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 31:

Contact Action Lab Director

Megan Brown with any questions.