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Community Engagement

The Art of Change


How does change happen? Students in the Art of Change set out to investigate this question while connecting the theories of change and systems thinking with real-world practice. A key component of the course is the Art of Change podcast, which was produced with funding support from the province of Ontario’s eCampusOntario Virtual Learning Strategy. The podcast is centered around the voices of change-agents in Hamilton and beyond, and introduces students to case studies that highlight the tools and skills needed to support change at individual, systems, and organizational levels. The course and podcast are centered around, but not limited to, themes and topics related to the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, truth and reconciliation, infrastructure and housing, as well as equity, diversity and inclusion.

Course Information

Academic Calendar Link Learn More

Visit McMaster’s Academic Calendar for more information on the Art of Change (3A03) course.

Course Outline Download a Sample Outline

This interdisciplinary course will equip students with the skills and tools they need to support and lead change-based initiatives for a better world. Building on foundational principles of community engagement, students will learn about theories of change, systems thinking, organizational theory and structures, and facilitation techniques and tools used to support community change.

Case studies of real-life change initiatives will ground these theories in real-life contexts that help students to understand both how change happens and how individuals can make change when tackling real-world issues. Students will also be provided with an opportunity to work with the Office of Community Engagement on a collaborative project that applies learning towards a real-life community issue. Three hours; One term. Prerequisite(s): Registration in Level III or IV.

Winter 2021-22 Semester Projects

Project Team 1: Inclusionary Zoning & Transit Oriented Development

Exploring municipal and provincial levers to advance inclusion of affordable housing policies into plans for the Hamilton Light Rail Transit corridor.

This work would align with the Hamilton Community Benefits Network.

Project Partner: Karl Andrus
Students: Amandeep Saini, Hartley Kostrzewa, Summer Akhtar, Ali Siddiqui, Raagavi Ramenthiran

Project Team 2: Intensification and Affordable Housing

Increasing the Spectrum of Housing Choices: Building on outcomes of the Stop the Sprawl movement, this work would focus on identifying levers required to broaden the spectrum of housing options as Hamilton increases density targets. This could also involve exploring opportunities to educate the public on what these options are.

This work would align with Environment Hamilton.

Project Partner: Lynda Lukasik
Students:  Kailey Cutillo, Ardyn Gibbs, Thalia Thompson, Zoe Ullyett, Rachel Carson

Project Team 3: Housing Displacement and Supply

How do we prevent people who are in precarious housing circumstances from being displaced? As housing options in the region become increasingly expensive, how might we preserve affordable housing stock?

This work would align with Acorn Hamilton.

Project Partner: Olivia O’Connor
Students:  Kemi Adesina, Alysha Birdi, Victoria Sawicki, Victoria Iro, Mar Tut, Vithuyan Sugumar

Project Team 4: Amenities and Wrap Around Services

What supports are required for people living in affordable housing units with regards to support services and amenities? What barriers do people face and how might these be removed? What are the unique barriers that specific communities and/or marginalized groups face in relation housing?

This work would align with the YWCA Hamilton and United Way Halton and Hamilton.

Project Partner: Violetta Nikolskaya (YWCA), Kirstin Webb (UWHH)
Students: Bianca Mancino, Sharon Lim, Nicole Schandl, Arden Jacoby, Katelyn Curkan

The Art of Change Podcast

Welcome To the Art of Change Listen Now

What is The Art of Change? In this introductory episode, the instructional team sits down to talk about Zoom meetings, Trello boards, and the development of The Art of Change course and podcast.

Guests: Dave Heidebrecht, Randy Kay, Ananya Yadav, Julia Menezes

Written Transcript

Hamilton's LRT Project Listen Now

How does change happen within and outside of organizations? In Episode 2, Maureen Wilson and Ryan McGreal reflect on the time needed for change to occur in the context of Hamilton’s Light Rail Transit (LRT) project. Then, Karl Andrus speaks about the power of community in voicing change through community benefits.

