Upcoming Events

All-In: Co-Creating Knowledge for Justice

UC Santa Cruz  April 22-24, 2020

There is an exciting resurgence in critical public scholarship: a push for universities to reach beyond their academic audiences and build stronger community-university partnerships to jointly tackle pressing social issues. Indeed, the complexity and scale of our social ills require not only inter-disciplinary approaches but recognizing the value of community-based knowledge and its potential contribution to developing solutions to pressing problems.

Be a part of this 3-day national conference that focuses on sharing strategies to expand and deepen collaborative approaches for the truly equitable co-production of knowledge. We will explore the dynamic links between campus-community partnerships, hands-on research and student-community engagement. Together we can build partnerships for change.


More details to come in Fall 2019. If you would like to join our mailing list to receive conference updates, please sign up here.

Program Description

Variously known as Research-Practice Partnerships, Community-based Research, Participatory Action Research, or Engaged Scholarship, the field is developing new approaches that share a commitment to creating truly equitable partnerships across all aspects of the research process.

A particularly rich vein in the emergent practice of public scholarship is the involvement of undergraduates. The conference will explore new approaches, such as UC Santa Cruz’ model of Community Initiated Student Engaged Research (CISER), in which students are not simply another “public” or audience, but are involved as equal knowledge producers.  CISER magnifies the multiple assets and collective power that diverse students, committed faculty, and community-based practitioners bring to tackling critical current issues such as as climate and environmental justice; immigration, racism and xenophobia; the rise of the precarious economy; gentrification and displacement; criminal justice and policing; and the school-to-prison pipeline. CISER and other emerging models not only recognize multiple publics, but the importance of integrating these publics in and through research practice.

We will also discuss methods for building institutional support for collaborative research, how to strategically leverage relations with collaborative partners, and how to build cross-sector networks for practitioners, students, and early career scholars. The conference will bring together university scholars, community-based practitioners, undergraduate and graduate students, community members and organizations, foundations, organizers, artists, and activists to share stories, strategies, practices, and solutions for building innovative partnerships for critical collaborative research and social change.

Co-presented by URBAN and the UC Santa Cruz Institute for Social Transformation

Past Events

No Place Like Home: The Santa Cruz Affordable Housing Crisis Report: 19 October 2017, 7-9pm
Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium
307 Church St., Santa Cruz

Survey Results, Art Exhibit & Kick-off of Affordable Housing Week

This campus-community event will unveil the findings of our county-wide research on the affordable housing crisis in Santa Cruz & Watsonville. We will share the results of over 1700 surveys and interviews with local residents and how they are experiencing the housing crisis. The event also features a visual and literary art exhibit on the meanings of “home.” Finally, the event kicks off Affordable Housing Week, with a wide-range of county organizations and community groups participating in an open discussion of responses to the crisis and sharing information about strategies, campaigns and up-coming events seeking a way forward.


March 3rd 2017 – June 25th 2017: Working for Dignity Exhibition: Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History

sleep tight full copy

October 13th, 2016: No Place Like Home: The Santa Cruz Affordable Housing Crisis – Community Dialog, Arts Exhibit, and Digital Project Launch

November 19th, 2015: Working for Dignity: A Community Discussion on Raising the Minimum Wage

Working for Dignity

May 7, 2015: Working for Dignity: The Santa Cruz County Low-wage Worker Study

Behind the Kitchen Door

March 21, 2013: Book Reading and Conversation with Saru Jayaraman

January 23, 2013: Screening of Gilbert Gonzalez’s Documentary Film Harvest of Loneliness:The Bracero Program

October 12, 2012: Workshop: “Labor, Immigration, and Changing Conceptions of Work”

February 3–4, 2012: International Conference: “Labor Across the Food System”

April 21, 2011: Lecture by Bill Fletcher, Jr.: “Right-Wing Populism and the Crisis of Organized Labor”

February 26, 2011: International Conference: “Whose City? Labor and the Right to the City Movements”

May 7–8, 2010: International Conference: “Labor & Immigration: Past & Present”

April 3, 2010: International Conference: “Bodies, Brokers & Borders: Labor Market Intermediaries & Transnational Migration”

January 23, 2010: International Conference: “Teachers’ Unions, Education, & Social Justice: from the Local to the Global”

October 7, 2009: A Reading by Internationally Acclaimed Novelist Monique Truong