UWinnipegger gets $2.5 million research grant
University of Winnipeg’s Dr. Shauna MacKinnon (Department of Urban and Inner City Studies) has been selected by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) and the Manitoba Research Alliance (MRA) Research Committee as the new Principal Investigator for a $2.5 million Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Grant.
Through this seven-year grant, Community-Based Solutions to Poverty: Challenges and Possibilities, MacKinnon will continue to work in collaboration with several community partners to explore a paradox revealed through past research: how do various systems, structures, contexts, ideas and relations work to perpetuate complex poverty, and what are the steps that must be taken to build the social and political power to reduce complex poverty?
MacKinnon replaces UManitoba’s late Dr. John Loxley, the long-standing Principal Investigator for the MRA whose sudden passing has deeply affected the community. Loxley and MacKinnon have worked closely together in various ways for over two decades. Now Loxley’s work and legacy will continue through the work of MacKinnon and other MRA researchers.
“John has been a mentor, colleague and dear friend,” said MacKinnon. “His shoes cannot be filled, but I will do my best to honour John’s legacy through the MRA and its social justice approach to research.”
MacKinnon has been a research associate at the CCPA since 2013, and has been in a leadership role in the management and decision-making of the MRA since its inception.
“The Manitoba Research Alliance has been actively engaged in community-led research for 17 years,” said MacKinnon. “Our collaboration has stood the test of time because we continue to nurture meaningful, trusting relationships with community-based organizations working on the front lines. Their insights play a central role in our research, contributing to the co-creation of knowledge across academic and non-academic boundaries.”
MacKinnon is meaningfully connected to the communities and community organizations in which she teaches and works. The strength of her relationships in the community ensures that this work continues and additional partnerships form during the duration of this Partnership Grant. This new grant will also bring opportunities to students at the University of Winnipeg, through the Community-Based Research Training Centre (CBRTC). Students interested in community-based research will be able to access practical workshops to prepare them for potential paid research assistant positions with MRA researchers.
MacKinnon is the author of Decolonizing Employment: Aboriginal Inclusion in Canada’s Labour Market (University of Manitoba Press, 2015). Her most recent book Practising Community-Based Participatory Research: Stories of Engagement, Empowerment and Mobilization (University of British Columbia Press, 2018), details stories about community-based research from past and current MRA projects.
The Manitoba Research Alliance (MRA) is a group of academic researchers and community organizations creating community-based research since 2002. It has conducted original, community-driven research, published its findings and contributed to a nuanced understanding of the complex poverty that characterizes many communities in Winnipeg and Manitoba. Community-based Solutions to Poverty: Challenges and Possibilities is the fourth SSHRC-funded project of the MRA.
Naniece Ibrahim, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg
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