Key Terms Guiding our Work

  1. Intersectionality
  2. Inclusive Practice
  3. Livelihoods
  4. Care Relationships
  5. Knowledge Mobilization


What is it?

Intersectionality offers a unique framework for analyzing challenges surrounding diversity and inequity. As understood by Hankivsky, intersectionality can alter how social problems are experienced, identified and understood as A Quote from Audre Lorde, "there is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.lived experiences. It can be applied as a theory, a practice, a paradigm, or a lens to understand experiences. Intersectionality seeks to address and understand human beings as their lived experiences are shaped by the interaction of different social structures – race, Indigeneity, gender, class, sexuality, age, dis/ability, religion, among others. 

These overlapping categorizations create layers of discrimination or disadvantage and recognize people’s unique experience in the world. For example, a trans woman of colour may face multiple levels of discrimination such as heterosexism  and racism, but her experience may also vary according to other social dimensions, eg: ableism, classism, xenophobia, among others. Some argue that intersectionality helps us to understand the complexity of prejudices and unique locations of people based on their “overlapping identities and experiences”.

Explore more by viewing a video by Kimberlé Crenshaw on intersectionality or browse a curated list of podcasts.

Why is it important to the Centre?

The term intersectionality is attributed to Kimberlé Crenshaw and has evolved over time. Crenshaw, a leading scholar in critical race theory, feminist theory, and American civil rights, argues that individual identities and experiences create multiple levels of social injustice, which we must take action against. She also argues in her TED talk on intersectionality that if we do not recognize overlapping layers of discrimination, we risk falling into a “trickle-down approach to social justice” where marginalized individuals and groups fall through the cracks of our social movements. Further, we risk people falling through the cracks in policy development and implementation in areas of poverty eradication and reduction,  health equity, particularly among Indigenous populations, mental health, migration, and community supports and programs, among others.

How can we put it into practice?

As a practice, intersectionality extends to policy makers, human rights activists and community organizations who are searching for better approaches to tackling complex social issues. To incorporate intersectionality into research, there are some broad questions to consider:Flower shape graphic depicting intersection factors such as sex, gender, race, age/

  • Who is the research for, and does it advance the needs of those under study?
  • Is the research framed within the current cultural, economic, and societal context? Does it reflect the self-identified needs of the affected communities?
  • How will interactions at the individual levels be addressed or linked to social institutions or broader structures? 

For community events, services or projects consider:

  • You may track who is and who is not accessing your services and why they might not be reaching certain populations.
  • Ask participants and community members – what worked and why? What could have been done differently? What adjustment and changes are required?
  • Acknowledge that racism, classism, sexism, and other institutional forms of oppression intersect and exist.
  • Ask the other question: ask how less evident social structures may impact the experiences of people located at the intersection of other oppression. For example, how does racism, sexuality, Indigeneity impact the lives of women with disabilities? 

For a greater understanding of how intersectionality can play a role in public services, read Julianne Acker-Verney’s Changing Public Services: Intersectionality and the Experiences of Women with Disabilities.
For more information on putting intersectionality into practice in your work or in community settings, check out The Opportunity Agenda’s post “Ten Tips for Putting Intersectionality into Practice”.

Inclusive Pratice

What is it?

Inclusive practice is an approach that recognizes the diverse needs of individuals, creating an enabling and inclusive environment for all to fully participate in activities and exchanges. Inclusive practices benefit everyone ensuring space and methods are accessible to all participants. The aim of inclusion is to create equal access and opportunity, while removing discrimination for all people. 

Why is it important to the Centre?

A group of 9 individuals putting their hands on top of each others in a circle.For inclusive practices to be successful, you need to facilitate a work and community culture that recognize and value the diversity needs and skills of each person. Programs, research methods, and spaces can often unintentionally present a range of barriers, allowing some to be more engaged than others. An inclusive environment anticipates the varied needs of people to ensure everyone has equal access and opportunity. It is always important to ask who can and cannot fully participate, and why. Working towards more inclusive practices among research, policy and community engagement is a key priority of the Live Work Well Research Centre. The Centre seeks to provide a vibrant atmosphere of learning and sharing in everything we do to ensure all faculty, staff, students and community partners will be able to participate fully. 

How can we put it into practice?

To pursue a more equitable society, inclusive practice and related approaches are required. This includes considering inclusive practices where we work, where we study (and how we study), how we design and hold events, services and programs in our communities, and how we design and implement policy, among others.  

Sheffield Hallam University outlines 5 key principles to create and support inclusive learning and environments:

  1. Being Flexible – respond to an evolving population and to changes in circumstances
  2. Being Equitable – make sure that the processes and approaches are consistent, accessible and fairly applied to all.
  3. Working Collaboratively – plan content and practice collaboratively.
  4. Supporting Personalization – get to know who you work and communicate with and shape your practices around them; seek feedback in a safe and accessible way to encourage a diversity of voices.
  5. Embracing Diversity – encourage collaborators and team-members to get to know each other’s differences and experiences.

