2.2.1 | Increased Community Presence is Not a Proxy for Reciprocity

  • Post category:2.2
  • Reading time:1 mins read
By Emily Janke


Vector-design of hands touching many gears

Community voice, alongside academic voice, is essential to the core community engagement principle of reciprocity—the seeking, recognizing, respecting, and incorporating the knowledge, perspectives, and resources that each partner brings to a collaboration. Increasing the extent to which academic conferences honor reciprocity with community members is important for many reasons. For example, community perspectives often enhance knowledge generation and potentially transform scholarship, practice, and outcomes for all stakeholders. However, community presence and participation at academic conferences tends to be thin despite best intentions and resources generated to support community partner travel. This article relates the author’s experience in organizing an academic conference and explores the differences between community member presence and truly reciprocal university partnerships between local and academic communities.