'Race: The Lived Experience' - A Multi-Media Mural Exhibit and Workshop by Hartford Youth Researchers
High school youth action researchers from The Institute for Community Research, working with artists Victor Pacheco and Luella Pavey, and staff from the Youth Action Research Institute have created a mobile mural on racism. The mural reflects findings from research that 30 Hartford teens conducted with their peers and adults during ICR’s 2007 Summer Youth Research Institute. Using interview, survey, and visual research methods, the youth researchers studied how racism experienced by Hartford teens is a function of attitudes and behaviors of adults and youth, the educational system and the media. They surveyed 133 youth, conducted interviews with 16 adults and youth,and produced a documentary, Docin’ Da Beat, through which they deepened their own critical consciousness while exploring predictors of racism and how they manifest in everyday life. The mural and related programming will be presented at four venues through Connecticut during April and May.
Mural Exhibition Schedule
Exhibit Explores Cape Verdean Stonemasonry Traditions
A remarkable exhibit of photographs and Cape Verdean stonemasonry will be on view at the Jean J. Schensul Community Gallery at The Institute for Community Research from April 4 to June 14, 2008. The exhibit opening will take place on Friday, April 4 from 5 to 8 pm, and will include a presentation on Cape Verdean history, language, and dance by students from Norwich Free Academy; a wine tasting offered by a Cape Verdean vintner; and Cape Verdean food. The gallery is located at 2 Hartford Square West, Ste. 100 (146 Wyllys Street), in Hartford, CT; gallery hours are 10 am to 5 pm on weekdays or by appointment.
Press Release | Postcard Invitation | View Images
Bus Tour Explores Franco-American Culture in Connecticut
A lively, educational bus tour will celebrate one of Connecticut’s signature resources – maple syrup – and its roots in French Canadian culture. Guided by Connecticut Cultural Heritage Arts Program (CHAP) Director Lynne Williamson, tour participants will visit the 18th Annual Maple Festival in Hebron to learn about the production of maple syrup and then travel to East Hartford for a traditional French-Canadian soirée. The tour is a collaboration between CHAP, a program of The Institute for Community Research (ICR), and Manchester Community College. The tour bus will depart from Manchester Community College’s Parking Lot C on Saturday, March 8, 2008, at 10 am, and will return to MCC by 7 pm. The fee for the tour, which includes transportation, food at the soirée, and entertainment, is $75. Advanced registration is required; please call Manchester Community College Continuing Education at 860-512-3232 or 860-512-2800 to register.
Peer Health Advocates Promote HIV Prevention Through Personal Art
Each month a group of Peer Health Advocates (PHAs) gather at The Institute for Community Research (ICR) in Hartford, CT to build their knowledge and skills, and to discuss important community issues. These PHAs, trained through ICR’s Risk Avoidance Partnership (Project RAP), deliver harm reduction and HIV prevention messages and materials to those at risk for HIV infection in their communities. Over several months, the PHAs created artwork conveying HIV prevention and harm reduction messages as well as personal messages of family, hope and healing. RAP It!, an exhibition of their work, will be on display at the WindhamARTS Collaborative’s Next Step Gallery, 866 Main Street, Willimantic, CT from March 13 through April 9, 2008, with an opening reception on Thursday, March 13 from 5 to 7 pm.
HIV Forum Focuses on Latest Scientific Findings
The latest science on HIV/AIDS will be the topic of February's Hartford HIV Forum. Kevin Dieckhaus, M.D., Chief of Infectious Diseases at the University of Connecticut Health Center, will speak on Tuesday, February 12, 2008 from 12:00-1:30 pm at The Institute for Community Research, 2 Hartford Square West, Suite 100, 146 Wyllys Street, Hartford. Dr. Dieckhaus will present an update from the 15th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) to be held in early February in Boston, MA. The CROI is a scientifically focused meeting of the world's leading researchers working to understand, prevent, and treat HIV/AIDS and its complications. The HIV forum is free; lunch will be provided and advanced registration is required at 860-278-2044. The Hartford HIV Forum is presented by ICR and the CT AIDS Education and Training Center.
ICR Releases Project Findings for Female Condom Study
Female condoms were introduced worldwide in 1992. Since then, the female condom has proven as effective as the male condom in preventing both unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, when it is used consistently and correctly. Though studies have shown high acceptability of the female condom in many populations around the world and in this country, female condom use remains low.
In 2004 The Institute for Community Research in Hartford was funded by the National Institute on Mental Health to explore factors that enhance or impede the use of female condoms for HIV/STI prevention. Results from the study, which included a survey of 500 women in Hartford, CT, are now available in summary format and poster presentation. Click here for more female condom project details.
