Southern Ontario Social Economy Node (SOSEN; 2005-2011)
The Social Economy Centre of the University of Toronto, Imagine Canada, and the Ontario Co-operative Association partnered together to launch a research alliance that aimed at enhancing capacity for ongoing research and development for the social economy of Southern Ontario. The overall objective was to enhance the capacity of the social economy of Southern Ontario.
This project — a Community-University Research Alliance for Southern Ontario’s Social Economy — consisted of a network of leading scholars from:
- 11 universities in Southern Ontario,
- 24 partner organizations, and
- Scholars from seven universities external to the node whose research was beneficial.
During the project time frame from 2005 to 2011, 35 sub-projects emerged which were grouped into five Research and Practice Clusters:
- Mapping the size and scope of the social economy in this region,
- Understanding the impact of the social economy,
- Improving the capacity of social economy organizations (SEOs) to demonstrate the value of their activities,
- Developing public policy, and
- Extending theory.
This Alliance generated synergy between:
- Researchers and practitioners working in isolation,
- Similar networks in other regions, and
- The social economy internationally.
This research initiative built a future generation of researchers, created a presence for social economy in higher education institutions, and focused heavily on knowledge dissemination. Training of students was a key feature of this Alliance, and for each project, graduate students formed part of the team. The initiative led to the creation of:
- The Association for Nonprofit and Social Economy Research (ANSER),
- The Canadian Journal of Nonprofit and Social Economy Research
- The Social Economy Centre at the University of Toronto (which is now the Centre for Learning, Social Economy & Work, CLSEW), and
- Several books, fact sheets and backgrounders on the sector as well as several journal articles, including the following:
- Green community entrepreneurship: Creative destruction in the social economy (by Travis Gliedt and Paul Parker) in the International Journal of Social Economics in January 2007.
The Community-University Research Alliance for Southern Ontario’s Social Economy was one of seven Canadian research alliances funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) to study the social economy. The Canadian Social Economy Hub acted as a facilitator promoting collaboration among the seven regional research alliances: Québec; Atlantic; Southern Ontario; Manitoba, Saskatchewan & Northern Ontario; BC/Alberta; the North.
Research & Practice Clusters
The overall project had 35 sub-projects. These sub-projects were organized into five Research and Practice Clusters, which were:
- mapping the size and scope of the social economy in this region,
- understanding the impact of the social economy,
- improving the capacity of social economy organizations (SEOs) to demonstrate the value of their activities,
- developing public policy, and
- extending theory.
Southern Ontario Social Economy Community-University Research Alliance Symposium
In May 2008, the project hosted a symposium at the University of Toronto. The presentations featured at the symposium included:
- Mapping social economy organizations (by David Lasby and Mark Ventry)
- Work stoppages in social economy organizations: Dimension, causes and beyond (by Kunle Akingbola)
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