Our research program aims to deepen our understanding of both the process and outcomes of participating in the Concordia U.lab Social Innovation Hub and, in doing so, assess the Hub’s potential to foster transformational learning for social change. We also aim to share learning experiences with others at Concordia and other universities, and with the global u.lab community.
Eva Pomeroy on individual transformation through u.lab – Excerpt from Sept. Live Session
Here is a summary of our ongoing research projects:
The process of hosting a u.lab hub
As an educational innovation, the Concordia U.lab Social Innovation Hub is a rapidly evolving project. Specific outcomes and even processes are difficult to predict. For this reason, the host team uses a developmental evaluation approach to inquire into our own process (Patton, 2011). After each session of u.lab we meet to debrief the morning session and plan for the following week. We consider questions such as: What worked more and less well? What is our sense of the collective at present? Where does the process need to go next? What are we learning? What questions are we asking? The debrief meetings are held in a public space and are open to all.
Individual transformation through u.lab
According to most participants, being in the u.lab hub is a transformative experience. In this project we inquire into the nature of such changes. We invite participants to take part in interviews to describe their experience of the u.lab course, the Concordia Hub and the way in which the experience has, and has not, impacted their life and work. We especially investigate themes such as the intention for joining u.lab, the occurrence of shifts at various levels including feeling, thinking and acting in the world, as well as the nature of the new interpersonal connections established during the hub experience.
Collective transformation through u.lab
The express intention of u.lab is to foster both individual and collective change. In this project we use large group self-observation processes to reflect on our collective learning and change. In various configurations that involve the hub as a whole, we first track shifts and changes that happened at the individual level. We then engage in collective sense-making processes to identify systemic forces and dynamics that may have contributed to, and be an expression of, a change at the level of the collective.