Scandinavia is becoming a popular destination for BALTA researchers. Last September-October, Mike Lewis and Pat Conaty were in Sweden to present at the CIRIEC International Research Conference on the Social Economy and other meetings. Noel Keough of the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Environmental Design was in Helsinki recently to give a presentation on BALTA Project A7 – Co-op Housing Futures: A Spatial Design Research Approach. The presentation was given at a joint collaboration between the Nordic Conference on Activity Theory and the Fourth Finnish Conference on Cultural and Activity Research.
With BALTA’s multi-year funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada ending in 2011, the focus of attention will shift towards greater attention on dissemination of research results and engagement with various sectors of the social economy regarding how to use those results to support the sector. BALTA will be employing a wide range of strategies to accomplish this: conference presentations, workshops, publications to popularize the research and make it more user-friendly for particular audiences, books, tele-seminars, targeted meetings, media outreach, etc.
Some research will continue into the early part of 2011, including several projects previously approved and still in process and several new research projects. The new research will include:
A sample of intended dissemination and engagement initiatives includes:
The symposium took place in Edmonton on April 27, bringing together over 70 participants. SERC 3’s co-chair, Jorge Sousa of the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Education, organized and moderated the symposium.
Topics addressed in the presentations and discussion included:
The symposium was co-sponsored by the Work and Learning Network, the Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Organizations, and Alberta Employment and Immigration.
BALTA researchers and members gathered in Calgary on November 24-25, 2009, to share the results of BALTA research to date, learn about recently inaugurated research projects and discuss future directions for BALTA. BALTA’s members were joined by several students working on BALTA research projects and representatives of other organizations with an interest in the social economy.
The symposium was hosted by the Institute for Nonprofit Studies at Mount Royal University.
The first day featured four longer thematic workshops:
Day 1 also had a presentation on BALTA’s mapping program that is surveying social economy organizations in Alberta and BC. Shorter presentations highlighted BALTA research on sustainable development, co-operative models of health care and rural Alberta case studies.
At the end of Day 1, BALTA and the Canadian CED Network (CCEDNet) co-hosted an information and consultation session as a lead-up to the National Summit on a People Centered Economy, which will take place in Ottawa at the end of May 2010.
The focus of the second morning was a presentation by BALTA lead investigator Mike Lewis followed by discussion. The session focused on the implications of climate change and peak oil for the communities in which we live and for the social economy.
Day 2 also featured short presentations on several affordable housing related BALTA projects and other research projects related to land tenure and land trusts, renewable energy, the role of faith based organizations in the social economy, the role of credit unions in supporting the social economy and rural community reinvestment, and cluster based social enterprise models.
Several sessions on the final afternoon focused on potential initiatives and directions for BALTA’s work during the remaining period of SSHRC grant support until 2011. This included consideration of options for BALTA support for university level course development and curriculum resources on the social economy and research on possible models to continue BALTA’s legacy beyond the end of SSHRC funding. The results of these discussions will help to shape further program initiatives.
The three BALTA SERCs (social economy research clusters) met over lunch and then reported into a plenary discussion at the end of the afternoon. There was a strong consensus that further BALTA research should focus on filling in gaps in the current research priorities, rather than opening new lines of inquiry, and that the main focus of BALTA work needed to shift towards disseminating and acting on the research results already obtained.
There was a general sense that the symposium marked the further maturing of BALTA’s research efforts and an important focusing point towards enhancing our efforts in disseminating and acting on the research finds.
For further information and presentations from the symposium, go to Symposia & Conferences.
BALTA members Mike Lewis and Pat Conaty attended the 2nd International CIRIEC Research Conference on the Social Economy in Östersund, Sweden, on October 1‐2, 2009. The conference attracted over 300 participants and more than 160 papers were delivered. Mike and Pat delivered a paper on “The Great Transition: Navigating Social, Economic, Ecological Change in Turbulent Times”. Their session was well attended (approx. 60 ) and participant comments included: “refreshing”, “challenging”, “outside of the box” and “inspiring”.
Mike and Pat also attended several workshops and meetings in Stockholm and Östersund with social economy representatives, Transition Town members, government representatives, bankers, researchers, students, journalists, farmers and others that included discussion of the CIRIEC paper and its themes.
Mike and Pat are developing a book to deepen the analysis presented briefly in the CIRIEC paper. The enthusiastic response to the paper to date is indicative that the book should draw wide interest. The paper has already been translated into French, Spanish and Swedish.
Dr. Sean Connelly, recently awarded his doctorate by Simon Fraser University, will be working for BALTA as a one year post‐doctoral researcher. Sean’s research will examine the
linkages between the social economy and sustainable community development, including a specific focus on re‐localizing food systems. Another of Sean’s roles will be to assist in synthesizing the research from various research
projects and identifying significant common themes that emerge.