The Tensions Between Us: Using Reflective Practice to Explore Community-led Outreach versus Academic-led Outreach
When I taught issues of social justice, we struggled, as a class, to find ways to make a difference. Scenarios we played out would help with reform or social change but would never get to the crux of the problem – prevention. As an academic, I love teaching, but beyond that, I want to empower others to enact change. I often feel that my knowledge and experience would be useful to those who chose a different subject, or even path than university. My decision to move into outreach stems from those discussions I had with students; social justice needs to be introduced at a young age. Now I plan outreach programmes, I reflect: What if issues of social justice, were taught by universities? How do we tailor this to the needs of the local community? The want to have communities involved and even leading in the outreach planning is not without tension. My research working with Indigenous communities led me to question: Who has authority to speak for the community? How do you allow for intersectionality of ideas within communities? This article uses Rolfe et al. (2001) reflective practice methods to explore the ten-sions between community-led outreach and academic-led outreach.