Guests: Maureen Wilson, Ryan McGreal, Karl Andrus

Written Transcript

Just Recovery Hamilton Listen Now

How can the Just Recovery model be used to influence change? In Episode 3, Kim Martin, Lynda Lukasik, and Kojo Damptey speak about their work with Just Recovery Hamilton: a coalition of 11 community organizations in Hamilton, Ontario that formed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Guests: Kim Martin, Lynda Lukasik, Kojo Damptey

Written Transcript

Public Space and the COVID-19 Pandemic Learn More

How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed how we think about and use public space? In Episode 4, Jason Cassis discusses Hamilton’s pandemic patio program and the seasonal pedestrianization of King William Street. Then, Koubra Haggar and Merima Menzildzic speak about their work with the Hamilton Encampment Support Network and the City of Hamilton’s response to encampments in public parks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Guests: Jason Cassis, Koubra Haggar, Merima Menzildzic

Written Transcript

Housing Affordability in Hamilton Listen Now

How have individuals and organizations approached the ‘wicked’ problem of housing affordability? In Episode 5, Nrinder Nann and Medora Uppal speak about their work to tackle the supply side of housing affordability with the Hamilton is Home coalition. Then, Calogero Mattina describes how Hamilton’s Community Land Trust is working to address the challenge of perpetual affordability.

Guests: Nrinder Nann, Medora Uppal, Calogero Mattina

Written Transcript

Activism: from Red Hill Valley to Stop Sprawl HamOnt Listen Now

What’s the role of activism in changemaking processes? In Episode 6, Don McLean and Michael Doxtater reflect on their experiences with activism in Hamilton’s Red Hill Valley. Shifting to contemporary efforts, Lilly Noble discusses activism in the context of Hamilton’s proposed urban boundary expansion.

Guests: Don McLean, Michael Doxtater, Lilly Noble

Written Transcript

Climate Policy Change Listen Now

How can policymaking be used to address climate change? In Episode 7, Catherine McKenna reflects on her work negotiating federal climate targets and action plans as Canada’s former Minister of Environment and Climate Change. Then, Carole Saab discusses the role of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in advancing intergovernmental conversations about climate policy.

Guests: Catherine McKenna, Carole Saab

Written Transcript

Championing EDI at McMaster University (Part 1) Listen Now

How have individuals and coalitions advanced equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) at McMaster University? Episode 8 is Part 1 of a 2-part series about organizational change. In Part 1, Dr. Ameil Joseph shares his experience advocating for change with respect to EDI at McMaster as part of groups such as PACBIC and ACFAM.

Guest: Dr. Ameil Joseph

Written Transcript

Championing EDI at McMaster University (Part 2) Listen Now

How have individuals and coalitions advanced equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) at McMaster University? Episode 9 is Part 2 of a 2-part series about organizational change. In Part 2, Dr. Arig al Shaibah speaks about the importance of action planning and fostering hope when advancing organizational change. Then, May-Marie Duwai-Sowa discusses the role of data collection in organizational change processes.

Guests: Dr. Arig al Shaibah, May-Marie Duwai-Sowa

Written Transcript

Change in Action: Organizing a Community Dialogue Listen Now

What projects have students been championing in the Art of Change course? Episode 10 is a course-update, as students from the Art of Change course join community partners from the Just Recovery Hamilton Coalition to speak about their work planning a dialogue on the topic of housing.

Guests: Ananya Yadav, Vithuyan Sugumar, Katelyn Curkan, Karl Andrus, Lynda Lukasik

Written Transcript is coming soon!

Public Art and Social Change Listen Now

How is visual art implicated in social, political, and personal change processes? In episode 11, artist and educator Hiba Abdallah speaks about the role of public art in challenging perspectives, building community, and poking at systems.

Guests: Hiba Abdallah

Written Transcript is coming soon!

Podcast Hosts