The History Department’s Community-Engaged Collaboratorium is designed to facilitate research
partnerships between the University of Saskatchewan and communities in ways that
the communities themselves identify as meaningful and beneficial.
what is the collaboratorium?
Situated within the History Department in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Collaboratorium is an initiative spearheaded by Prof. Keith Thor Carlson (Research Chair in Indigenous and Community-engaged History). This summer the Collaboratorium partnered sixteen students with eleven different communities. The students came from a range of disciplinary backgrounds (history, English, law, etc.) and the partners are just as diverse. The 2018 partners included Flying Dust First Nation, the Saskatchewan History and Folklore Society, the City of Saskatoon, and Mistawasis First Nation.
The Collaboratorium is at the forefront of the CES movement. For Prof. Carlson and his team of students, the Collaboratorium is not merely about making what they are doing interesting and useful to the community. Rather, it is about asking the community what questions they have, what problems they see that are linked to historical interpretation, and collaborating with them to co-create knowledge to answer those questions and solve those problems. Such an approach ensures that marginalized voices are not only heard, but that communities become active holders of their own histories. It also ensures that universities are seen less as isolated 'ivory towers,' and more as valuable partners in creating better and more inclusive relationships between communities and academic institutions.
The Collaboratorium is based on the principal of sharing. The collaborative model helps give a voice to people whose history has been either eclipsed or contested by the powerful narratives that emerge from corporate and government institutions. Collaboration helps reinforce the idea that the universities can serve community interests in ways that advance scholarship and our understanding of the world. It teaches students to think beyond the classroom, and of the real world implications of their work. Collaboration reminds universities that they do not exist in isolation and that they are, in fact, part of the communities they serve.
The goals of The Collaboratorium are three-fold: to build partnerships with First Nations, non-profit organizations, and community organizations to co-create knowledge, to provide students with grassroots research experiences as paid internships, and to establish the U of S as a national leader in Community-engaged Scholarship (CES).