The Live Work Well Research Centre seeks to promote inclusive practices through its work. Currently, the Centre is conducting a study to develop interventions to engage and A graphic of 3 people depicting inclusivenessadvance knowledge on educational rights for girls with disabilities in Vietnam. Its interdisciplinary and participatory framework engages disabled girls in claiming their rights. Learn more about the Transforming Knowledge and Activism for Inclusion Through Engaging Girls and Women with Disabilities in Vietnam in Participatory Research study. Watch the trailer for the film developed by girls and young women with disabilities in Vietnam.

The Centre is also involved in a research project, The Inclusive Early Childhood Services and System (IECSS), which aims at understanding the experiences of families with young children with disabilities. Researchers interview families once a year to observe how they navigate health, care, service and educational systems. Read more about the IECSS project here. Watch this video for an introduction to the IECSS project.

For more information on how to increase inclusive practices in your work or in community settings, check out the Equality Challenge Units report, Equality and diversity for academics here.


What is it?

The Live Work Well Research Centre understand livelihoods to reflect a means of not only securing the necessities of life, but also of the complex ways that individuals, families and communities thrive. The UNDP uses a working definition to understand livelihoods as the capabilities, assets, income and activities required for people to fulfill their lives. They encompass more than paid work. Livelihoods can include paid work, unpaid work, agricultural sustenance, volunteering, caregiving, activism, art, begging, trading, and a combination of these things, among others. The hidden complexity of livelihoods is discovered when the means of fulfilling one’s life are challenged, threatened, or destroyed. 

As understood by the United Nations Global Development Network (UNDP), livelihood includes four key categories: the capabilities, material assets, social assets, and activities required for a means of living. To better help develop and maintain livelihoods, the UK Department for International Development established the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework. The Sustainable Livelihoods Framework provides a way to better understand:

  1. The assets people draw upon;
  2. The strategies developed to make a living;
  3. The context within which a livelihood is developed; 
  4. The factors that make a livelihood vulnerable.

The livelihoods framework looks at the complexity of people’s livelihoods and seeks to understand the dimensions of opportunities and constraints.

Why is it important to the Centre?

A graphic of a forest with the sky above it.In the past, much of the research done on work, focused on paid work. Today, we understand that the ways people sustain themselves and their families is much more complex, often involving networks and systems of resources and support. These systems or networks are often creative responses to change in climate, local or broad social and economic shocks, ability, family health and well-being, or a combination of these things, among others. 

Viewing work through a livelihoods frame, expands our notions of what we need as individuals, families and communities in order to live full lives. It also effects how we define problems such as poverty because it forces us to consider the issue beyond basic economics. When we consider the issue of poverty through a livelihoods frame, the types of policy solutions that are possible expand and are unique, reflecting people’s experience in the world. View this Live Work Well fact sheet for more information on what a Livelihoods framework is and why it is important.

How can we put it into practice?

Livelihoods can be used as a tool to understand the opportunities and challenges faced by people whose options are shaped by many different facets, such as gender, disability, and race. We believe that a livelihood framework should be intersectional, meaning that we need to consider how identities come together. 

The Live Work Well Research Centre is developing a livelihoods framework through its project on Disabilities and Livelihoods in Canada. With employment rates among people with disabilities in Canada at less than 50 percent, and a resulting reliance on government transfers, this project asks: how do people with disabilities in Canada survive, let alone thrive? This project will examine how livelihoods interact with diverse experiences of disability in Canada and will develop a strong, practical and conceptual livelihoods approach to work and families research. Learn more about this project here.  

To better understand sustainable livelihoods and learn strategies to put the concepts to work, take a look at the Community Engaged Scholarship Institute’s (CESI) Building Sustainable Livelihoods: effective practice in participant engagement.

Care Relationships

What is it?

The act of caregiving is familiar for the lives of most people. Caregiving can be for older adults, young children or people with disabilities. The terms “caregiver”, “caregiving”, and “care relationships” encompasses a wide range of experiences, situations and relationships. While there is no one set type of caregiving relationship, the most common interactions An elderly women smiling at the camerahappen between spouses/partners, or adult children and their parents. 

Although many studies focus on the technical experiences of caregiving, there are many qualities which benefit the lives of both the caregiver and care receiver. 

  • Caregiving facilitates mutual respect and trust. 
  • It creates a strong bond and promotes mental well-being, 
  • It facilitates comfort and open dialogue. 

In addition to this, caregiving can occur in different forms such as formal or informal. Formal caregiving refers to institutionalized caregiving, where the caregiver is often paid for their services. On the other hand, informal caregiving is often for a loved one, where the caregiver may live with or away from the care receiver. The caregiver might be a family member, neighbour or a friend. Caregiving may include attending to the emotional or physical well-being of an individual. Caregiving can be long-term, short-term or sporadic depending on each individual circumstance. 

