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Sarah Switzer

Senior Researcher
PhD Environmental Studies
York University
sarah.s@communitybasedresearch.ca

Sarah Switzer is an adult educator, interdisciplinary scholar, and community-based participatory researcher with fifteen years of experience supporting community-based approaches to social change. She believes in working collaboratively, imaginatively and equitably for social justice and is committed to research done in partnership with communities and community-based organizations.  As an arts-based researcher, her toolkit often contains a cellphone or camera, flip-chart markers, a bag of lego blocks, some glue sticks, a vial of glitter, and an expired box of tick-tacks (or other fun objects). She has worked collaboratively with communities and multi-stakeholder teams to co-create podcasts,  photography exhibits, installations, articles, curriculum, trainings, and more.

In the summer of 2021, Sarah joined the CCBR team as a senior researcher.  Inspired by over a decade of working at the intersections of community arts, peer programming, and HIV and Harm Reduction, her larger program of research focuses on how to meaningfully engage communities who experience marginalization in program or policy change. More recently, she led participatory research on how community-engaged practitioners (participatory researchers, community artists and community facilitators) are adapting their participatory work with communities to online and remote settings during COVID-19, and the unique ethical and pedagogical issues that emerge (see: www.beyondthetoolkit.com). Her lived experiences as a white, cis, queer settler, with an invisible disability has motivated her desire to co-design and co-imagine participatory spaces with accessibility, anti-racism and social justice at the centre.

Sarah has published in the fields of:  participatory visual methodologies; community-based participatory research; creative knowledge translation and co-design; harm reduction and HIV/AIDS; youth engagement; participatory research ethics; and the critical study of participation and engagement. Prior to joining CCBR, Sarah held a SSHRC post-doctoral fellowship at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. Sarah spends her free time hiking, gardening, creative writing and cycling. She lives in Tkaronto (Toronto), as covered by Treaty 13 with her partner.

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