The BC-Alberta Social Economy Research Alliance (BALTA) is a regional research collaboration amongst community based organizations, universities and colleges in Alberta and British Columbia, Canada, with an interest in the social economy. At present, BALTA and its research projects include researchers from 11 Alberta and BC universities and colleges (Athabasca University, Mount Royal University, Royal Roads University, Selkirk College, Simon Fraser University, St. Joseph’s Theological College, University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, University of Calgary, University of the Fraser Valley and University of Victoria) and 15 community based and social economy stakeholder organizations in the two provinces. Researchers from several universities and organizations outside Alberta and BC are also involved as research collaborators.
See BALTA Partners for further information about participating institutions and organizations.
See BALTA Members for information about the individual researchers and other members of BALTA.
BALTA's mandate involves researching various aspects of the social economy (see What is the Social Economy?) with a view to both increasing knowledge about the sector and identifying ways to strengthen and expand the sector. BALTA has been developed as a platform for research collaboration between academic institutions and community based organizations that are involved in the social economy. While individual researchers lead specific research projects, the priorities for BALTA's research and annual research workplans are developed and approved by Social Economy Research Clusters (SERCs) that bring together both academic researchers and community based social economy practitioners.
BALTA comprises three Social Economy Research Clusters (SERCs), each bringing together a mix of university and community based researchers and social economy practitioners. The three SERCs are focused on the following areas:
BALTA also has a team working to "map" the range of social economy organizations in Alberta and BC.
Presentation on the BALTA model of community-unversity research partnership and conceptual approaches to defining the social economy
Listen to the presentation that BALTA's coordinator, Stuart Wulff, gave at the 11th National Metropolis Conference, March 19-22, 2009, in Calgary, Alberta.(*Please note: you may need to turn up the volume on your speakers for the first two minutes of the presentation.)
The lead agency and secretariat for BALTA is the BC-based Canadian Centre for Community Renewal. CCCR's Executive Director, Mike Lewis, is the Director and Lead Investigator for BALTA. A steering committee, representing both academic and community based members, provides overall direction to BALTA.
BALTA is the BC-Alberta node of a pan-Canadian research initiative, the Canadian Social Economy Research Partnerships (CSERP).
This five year research initiative (2006-2011) is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). BALTA is one example of a form of research collaboration supported by SSHRC that are known as CURAs – Community-University Research Alliances. These CURAs are intended as a vehicle for promoting community based research by Canada’s academic institutions. BALTA is unusual amongst CURAs in that its lead organization is a community based organization (CCCR), but its operational model involves joint construction and management of the research program by both community based and academic institutions.
BALTA’s lead investigator, Mike Lewis, speaks at the 2007 First International CIRIEC Research Conference on the Social Economy