For many people, caregiving brings new challenges in their lives. New caregivers often lack information on how to provide care, and about the supports available in their community. Juggling work and care can sometimes involve a great deal of time, energy and financial resources. According to The Vanier Institute of the Family, when families are engaged in care relationships, communities thrive in a caring and compassionate society with a prosperous economy.

Why is it important to the Centre?

Caregivers play a large role in the lives of people they help and look after. With an aging population, care and caregiving becomes all the more vital to our communities. For many, the challenges of care and caregiving are often An image of two hands creating a heart shapenew experiences and may come on suddenly. This can create great stress and anxiety to those taking on the role. 

The Live Work Well Research Centre understands that caregiving intersects with family life, livelihoods and personal or family well-being. Through the Centre’s work regarding care and care relationships, we seek to build a community in which everyone has the ability to participate fully and build connections that make it possible to achieve their full potential. 

How can we put it into practice?

Care relationships may occur in many forms, such as relationships with nurses (RNs), social workers, therapists, family members, friends, neighbours, and so on. Some qualities that are important to have when building and maintaining care relationships include: dependability, attentiveness, trustworthiness, supportive, compassionate, and patience

According to an article by Waldrop, caregiving and care relationships require social networks that are unique and distinct to the situation and patient. To develop these relationships caregivers should practice:

  • Showing kindness and compassion: including being sensitive to the care receiver, being sincere and maintaining concern for the family and their well-being
  • Maintaining clear and straight forward communication: the ability to interpret and understand complex information may be overwhelming to some. Caregivers should ensure they are clear, direct and specific when discussing the patients’ health.
  • Respecting self-determination: caregivers who respect the individual’s choices make uncertain situations feel more controllable, lower overall anxiety and stress for the person.

The Live Work Well Research Centre, along with The Vanier Institute of the Family and other partnered organizations, are conducting a project to observe the extent to which workplaces provide flexible work arrangements, leave policies, information and supports to help employees who take on caregiving roles to family members. This research is the first Canadian study to look at caregiving and work through the employer’s perspective. Learn more about the Availability, Accessibility & Effectiveness of Workplace Supports for Canadian Caregiver project here. Information about the project can also be found on our website here.

Knowledge Mobilization

What is it?

Knowledge Mobilization is the practice of sharing and co-creating research knowledge between the university, across different academic disciplines, and the wider community. Knowledge Mobilization encourages collaboration and is an important part of community-engaged scholarship, sharing knowledge across different dialogues and locations. 
Some of the main elements are:

  • Accessible documents which can be shared across disciplines and throughout the community.
  • Knowledge mobilization includes synthesis, dissemination, transfer, exchange and co-creation by researchers, partners, communities, etc.
  • Sharing research and activities that enable creative and informed decisions regarding policy, business and professional practice
  • Knowledge mobilization is rooted in the collaborative and co-production of knowledge that aims to enhance the impact of our work on colleagues, students and community members

According to Research Impact Canada, knowledge mobilization enables the expansion of research across multiple dimensions in order to provide solutions to social, cultural, economic, environmental and health challenges.

Why is it important to the Centre?

Sharing knowledge with students, researchers, organizations, and the community is a key priority of the Live Work Well Research Centre. A graphic with two heads beside each other with ideas floating between the two of them.It creates relationships between researchers and non-academic partners. This can lead to more informed decision-making processes and new advancements within a given field. Research Impact Canada states that knowledge mobilization is what turns research into action. 

How can we put it into practice?

There is a need for universities and researchers to focus on knowledge mobilization initiatives that put new knowledge into action for the benefits of communities, industry and government. The Live Work Well Research Centre shares knowledge from current and past activities widely, in multiple and accessible formats, reaching diverse audiences. We work with partners inside and outside the University, regularly assessing and evaluating our relationships and the effectiveness of our knowledge sharing. Some ways the Centre does this is through:

  • Integrate critical knowledge mobilization plans into research strategies, such that sharing knowledge is an integral part of the research process.
  • Creating spaces, like events and communities of practice, where people can come together to create, explore, and expand knowledges on different topics. 
  • Sharing knowledge through webinars such as our More Promise than Practice webinar and From the Margins webinar.
  • Providing resources on our website pertaining to relevant events and news, such as our COVID-19 Resources page.
  • Creating and maintaining website and social media presence, featuring past and present research work, and resources for those inside and outside the University.
  • Creating and sharing knowledge toolkits and resources, which are grounded in our research framework.

On our knowledge sharing and publications webpage, we provide links to event summaries, research summaries, reports and toolkits and fact sheets that are brief and use plain language that can be distributed widely.