Program Coordinator (interim)
Sarah Switzer is an adult educator, interdisciplinary scholar, and community-based participatory researcher with almost fifteen years of experience supporting 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 a vial of glitter (and other fun objects). 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.
Her larger program of research focuses on the methodological, theoretical, and pedagogical dimensions of participation and community engagement, as inspired by a decade of working at the intersections of community arts, peer programming, and HIV and Harm Reduction. More recently, she has turned her attention to exploring how community-engaged practitioners (participatory researchers, community artists and community facilitators) are adapting their participatory work with communities to online and remote settings, as a result of COVID-19, and the unique ethical and pedagogical issues that emerge (Seethe beyondthetoolkit project for more).
She completed a PhD in Environmental Studies (York University) and held a SSHRC post-doctoral fellowship at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. She 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. She currently lives in Tkaronto (Toronto), as covered by Treaty 13 and the Williams treaties, with her partner.