evident from various studies. A global survey that examined institutional structures facilitating community-university research partnerships around the world found that 60% of respondents affiliated to a community organization rarely or never jointly submitted a research proposal when working in collaborative research partnerships. This points to a serious lack of equity and decision-making power.

To address these inequities in knowledge production and dissemination, Bridging Knowledge Cultures project has been established. It will help to create new principles for effective co-creation of knowledge between academic and non-academic researchers; enhance understanding of the differences in knowledge cultures in academic and non-academic settings; facilitate research collaboration; and augment local and national policy development. Project members will explore ways of bridging diverse knowledge so that power inequalities between collaborating partners are taken into consideration to make community-university research partnerships sustainable and secure over time. Through this project, we will achieve our overarching goal of generating a new framework for a systemic and contextually-situated approach to co-production of knowledge. We will examine and then facilitate the exchange of knowledge and bridge power inequalities between knowledge cultures.

Sustainable Development Goals

The Hub has identified the following four SDGs: 4, 5, 11, and 17, as areas of focus based on the common similarities of our organizational mandates (4, 11 and 17). SDG #5 was added based on the fact that four of the Hub’s projects our first year focus on gender equality. Gender Equality is also a major theme of OCIC’s programming, and Canada’s acclaimed Feminist International Assistance Policy (2017) which positions gender equality as a core and cross-cutting goal.

K4C Tkaronto Hub

Organizational Partners

Founding & Active Partner

Knowledge Equity Lab

The Knowledge Equity Lab, housed at the University of Toronto Scarborough is a trans-disciplinary space that seeks to challenge multiple forms of exclusion within the structure of knowledge production and exchange. 

Active Partner

Ontario Coalition of International Cooperation

The Ontario Council for International Cooperation (OCIC) is a community of Ontario-based international cooperation and global citizenship-focused organizations, institutions, and individual associate members committed to working for global social justice, human dignity and participation for all.

Institutional Partner

UNESCO Co-Chairs in Community-Based Research & Social Responsibility in Higher Edcuation

Based at the University of Victoria (UVic) and the Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA), this Chair is co-directed by Dr. Budd L Hall and Dr. Rajesh Tandon. The UNESCO Chair supports North-South-South and South-South partnerships that build on and enhance the emerging consensus in knowledge democracy. It co-creates new knowledge through partnerships among universities (academics), communities (civil society) and government (policy makers) leading to: new capacities; new solutions to pressing problems related to sustainability, social and economic disparities, cultural exclusion, mistrust and conflict; and awareness among policy makers; enhanced scholarship of engagement; and of social responsibility in Higher Education.

Founding & Active Partner

Center for Learning & Development

The Toronto Center for Learning & Development equips individuals with tools for individual growth and empowers them to promote positive change in their community.

Founding Partner

Ontario Institute of Studies in Education (OISE)

OISE is recognized as a global leader in graduate programs in teaching and learning, continuing teacher education, and education research. As one of the largest and most research-intensive faculties of education in North America, OISE is an integral part of the University of Toronto —Canada’s most dynamic and comprehensive institution of higher learning.