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Anti-Poverty Community Organizing and Learning (APCOL)

Learning Activism


Like us on FaceBookThe APCOL project is a community-university action research project focussing on how people learn to engage, re-engage, as well as remain unengaged in various forms of anti-poverty activism. It explores this learning in relation to various types of anti-poverty initiatives, campaigns, programming as well as everyday neighbourhood life and biography.

Action research activities of the project include grassroots organizing and case studies in eight Toronto neighbourhoods matched with a community/university researcher co-designed and co-administered, city-wide anti-poverty activism survey.

The project is co-led by Sharon Simpson (Labour Community Services, Toronto) and Peter Sawchuk (University of Toronto) and is funded by the Canadian government’s Social Science and Humanities Research Council’s Community University Research Alliance program (2009-2014).

It includes partnership with a range of community organizations and resident groups from eight of the 13 neighbourhoods designated as high priority in terms of poverty challenges in the City of Toronto. It also involves student researchers and professors from four of Toronto’s higher education institutions: University of Toronto, Ryerson University, York University and George Brown College.


The goals of the APCOL project are to:

  • contribute to local neighbourhood capacity to engage in anti-poverty work as they define it;
  • contribute to effective cross-linkage of community anti-poverty initiatives across the Greater Toronto Area;
  • build understanding of the role of community-led organizing in the broader processes of positive social, political and economic change;
  • expand the base of research knowledge on the role of informal learning and popular education in anti-poverty work and social movement development. 

Read more about the project



APCOL is funded by the Canadian governmentís Social Science and Humanities Research Councilís Community University Research Alliance program


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