Decolonizing Research and Urban Youth Work Through Community-University Partnerships


  • Illana C. Livstrom University of Minnesota
  • Amy Smith
  • Mary Rogers
  • Karl Hackansan



Community-University Partnership, Decolonizing Methodologies, Partnership Studies, Urban Agriculture, Workforce Development, Youth


“Grounding Roots” is a community-based collaborative educational program that aims to build food, environmental, and cognitive justice through sustainable urban agriculture and horticulture via intergenerational communities of practice. Drawing upon Linda Tuhiwai Smith’s framework of decolonizing methodologies, this qualitative case study examined the ways in which a Community-University partnership engaged in decolonizing work through research and practice, as well as the ways in which the partnership served to preserve colonizing practices. Data analyses was guided by deductive coding strategies grounded in theory on decolonizing practices. Identified decolonizing practices included implementing a program of worth to the community and youth; building from community-led agendas; and prioritizing community healing and transformation over academic research agendas. Identified colonizing practices included inequitable power hierarchies in the leadership team and in garden groups, deficit-oriented talk about minoritized youth, and the devalorization of youth voice. Implications from this work call for researchers to do their own research about the white supremacist roots embedded in their practices, and to embrace decolonizing and humanizing practices to guide their work. This ongoing work highlights the need for researchers doing community-based work to engage in community-driven agendas that prioritize processes over products; to facilitate distributed leadership in collaboration with community members; and to produce worthwhile work and products with the community.




How to Cite

Livstrom, I. C., Smith, A., Rogers, M., & Hackansan, K. (2018). Decolonizing Research and Urban Youth Work Through Community-University Partnerships. Interdisciplinary Journal of Partnership Studies, 5(3), 3.