Four teams of students collaborated on projects with community partners in the Liberal Arts Action Lab this fall. The students enrolled in two courses – one on community engaged research methods and one specific to their research project. Each project team used the research method skills they learned to answer a research question posed by one of four Hartford community partners. Emily Cummins, Director of the Liberal Arts Action Lab, and Camilo Ruiz Sanchez, a Postdoctoral Fellow, led the projects in collaboration a community partner and a faculty fellow on each team.
The students presented their findings to community partners, and Trinity and Capital Community College faculty, staff, and students on December 15, 2021, at the fall digital poster fair. Each team created a public website to share their findings (linked below). The Liberal Arts Action Lab and CHER team loved being able to gather at the first in-person poster fair at Constitution Plaza since fall 2019. The energy of students, community members, and faculty and staff coming together to discuss research findings exemplifies the spirit of the Action Lab. Emeline Avignon ’24, a member of the Frog Hollow Storytelling team, expressed what being part of the Action Lab this fall meant to her, saying “This project has made me feel more connected to the community. Through the power of storytelling, I feel like a neighbor now.”
This team worked with the Sierra Club of Connecticut to investigate energy burden in the North End of Hartford. Energy burden refers to the proportion of household income spent on energy costs. The team conducted background research on energy burden, compiled data on the North End of Hartford, interviewed Hartford area experts, and recruited community members for a PhotoVoice project – a participatory research method where community members respond to a research question with photos they take themselves. View the team’s project website at action-lab.org/energyburdenhtfd
Working with the South West and Behind the Rocks NRZ, this team gathered and analyzed data on how neighborhood investments have impacted the areas served by the NRZ. The team used data from the U.S. Census, American Community Survey, and other sources to understand how the South West and Behind the Rocks neighborhoods have changed over time. View the team’s project website at action-lab.org/neighborhood-investment
The Community Ownership team worked with LISC to expand upon the Action Lab’s 2019 Absentee Landlord Project. The team compiled and analyzed data on homeownership in the North End of Hartford, including data on where the largest landlords in the neighborhood live. View the team’s project website at action-lab.org/community-ownership/introduction/
Frog Hollow Oral History
In partnership with SINA, the Frog Hollow Oral History team assembled a multimedia archive documenting the neighborhood’s lived history, experiences, and public art. The archive will contribute to the development of a neighborhood walking tour. In collaboration with residents and leaders of the Frog Hollow community, the group of student researchers created four “Tour Lines”: Community Spaces, Public Art, Frog Hollow Heroes, and Voices of Frog Hollow. Each line has a set amount of “stops” containing the site’s history and relevant photos, interviews, or data. View the team’s project website at http://action-lab.org/frog-hollow-oral-history/
Read about team member Emeline Avignon’s experience here.