"Digital justice provides spaces through which people can investigate community problems, generate solutions, create media and organize together."
by Our Data Bodies
Community Research Incubator
We believe that the people most impacted by an issue are best positioned to discover the root causes and solutions of that issue. They are the ones with the firsthand experience, social context, insights, and networks that are necessary to fully unearth the whole story behind a deep-rooted problem. This understanding is what galvanized us to create our Community Research Incubator, an annual program that recruits and trains community members in research methodology and data storytelling. The Community Research Incubator is RCRC's flagship program. It truly embodies our core principles.
Each Community Researcher in this program is given a stipend, mentorship, access to resources, and training to launch their own research project over the course of 24-weeks. The program culminates in a Community Research Expo, which showcases each researcher and their contributions to knowledge and scholarship. All materials that the researchers choose to publish will be also be available here.
WHAT IS THE COMMUNITY RESEARCH INCUBATOR?
The Community Research Incubator is a 24-week (6mos) cohort-based program that includes participant stipends, mentorship services, training, research exhibition, as well as participatory data collection, research, and reporting. During the course of the 24 weeks, Community Researchers are trained and mentored in launching their own research projects within a predetermined topic area. The incubator culminates in a Community Research Expo where Community Researchers will share their work, demo projects, and/or solicit funding to accelerate the growth of their work.
2021’s incubator topic areas include:
Incubator Mentorship and Training
RCRC facilitation will help participants to identify and illustrate problems as systems, clarify points of intervention, raise questions and alternatives when considering varying approaches, provide an accountability mechanism that prioritizes and advocates for the participation of impacted individuals in decision-making and implementation strategies, measuring impact, and help to define actionable goals.
The RCRC will provide training in the following areas: Our Data Bodies’ Community Power Tools for Reclaiming Data, Community-based Participatory Research, Abolitionist Planning, counter-mapping, investigative techniques, health and data equity, data collection, research design, advocacy & policy development, and infographic design. RCRC will also track and monitor the incubator for long term evaluation and impact assessment.
Community Researchers who receive stipends through this program will be required to attend a minimum of 24 research work sessions with RCRC staff. They will also be required to attend all skill labs offered for their cohort.
Who is Eligible to be a Community Researcher?
Community Researcher eligibility hinges on the following credentials:
Applicants can not be a representative or in leadership of a major institution (i.e. a nonprofit, government entity, news media company, university, etc, that has an operational budget in excess of $150,000 annually)
Applicants must either be from a historically and systematically oppressed race, class, or background, AND be connected through lived-experience to their chosen incubator topic area (i.e. property, gender, policing, etc).
KEY DATES & DEADLINES
Monday, May 10, 2021 (11:59 p.m. ET)
Deadline for receipt of completed applications
Click here to access the online application
May 10 - May 28, 2021
Application Review and Applicant Interviews
Notification of awards and incubation period begins
Nov 2021/Dec 2021 - Community Research Expo
Evaluation for the Community Research Incubator will have three main components: 1) a systematic method for monitoring progress toward specific collectively identified goals, 2) a logic model that outlines relationships between interventions and outcomes, and 3) two sets of continuous feedback loops that will happen both during and after incubation periods. The first continuous feedback loop will prioritize the comments and concerns of Community Researchers, and the second will prioritize the feedback of external parties--particularly the feedback of other impacted community members that are not stipend incubator participants.
Direction and technical assistance for this program are provided by RCRC staff and affiliates. RCRC’s investigative staff are experienced research analysts, data analysts, and community organizers. All staff members who engage in research and data collection also maintain the following certifications: