Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date



academic-community collaboration, community based participatory research, participatory action research, creative problem solving, food security, participatory rural appraisal


This paper explores the importance of building more inclusive, equitable, and mutually-beneficial partnerships in academic-community research collaborations for social innovation. The Community Ideas Factory is a research project that examines food security, affordable housing, employment equity and wrap-around services in the Region of Halton in Ontario, Canada. The project is a unique and dynamic collaboration between researchers from Sheridan College and the Oakville Community Foundation. In recognizing the limitations of traditional, paternalistic, subjective academic-community research collaborations this paper discusses how Participatory Rural Appraisal tools and other community-based problem-solving activities can be used to help communities define and prioritize their own problems, identify resources, and develop practical solutions to the problems they experience. We seek to demonstrate the potential of a new role for the ‘researcher’; one in which she/he assumes a more active and dynamic, yet facilitative, role in community project-building. Drawing examples from our research into food security this examination aims to provide insights, directions, and considerations for scholars, community stakeholders, and granting agencies alike who share an interest in the prospects and possibilities of academic-community collaborations for social innovation research.


Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences (FHASS)

Terms of Use

Terms of Use for Works posted in SOURCE.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Original Publication Citation

Cumming, S. J., Pulis, J.E., and McNamara, M.J. (2018). Innovations from the Margins: The Community Ideas Factory community collaboration. Athens Institution for Education and Research 12th Annual International Conference on Sociology. Athens, Greece, May 7-10, 2018.


GOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality GOAL 2: Zero Hunger GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

click icon to learn more