Engaging for Change

Engaging for Change

A wide variety of organizations in the Guelph-Wellington region have had on-going conversations about the nature of social planning and decision-making in our current complex web of networks. In response, a partnership and several interrelated projects were developed. From this, a proposal for funding was jointly submitted called “Engaging for Change: Practicing Collaboration and Planning in Guelph-Wellington”. While our proposal was not successful, partners remain committed and we have proceeded with some internally funded projects. The current projects include Photovoice, WorkTogether.ca, and a speaker series for engaging for change.

Photovoice: Living Healthy, Well and Strong

Community researchers from six neighbourhoods in Guelph investigated what living healthy and well looks like in their communities using photography to display their findings. These photos were used to look at both the challenges and celebrations of the community. The findings were then used to inform the City of Guelph’s Community Well Being Initiative.

Living Healthy, Well and Strong was first presented in several public shows in the Fall of 2011 and Winter of 2012. The community researchers were trained to take photos ethically and to represent the theme “living healthy, well, and strong in your neighbourhood”. This work was displayed from November 28th to December 1st in Old Quebec Street Mall, and from December 7th to 21st, 2011 in the City Hall Galleria.

For more information, check out the Photovoice: Living Healthy, Well and Strong website.


WorkTogether.ca was a website created to meet the demand from those interested in community collaboration through sharing knowledge, resources, and connections with individuals, organizations, and collaborations in Guelph-Wellington. This searchable website housed collaboration resources and tools, a library of locally relevant community reports, and primers on how and why to collaborate and engage. Leads of the project were the Volunteer Centre, 10 Carden and the Research Shop.

The website is no longer available but if you would like to view resources from the website, check out the Engaging for Change resources on the Atrium

Community reports and data access:

Working group, made up of project leads attempted to develop criteria and data access protocol to share what might be used as community level indicators collected by different organizations. The leads for this project are Family & Children’s Services, WDG Public Health and the United Way.

30,000 Feet

30,000 feet was a group of community organization leaders and municipal staff who discussed collaboration and social planning. The group worked to explore a shared governance model, mechanisms for communication, and forms of accountability and data sharing between local non-profit organizations. They also considered what a social planning body, which looks across efforts at community impact might look like. This project later evolved into the Toward Common Ground project.

Engaging for Change Speaker Series

The Engaging for Change Speaker Series provided expert and practical conversations about how to engage and work with stakeholders. There were three events which were held in November and December of 2011. At the event, there were participants from the City of Guelph, 10 Carden, the Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship, and many community advocates and facilitators. The series was hosted by Barb Powell, the General Manager for Community Engagement with the City of Guelph, and Linda Hawkins, the Director of the Community Engaged Scholarship Institute and Research Shop. The three talks were:

  • "Democracy circles: the practical applications in various planning and community development contexts" by Wayne Caldwell, Director, School of Environmental Design & Rural Development, University of Guelph;
  • "Public deliberation: Achieving meaningful public input for complex issues" by Kieran O'Doherty, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Guelph, and;
  • "The good, the bad, and the ugly side of engagement: What are the enabling conditions?" by Ricardo Ramirez, Consultant and Adjunct Professor, University of Guelph.

To view resources from the speaker presentations, see the Engaging for Change resources on the Atrium