Working in partnership with the Calgary Public Library, Where I belong: public spaces and everyday acts of inclusion seeks to increase our understanding of practices within public spaces that promote belonging among racialized, newcomer youth.
Over three years, the project explores, pilots, and evaluates how public spaces can foster inclusion and belonging. Our focus is specifically on practices that fall outside the boundaries of standard approaches to inclusion and integration processes, which are often limited to settlement sector programs and/or programs for immigrant youth. The four-phased research plan is grounded in collaborative teamwork and co-creation methodology.
This project also provides work integrated learning opportunities for Bow Valley College students. Student research assistants will gain hands-on experience supporting the project with data collection and analysis as well as co-creation and evaluation.
Our applied research team's work is set apart by its collaborative approach. Where I Belong offers the team an opportunity to work with community partners that share our commitment to better understand how to foster belonging and inclusion for newcomer youth in public spaces.
The Calgary Public Library empowers community by connecting people to ideas and experiences, inspiration, and insight. The library places inclusion, curiosity, and collaboration at the core of both their organization and its work. Project work for Where I Belong will take place in the flagship Central Library as well as locations such as Forest Lawn, Saddletowne, Village Square, and Seton.
Last spring, our research started with an initial survey of youth ages 16 – 19 who had accessed the Calgary Public Library (CPL) in the past three years. After conversations with our project partners, we expanded the scope of the project to include all youth library users between the ages of 16-19, not just those who self-identify as racialized as the circumstances of the last two years with the disconnection and loss of access to public spaces have affected all youth, regardless of background.
With the first of two surveys completed, its early analysis helped to inform the design and deployment of the second survey that moves the project into its second phase. Over the coming months, the data collected gives our team and the co-creation process the information needed to begin a co-development pilot.
Phase 1: Research (April – December 2021)
Phase 2: Research and Pilot Co-Development (January – August 2022)
Phase 3: Piloting and evaluation (September 2022 – February 2023)
Phase 4: Knowledge mobilization Where I Belong aims to be iterative by design, where research and implementation, and evaluation and knowledge mobilization are in constant communication.
Where I Belong aims to be iterative by design, where research and implementation, and evaluation and knowledge mobilization are in constant communication.