Trinity College Unveils New Liberal Arts Action Lab

The Liberal Arts Action Lab is a new partnership between Trinity College and
Capital Community College. Based in downtown Hartford at 10 Constitution Plaza,
the Action Lab is a space where community members, nonprofits, government
agencies, and social entrepreneurs can come with research questions or problems that
they want solved to help their own work in the city. Using the resources of Trinity and
Capital students, faculty fellows, and the Action Lab director, teams will develop and
implement research projects to help offer solutions to these problems.

During any given semester, we might be working to help an agency plan outreach to a specific
underserved population or testing messaging campaigns for new policies. By starting
with community needs, we want to promote and staff the kinds of research and
problem-solving projects that can make a real difference right here in Hartford.
Our first round of proposals ended with 10 quality submissions from Hartford
community groups. The questions ran the gamut from a study designed to explore
Hartford residents’ experiences with eviction, which will help a nonprofit agency
design a policy campaign, to a study of what distracted driving behaviors contribute to
traffic accidents. Take a look at the full list of proposed projects here. Any one of
these proposals would make an excellent project, but we can only field 4-5 teams
during our first semester. In order to remain accountable to the community, we have
convened a Hartford Resident Advisory Board, made up of engaged Hartford
residents, to prioritize the proposals we take during any given semester. Once they
vote on our projects, we will start the process of forming project teams.

We are currently recruiting students and faculty mentors to apply to join the
Action Lab for the spring semester. Applications are due October 31, 2017. Students
who join the Action Lab will take two courses in the spring: LAAL 200 (Action
Research Methods in Hartford) and LAAL 201 (Hartford Research Project). During
the semester, we will learn about action research methods, get our hands dirty with a
variety of data, and apply these methods to the projects we’ll be working on with
community partners.

If you’re interested in applying to join the Action Lab, apply here by October

Contact Action Lab Director

Megan Brown with any questions.