Host the Feminist Research Cafe, of course! Dr. May Chazan has led the students of WMST 3031 Doing Feminist Research throughout the winter semester to carry out their own research projects.

Each of these students took a required preliminary women’s studies course, Discovering Feminist Research, in order to learn about the ethics involved with research and the feminist research methodology that constantly takes ethics into consideration. Throughout the preliminary course, students created a research proposal.

Now in Doing Feminist Research, the students carried out a portion of their research. The experience, combined with required readings and lectures, has helped the students build their skills as researchers for social change.

The influence of anti-oppressive and critical race perspectives on feminist research practice is highlighted, the syllabus reads.

In some cases, topics shifted as many students chose to work in pairs or small groups. In all cases, the students provided a local organization the research they conducted.

Access to research could do many things for an organization. Students Tori De Schiffart and Eugenia Ochoa have worked together this semester to discover whether women face issues or barriers in accessing the Drop-in program at The Stop Community Food Centre.

This research can provide direct and personal insight to The Stop Community Food Centre.

Students Alicia Popelier, Staffany Trites and Joy Doonan worked together throughout the semester to focus on experiences of women incarcerated in remand programs.

These women are held in some form of custody before their trial. The group of students discovered systematic flaws, which can affect criminalized women more severely than criminalized men. This research could be shared with a number of organizations advocating for incarcerated women.

Some research is more specific to the community of Peterborough. Melissa Hunt and Breanna Webb led a focus group with a staff and student placement, both worked at the Cameron House.

The purpose was to learn what kind of support and training are currently in place for the shelter staff of Peterborough.

The support and training that Hunt and Webb specifically looked at were that which assisted staff in working with survivors of domestic violence and who have a mental illness, principally PTSD.

The two further looked to discover what resources the staff felt should be provided to them to enhance their knowledge. Hunt and Webb found that funding cuts are affecting the culture of Peterborough’s shelters and wish to further understand how they are adapting.

Students Danielle Dika and Abigail Kent also looked into the Peterborough community by closely analyzing the print and online publications of employment agencies.

Dika and Kent further analyzed the detailing services and programs alongside other publications to understand how these agencies depict and represent certain groups of people in terms of age, race, class and gender.  

This research can help Peterborough employment agencies fix any inequalities and other issues in their representation and programs.

Some students looked into the Trent University community for their answers. I, a student, looked to the Bachelor of Arts undergraduate students at Trent to understand the attitudes and perceptions that exist towards sex work.

These are just some of the dedicated women that will be presenting their findings to the Trent community on March 31, from 10 a.m. to noon in the OC Commons. All are invited to attend.

The students will be happy to explain their research story and answer any questions you may have.

In the spirit of a true research café, light refreshments and snacks will be available!

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You know that crazy cat lady with red hair, a love for charity, and a passion for social justice? That’s me. I view everything in a critical light and am dedicated to bringing readers the alternative side of the truth.

After Spring 2016, I will be entering my fifth and final year at Trent University as a Woman Studies and Business student. Where I will go next? Who knows! But I forsee a dozen cats in my future, and a long life in the Arthur newspaper’s future.