Sarah Switzer

Senior Researcher
PhD Environmental Studies
York University

Sarah Switzer is an adult educator and community-based participatory researcher with almost fifteen years of experience working on community-led 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.  Her toolkit often contains a cellphone or camera, flip-chart markers, a bag of lego blocks, some glue sticks, and an expired box of tick-tacks (or other fun objects).


In 2021, Sarah joined the CCBR team as a senior researcher. She has been involved in many community-based research and knowledge mobilization projects. Her larger program of research focuses on the methodological, theoretical, and pedagogical dimensions of participation and community engagement, as inspired by over a decade of working and teaching at the intersections of community arts, peer programming, and HIV and Harm Reduction. More recently, she turned her attention to how community-engaged practitioners are adapting their participatory work with communities to online and remote settings. She specializes in creative and arts-based approaches to disseminating knowledge. 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 and social justice at the centre.


Sarah has published in the fields of participatory visual methodologies; harm reduction; youth engagement; HIV community-based research; visual 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, locally and internationally. She lives in Tkaronto (Toronto), as covered by Treaty 13 and the Williams treaty, with her partner.