Watch a Channel 8 News interview with ICR Executive Director Margaret Weeks about the project findings. Click here to read a recent news article about the female condom project.
Drug-Free Community Concert Draws Big Crowd
Over 200 people attended the "Xperience: Vol. II" CD Release Show on Saturday, January 19, 2008 at the Charter Oak Cultural Center. The audience was entertained by Xperience rappers, singers, poets, and dancers who had been preparing for this event as well as the release of their new CD for about 4 months. Their original works of art, conveying drug prevention messages, were well received by the community who attended the concert in support of drug-free entertainment for youth in the Hartford area. Audience members received a free copy of the "Xperience: Vol. II" CD at the end of the show. The Xperience team will be working towards a new show and CD with a new group of youth this spring.
View Pictures | Show Press Release
ICR Executive Director Collaborates with 4researchers
Executive Director Margaret Weeks, Ph.D., is a contributor at 4researchers.org, a project funded by the National Institute of Mental Health that disseminates practical "how-to" information about conducting research through online video interviews. Weeks has recently completed a series of five interviews on a broad range of topics. Applying anthropological principles
Challenges with supervising staff in fieldwork situations
Critical local connections
Setting up a local partnership
Challenges with translating a Hartford, CT survey for use in China
ICR Announces 5-Year HIV Prevention Study in China
The Institute for Community Research has begun a new 5-year study, entitled “High-risk Establishments and Women’s HIV Prevention in Southern China.” The intervention encourages sex workers to use the female condom as an HIV/STD prevention method. Continuing a longstanding collaboration, U.S. and Chinese investigators will work with Hainan and Guanxi provincial health departments, local communities, and sex-work establishment proprietors to conduct the study in two rural and two mid-sized urban towns in these provinces. Researchers will identify, through triangulated data, which characteristics are most likely to affect risk and intervention outcomes. The project has significant public health implications, because increased female condom use would reduce sexual HIV transmission in this high-risk population, and therefore in the broader population of their sexual networks.
Symposium Addresses the “Downlow” Phenomenon and HIV Risk Among Women
The “downlow” refers to secret sex among men who don’t identify as gay, and who are often in relationships with women. “My concern is for women who are being faithful and have no clue that this is going on,” says CeCe Jones. In addition to her position as Membership Services Coordinator at the Connecticut AIDS Resource Coalition (CARC), Jones has founded Sing for Change, a non-profit that works with churches to fight the spread of HIV. To shed light on the hidden community of the downlow, Jones organizes symposiums across the state of Connecticut that invite women to learn more about the downlow and HIV risk. A forum sponsored by CARC, The Institute for Community Research (ICR), and True Colors, Inc., took place at ICR, 146 Wyllys St. in Hartford, on Tuesday, September 11, 2007, from 6-8 pm. The event was free and open to the public; light refreshments were served.
ICR Receives Federal Grant to Study MDMA Use; Announces New Position
The National Institute on Drug Abuse recently awarded The Institute for Community Research a 3-year grant to study MDMA and STD/HIV Risk Among Hidden Networks of Ecstasy-Using Young Adults in the Greater Hartford area. Through qualitative methods, researchers will explore the contexts in which ecstasy use is more likely to lead to sexual risk taking. Collecting data through focus groups, in-depth interviews, and field ethnography, researchers hope to craft interventions around ecstasy use reinforcing pathways that to protection, and eliminating those leading to unprotected sex. Read on for more details about the study.
Youth Researchers Spend Summer Exploring Impact of Racism on Hartford Teens
Fifteen-year-old Sherrie Mark remembers when her family first came to Hartford from Grenada, an English-speaking country in the Caribbean. “They put my little sister in a class to teach her English, like it was her second language,” she says in disbelief. “No matter where you go, racism is everywhere.” Thirty youth researchers from Hartford (ages 14-17) working at The Institute for Community Research’s Summer Youth Research Institute (SYRI) have chosen to investigate how racism affects them and their peers, specifically through educational systems, the media, and people’s attitudes, behaviors and opinions. The teens presented their findings, based on interviews, surveys, and visual research, to the community on Friday, August 10, 2007. The event took place at The Institute for Community Research, 146 Wyllys St. in Hartford. The presentation, including a debut of an original documentary, took place from 1-4 pm; a reception followed from 4-5 pm. The event was free and open to the public.
