Engaged Scholarship: Reflections from a Multi-Talented, National Partnership Seeking to Strengthen Capacity for Sustainability

  • Maureen G. Reed
  • H. Godmaire
  • Marc-Andre Guertin
  • Dominique Potvin
  • Paivi Abernethy
Keywords: community-engaged scholarship, research partnerships, biosphere reserves, research facilitation, collective learning


This paper describes a national partnership of academic researchers, government representatives, and sustainability practitioners who sought to strengthen the capacity of 16 biosphere reserve organizations working across Canada to promote sustainability through collective learning and networking strategies. We begin by situating our work within traditions of community-engaged scholarship and appreciative inquiry, and then ask participants to reflect directly on the questions. We then draw attention to four key themes: building and maintaining trust; setting clear and confirmed expectations; establishing structured and multi-lateral facilitation; and finding the sweet spot for our collective practice. Our reflections address common themes of community-engaged scholarship, including addressing cross-cultural challenges and finding joy in working together.