Jane Finch Community Research Partnership members Abena Offeh-Gyimah, Farwa Arshad, and Shenali Don speak about their involvement in developing training modules for academics researching the Jane Finch community, a Jane Finch Research Collection website, as well as a digital repository for past research and scholarship about the neighbourhood. Developed in consultation with Jane Finch residents, these connected projects are committed to educating and encouraging researchers to adopt ethical and equitable research methods that move beyond past harmful patterns of objectification and stigmatization of the neighbourhood and its community members.

Abena, Farwa, and Shenali shed light on how this constellation of initiatives fosters research that benefits the community and contributes to capacity building, making sure research and findings are shared and made accessible to community members, and ensuring that community members are respected and recognized as critical generators of knowledge.

Abena Offeh-Gyimah is a food entrepreneur, a researcher, and an advocate for an indigenous food sovereignty system. She’s worked at Black Creek Community Farm as a coordinator for the youth farming program, with Building Roots as an urban gardener coordinator, with North York Community House as a Strong Neighborhood Coordinator, and currently Project Lead with the Jane Finch Community Research Partnership. Her food business, Adda Blooms, seeks to work with small-scale farmers to bring ancestral foods worldwide. Her blog, https://abenaoffehgyimah.com/, seeks to explore the intersections between food, culture, and equity. Abena is passionate about preserving indigenous plants, seeds, and seeks to work in collaboration with small scale African farmers to grow and preserve ancestral foods.

Farwa Arshad is a 3rd year student at York University majoring in Global Health and specializing in health policy, management, and systems. She works for the Jane Finch Community Research Partnership as a community research associate and is currently working on establishing an open-access community-based repository containing academic articles on the Jane Finch community. She is also involved in the York University community as the president of the Global Health Students’ Association, the representative body for the Global Health degree program, and as the careers coordinator for her faculty-associated colleges.

Shenali Don is an undergraduate student pursuing communication studies and human resources management and working towards a career in public relations. In addition to being the programs manager of the Flaunt It Movement, she is also a research coordinator for the Jane Finch Community Research Partnership. Throughout her time at Flaunt It, Shenali has successfully planned and supported a number of community-based campaigns including major events.

This panel was initiated by the Jane Finch Community Research Partnership. It received support from an affiliated SSHRC-funded  project led  by Patricia E. Perkins, Professor in the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change at York University.

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