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Harris Centre workshop explores future of the Northeast Avalon

By Rebecca Cohoe

The Harris Centre’s upcoming regional workshop will get to the heart of some of the most pressing issues expected to shape the Northeast Avalon over the next decade.

Organized in partnership with the Northeast Avalon Regional Economic Development Board, the April 15 event, taking place at the Seal Cove campus of the College of the North Atlantic, will offer researchers and community members the opportunity to share their work, identify challenges and move towards collaborative solutions.

“It’s so important to have that face-to-face interaction,” said Karen Follett, knowledge mobilization coordinator at the Harris Centre. “Even though we’re living and working in the same region, we often don’t get the opportunity to meet with people in different sectors or communities, much less be free to brainstorm and collaborate together.”

All Memorial researchers whose research has the potential to impact the region are encouraged to participate in the day long session.

“This regional workshop is special because it’s in the same region as our main campus and where many of our researchers live and work,” said Ms. Follett. “Seal Cove is just 30 minutes away from the Prince Philip Drive Parkway but I bet there’s a lot happening even on campus that community members outside the university’s scope aren’t aware of.”

The morning will be an opportunity to share relevant, regional research with community members from the region, which, along with St. John’s, includes communities such as Torbay, Paradise and Petty Harbour/Maddox Cove.

The afternoon will feature focused workshops on the three major themes identified by the region: community infrastructure and transportation; innovation and technology development; and labour market and demographic change.

Participants, including researchers and community members, will be split into smaller working groups to discuss the specific issues at greater depth. Together, they’ll come up with tangible ideas for research and partnership project opportunities that would benefit the region.

“The new opportunities discussions are captured and brought back to be entered into Yaffle and then communicated throughout Memorial. We hope the ideas generated at the workshop will pique people’s interest at Memorial and new projects will be born,” explained Ms. Follett.

“Regional workshops are sometimes a difficult concept to explain to people, but once you’ve experienced one, you get it. We often have trouble getting breakout groups to stop conversation to report back to the whole group. Once they make those connections and start brainstorming, it’s hard to stop,” Ms. Follett concluded.

If you’re interested in joining in, please contact Karen Follett at or 864-6115, by Tuesday, April 8.