Press Release | Invitation (pdf) | View images from the event
Xperience Hartford Seeks Talented Young Artists
Xperience Hartford, a drug prevention program partnering with young adults (ages 14-20), sought fresh talent to be part of community-wide drug-free entertainment shows. Singers, dancers, rappers, poets, spoken word artists, bands, musicians, choirs, dj's, step and drill teams, actors, comedians, visual artists and any others auditioned between August 6-25, 2007. In addition to the talent show, Xperience artists have opportunities to be featured on an enhanced Xperience Vol. II CD, have a bio-page posted on our website, and make guest appearances at other Hartford-area events. The Xperience Vol. 1 CD-release party on May 5, 2007 drew over 180 people, including over 100 youth. The program, which began in the summer of 2006, aims to support young people's choice not to use drugs or alcohol and improve adult perceptions of youth through hosting substance free shows and other social events featuring positive-minded youth-produced entertainment. Xperience is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the project is a collaboration among The Institute for Community Research, The University of Connecticut Center for Health Communication and Marketing, the Hartford Animation Institute, and MiCasa Family Services & Educational Center, Inc. For more information, including how to participate in the auditions, please contact the Xperience team at 860-982-9985, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.xperiencehartford.org.
Call for artists postcard (pdf): front | back
Crossroads II Conference Opens with Reception for Exhibit “Explorations of Social and Environmental Justice Issues”
The Institute for Community Research’s (ICR) second international conference, Crossroads II: Community-Based Collaborative Research for Social Justice, began on June 7, 2007 as conference participants joined community members for Explorations of Social and Environmental Justice Issues. For the interdisciplinary, mixed media exhibit, participating artists displayed work to represent, advocate, and ameliorate social justice issues. Many artists and others featured in the exhibit also took part in panel sessions throughout the three-day conference. The opening reception featured an introduction from ICR Artistic Director and exhibit curator Colleen Coleman, and a performance by the Alvin Carter trio.
View images from the gallery exhibit
Gallery Postcard (back) | Gallery Postcard (front)
Crossroads II: Community-Based Collaborative Research for Social Justice Draws Hundreds to Hartford
From June 7-9, 2007, roughly four hundred researchers, activists, cultural leaders, funders, community members, educators, artists, and healthcare professionals convened in Hartford, CT to share experiences and gain insights about community-based collaborative research for social justice. Crossroads II, the second international conference sponsored by The Institute for Community Research in Hartford, featured local, national and international experts presenting research with such populations as People Living with HIV/AIDS; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender; youth; artists; immigrants; and more. In addition to pre-conference workshops and a community tour of Hartford, conference attendees enjoyed keynote performances in story telling, dance and music, as well as speeches discussing how to use community-based research to create change. The conference’s three main themes were addressing the root causes of inequities in health, criminal justice, education, the environment, and economic development; translating and adapting science-based interventions to be effective in diverse, real-life settings; and integrating artistic and cultural expression with research. Over 60 abstracts presented at the conference are available for download here (pdf). A gallery exhibition, "Explorations of Social and Environmental Justice Issues," complemented the conference.
View images from the conference
Conference Program | Conference Highlights
Youth Action Research Institute Holds Legislative Summit on Teen Dating Violence
Teen researchers from Guilford, Hartford, Killingly, and Windham presented their findings from a yearlong collaborative research project on Teen Dating Violence in Connecticut. Sponsored by The Institute for Community Research, the legislative summit on June 13, 2007 included a performance by Touchstone Poets and presentations of findings by youth researchers from the four communities. To measure the prevalence of teen dating violence in Connecticut, youth researchers surveyed 428 teens from their communities about their experiences. They also conducted interviews and pile sorts with youth and adults. The youth were particularly concerned that so many of their peers reported having no one to turn to when experiencing teen dating violence. The research and summit were supported by The Institute for Community Research, the Office of the Child Advocate, the CT Girl Scouts, the Center for Youth Leadership, the CT Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, and The Perrin Family Foundation.
Presentation (pdf) | View presentation (on CT Network)
Community-Based Research Conference Draws International Audience to Hartford
The Institute for Community Research (ICR) announced its second international conference, Crossroads II: Community-Based Collaborative Research for Social Justice. Through interactive workshops, artistic performances, keynote speeches, film screenings, a gallery exhibit, and more, participants explored how community-based collaborative research (CBCR) can be used to address the root causes of social injustice worldwide. Among the conference’s dozens of locally, nationally and internationally known presenters were researchers, activists, cultural leaders, funders, community members, educators, artists, and healthcare professionals, who shared their experiences in CBCR as they formed new networks and generated new understanding. The conference took place from June 7-9, 2007, at the Hartford Hilton in Hartford, CT.
Press Release | Crossroads II Program
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