A ‘hands on’ (or ‘foots on’) way to conduct rural research

by Bill Reimer, 14/06/2012

John Martin, Alistair Walker, and Annie Guthrie have come up with a unique way to conduct rural and community research this summer. They will bicycle from town to town all the way across Canada – more than 7,000 km. On their way, they will stop in at many of the communities they pass, interview community leaders, and film the events for a documentary on the insights and adventures they find. John is particularly interested in the things that make communities sustainable under different conditions, Alistair is interested in the financing of initiatives that contribute to this objective, and Annie (who will be leap-frogging the cyclists by car) will be filming and documenting their process and insights. They expect to take about 4 months to complete the journey – from May to August.

If you would like to check out or follow their progress, you can do so using the 3 blogs sites they have established to represent their various interests. Alistair’s is www.canadothis.com, John’s is at www.sustainablecanadiancommunities.com, and Annie’s is www.visualjourneyacrosscanada.com. I’m sure they would love to receive your comments, questions, and encouragement along the way. As of May 19, they have begun their treck over the three mountain ranges on their way to the Rockies.


John and Trevor in the Fraser Canyon, BC
Photo: Alistair Walker

BILL REIMER joined the ICRPS Consortium in 2011 and is co-organizing the ICRPS 2012 summer school in Quebec, Canada. Dr. Reimer recently retired from Concordia University, Department of Sociology and Anthropology. He has extensive experience in research on issues relating to rural Canada, with particular focus on social inclusion and exclusion. Reimer´s research areas include women´s farm and household labour, the impact of technology on rural communities, Aboriginal communities, the informal economy in rural Canada, social capital and community capacity-building.

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