Call for papers – CRITS 4th Annual Conference

From 31 March 2022 to 23 May 2022

Engaging knowledge in social transformation: opportunities and challenges
Call for proposals
4th Annual CRITS Conference
November 3 and 4, 2022
Saint Paul University, Ottawa

The Research Center on Social Transformation and Innovation (CRITS) is launching a call for proposals for the fourth edition of its annual conference. In a world facing numerous social, economic, cultural and ecological crises, research and its contribution to knowledge is being called upon not only to describe, analyze and interpret the world, but to transform it. Far from being limited to the academic sphere, the production, sharing and circulation of knowledge takes shape within social movements, diverse organizations, and solution-seeking communities, in a constant back and forth between theory and practice. Innovative approaches to action research (Bilorusky, 2021; Reason & Bradbury, 2012), creative research (Bruneau & Villeneuve, 2007) and partnership and collaborative research are multiplying (Gillet & Tremblay, 2017), in synergy with organizational learning processes, community-based learning and other alternative forms of pedagogy (Fals-Borda & Rahman, 1991; Etmanski, Hall & Dawson, 2014). Given these developments, current debates address  questions surrounding commitment and positionality of researchers, activist research, critical research, autoethnography, etc. (Pozzebon, 2018; Speed, 2006; Reason, 2006; Reedy & King, 2019). 

Nevertheless, these multiple forms of “engaged research” face important issues and challenges: power relationships between researchers and their objects of study, tensions between distance and engagement, marginalization of knowledge created outside the university, complexity of exchanges with actors confronted with political issues, under-funding of research for practitioners and community organizations, difficulties in conducting research with social movements, the reproduction of epistemic injustices and extractive dynamics with Indigenous communities, and the role of transformative leadership in teaching and research, etc.

In order to identify, analyze and overcome these multiple issues and challenges, this conference seeks to promote a decompartmentalization of practical, theoretical and experiential knowledge between researchers, activists, students, practitioners, think tanks, etc. In order to go beyond the usual cleavages of research inside and outside the university, and to stimulate the crossing of different forms of expression and dialogue, this conference aims to combine contributions in several formats: panels , round tables, workshops, open discussions on practical issues, artistic performances, open forums, educational games, etc. The themes of the conference are built around the following four axes:

  • New and alternative epistemologies

Reflections on knowledge production and circulation: inclusion of marginalized voices, epistemic injustices, standpoint theory, post/decolonial thinking, social epistemology, decolonization of knowledge, etc.

  • Methodological challenges and issues

Analysis of the advantages and problems related to different innovative and alternative research methods: creative research, action research, collaborative research, situated research, transformative research, etc.

  • Pedagogies and research in the community

Contributions and challenges of research and pedagogies outside the university: popular education, organizational learning, community based learning and teaching, role of transformative leadership, etc.

  • Lessons from the field

Sharing practical knowledge about the issues and challenges of field research with social movements, disadvantaged groups, etc. Topics could cover power relations in collaborative research, challenges with funding and related to temporalities of research etc.  


Following closely the evolution of the pandemic and the health guidelines, the conference will be held in person at the Mauril-Bélanger Social Innovation Workshop, located at Saint Paul University, Ottawa. The conference venue is fully wheelchair accessible and is accessible by public transit. Whispered or simultaneous English-French translation is provided. Please let us know your accessibility needs so that we can make the necessary arrangements throughout the organization of the conference.

Presentation of contributions

Proposals should include:

  • Title
  • Abstract (maximum 300 words)
  • Type of intervention: presentation, panel, round table, artistic performance, etc.
  • Choice of focus (Axis) 
  • Name and contact information (affiliation and email)

We accept proposals in English and in French.
For workshops, artistic performances or other alternative contributions, please include : a brief summary of the activity, timing, maximum number of participants and all technical needs (type of room, audiovisual, installation, etc.).

Deadline for submission of proposals: May 23, 2022.
You can send your proposals to:
The call for proposals is available here in pdf: Call for proposals – CRITS Conference 2022

Call for proposals sent: March 31, 2022
Deadline for the call: May 23, 2022
Announcement of results: June 3, 2022

Conference organizers
Jonathan Durand Folco, Saint Paul University
Lauren Levesque, Saint Paul University
Jennifer Bruce, Saint Paul University
Dan Furukawa Marques, Laval University
Marc D. Lachapelle, Université du Québec à Montréal

This fourth CRITS conference is organized in collaboration with the Providence School of Transformative Leadership and Spirituality at Saint Paul University, and the Alban-D’Amours Chair of Excellence in Teaching in Sociology of Cooperation at Laval University.


Bilorusky John A. (2021) Principles and Methods of Transformative Action Research: A Half Century of Living and Doing Collaborative Inquiry. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

Bruneau, Monik & Villeneuve, André (2007). Traiter la recherche création en art. Entre la quete d’un territoire et la singularité des parcours. Québec : Presses de l’Université du Québec.

Etmanski, Catherine, Hall, Budd L. & Dawson, Terasa (2014). Learning and Teaching Community-Based Research. Toronto, University of Toronto Press.

Gillet, Anne & Diane.-Gabrielle. Tremblay (2017) (sous la dir. de). Les recherches partenariales et collaboratives. Québec : Presses de l’Université du Québec.

Fals-Borda, Orlando & Rahman, Muhammad Anisur (dir.) (1991). Action and Knowledge. Breaking the Monopoly with Participatory Action-Research. New York: The Apex Press.

Pozzebon, Marlei (2018). “From aseptic distance to passionate engagement: reflections about the place and value of participatory inquiry” RAUSP Management Journal. 53, p.280-284.

Reason, Peter. (2006). “Choice and Quality in Action Research Practive.” Journal of Management Inquiry, 15(2): 187-203

Reason, Peter et Hilary Bradbury (2012). The SAGE Handbook of Action Research. London: SAGE Publications.

Reedy, Patrick C. & Daniel King (2019). Critical Performativity in the Field: Methodological Principles for Activist Ethnographers. Organizational Research Methods, 22(2): 564-589

Speed, Shannon (2006), “At the Crossroads of Human Rights and Anthropology: Toward a Critically Engaged Activist Research”. American Anthropologist, 108: 66-76.

Photo: Sypapse by M Shields Photography licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Detailed program