The aim of VC Research is to simultaneously support the development of alter-economic models and promote systems that decenter money. Incorporating both source-based and participatory research, VCDC aspires to base its designs on formal knowledge and lived experience. A growing body within academia is challenging fundamental economic principles and proposing regenerative ways of coordinating in their place.VCDC hopes to support this movement.

VCDC has defined two broad research streams from which specific research topics could emerge:

  • Definancialization and alter-economies
  • Non-speculative housing and land management 

Participatory research 2021/2022

Two important participatory research projects informed VCDC’s approach to building the Residency Program. First, in September 2021, we organized a public workshop where over 60 participants informed VCDC on their understanding of non-market work, the various barriers and supports to undertaking it, and their visions for a future where it holds a greater place in society. In June 2022, ## participants comprising  VC’s residents, network and the public identified the specific resources they need  to be successful in their value-driven work. 

The first project served to validate the relevance of and demand for Value Collective’s proposition, and acted as a springboard for the work of 2022. Results were synthesized in the report, “Value Collective 1-week Co-Design Sprint!”. The second project, held amidst  VCDC’s early work on the Residency Program, directly informed its development and culminated in the design guide “Resources and Strategies for Supporting Value-Driven Work” (link). Reports of both events can be found on our website.

Through this data collection and our own observations, we discovered that while technical and material needs are important, equally so is the need for community, empowerment and a sense of legitimacy, among other immaterial resources. This led us to work more closely with residents and further encouraged our efforts to build relationships between residents and others in our networks.

HEC Partnership

VCDC also explored possibilities for initiating research projects in academic contexts. To this end, we leveraged connections made through encounters within the CdH community to forge a collaboration with the business school HEC Montréal. Over the course of the Winter 2023 term, graduate students will conduct a literature and case study review in collaboration with VCDC on methods and frameworks for measuring non-financial value. This project is intended to ground our programming in cutting-edge theory and better equip us to promote value-driven work and alter-economies.

Going forward

Participatory research will continue to be an important underpinning for VC’s development. Working with HEC is an exciting first test of VC’s potential as a research instigator and partner. As mentioned above, results will be applied in our current and future programs. Further research collaborations will also be explored, for the purposes of informing VC’s direction, as our access to these institutions constitutes a resource with great potential benefit to value-driven workers.