Homelessness and poverty
- In 2005, firstwrite® partners were involved in on-going meetings of the City of Ottawa's Task Force on Homelessness, representing of the Ottawa Witness Group. A number of our suggestions with respect to the use of, and access to, public space were incorporated in our May 9 presentation to the Task Force.
- We maintain an on-going research interest in poverty and its solutions, including critiques of traditional approaches (e.g., shelters, workfare), and newer proposals for change, such as the New York City policy on squatters and unused residential space.
The politics and ethics of representation
- Current models of political and cultural representation, including electoral reform models such as Citizens' Assemblies, can be less inclusive than they appear to be. “Ordinary citizens” may find themselves speaking for Aboriginals, visible minorities and other groups, because the latter have been denied representation of their own within current structures and processes, even ones ostensibly dedicated to democratic change.
firstwrite® is exploring the politics of representation in some of our current work. In particular, we are investigating ways in which all of the diverse voices that make up the Canadian social and political landscape can be heard, and, more importantly, can be effective in developing a deeper and richer democratic culture.
Human rights and employment
- firstwrite® was engaged in 2007 by a prominent Canadian think-tank to assist in conceptualizing a major study of the 21st century Canadian workforce . Given shifting demographics and a looming labour shortage in key areas, what strategies should be designed to include and accommodate immigrants, the mature workforce, and people with disabilities?
assisted in a further think-tank project in 2007, on the
business case for accessibility. This included a comprehensive
literature review with respect to employment, accommodation
and outreach to customers/clients with disabilities. We
collaborated in locating sources and annotating them, and
in the writing and editing of a preliminary report.
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