May 8, 2003 Episode 42: When Our Paths Cross

We begin this episode with a panel discussion by three of the organizers of a local, community-based, five-year research project called Promoting Action Toward Health (PATH). Doing community-based research can mean a number of things, but it mostly requires an understanding of what community is supposed to be and it allows for communities under scrutiny to both control and gain benefit from aspects of the research.  Today's discussion addressed the ins and outs of defining community in such a way that enabled both researchers and community members to glean what they need from the project.  

This discussion seemed completely appropriate considering this is the one-year anniversary show of First Person, Plural.  We began our career at CFUV-FM, here in Victoria, British Columbia on May 9, 2002.  Contemplating community seems appropriate for our anniversary for two important reasons:  (1) First Person, Plural examines how people interact with each other in groups of two or more people.  Community is a large part of what we think about on this show.  But equally important is that (2) CFUV is a community radio stationShows such as ours are meant to enrich and encourage community.  We hope that our self-reflective style of doing so has been useful to our listeners and website-visitors.

It wouldn't be an anniversary show if didn't take a moment to reflect upon the previous year and upon where we hope to go.  Our larger project is Cultural Construction Company.  In the next year, we hope to delve much more into video projects.  The radio shows we have produced along with our web pages have been useful in preparing us for digital video-production.   We cheerfully volunteered at CFUV, to produce this show, to gain the experience and to support community radio, which we feel is an important thing to support.  However, our ultimate goal is to create a sustainable livelihood from multi-media production.  So, this next year we hope to pursue projects with compensation.  Look for our video career (visit frequently, the site will be updated) to begin and for more tie-ins on the web between what we produce on the radio and video recordings.  

Thanks for all your support for the past year.  If you'd like to give us any feedback regarding the show, please contact us at  



One year ago, tomorrow, May 9th, the first episode of First Person, Plural was aired on CFUV-FM, here in Victoria, British Columbia. Today we celebrate our one-year anniversary by keeping the "plural" part of the show honest with a panel discussion.

First Person, Plural is based upon the simple idea that events in our daily lives occur within the context of our relationships to other people. What each of us does is important for her or his own life, but it is also important for the lives of others. We make history together and, as such, our destinies are intertwined with each other.

No better example of this beautiful complexity can be made than a community-based approach to health. The biomedical model focuses on diseases contracted by individuals. Health, however, can mean much more than not being sick and can involve much more than individual behaviour. Community-based approaches to health and health promotion research regard cultural and social factors to be important to personal health. Development of community resources is as important, in this approach, as vaccinations and antibiotics are.

The members of our panel today are playing important roles in a Victoria-based project in the Hillside-Quadra and North Park neighbourhoods. Concentrating on the prevention of chronic conditions that tend to start in mid-life (35 to 64 years of age), Promoting Action Toward Health or PATH is a research project that is taking a community-based approach to health issues. In their second year of work, PATH is currently facilitating a community kitchen, community garden, low-impact exercise classes and community-mapping designed to understand community resources and community history. This five-year effort is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and is as much about research as it is about health promotion.

The term "community-based research" is broadly used and has varying degrees of grassroots involvement. The basic principle behind most of the work that uses that term, however, is that information gathering and knowledge production must have some connection with and must give back something to the community being studied. This is easier said than done, of course. Taking this approach becomes a balancing act of the community's needs along with the desire to publish research results and the demands of funding sources used to more traditional models of research.

First Person, Plural is a show focused on how groups, including communities, are formed and sustained. We are a spoken-word show produced on community radio. It seems appropriate on this first anniversary of our show to take some time to think about community and how social research relates to and supports communities.

We hope you will enjoy our panel discussion today as we examine community and reflect upon our roles in promoting community in an episode we call "When Our Paths Cross."

copyright by Pattie Thomas and Carl Wilkerson 2003


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