Centre for Families, Work and Well-being Celebrates 20-year history, New Direction and New Name

Posted on Friday, November 30th, 2018

Written by Daniel Jordan

The new Live Work Well Research Centre and its five research clusters were unveiled last night.

At the 20th anniversary celebration of the University of Guelph, Centre for Families Work and Well-being held last night, it was announced that the Centre would be taking on a new name and a new strategic direction.

The Centre – which was first founded in 1998 and focuses on researching and promoting family and individual well-being, responsive workplaces and sustainable communities – will be renamed as the Live Work Well Research Centre.

Deborah Stienstra, University of Guelph’s Jarislowsky Chair in Families and Work, and Director of the Centre, lead the collaborative renewal process that began in 2017 and culminated with last night’s announcement.

“When I first arrived at Guelph, for three months I went on a listening tour,” said Stienstra. “[Those connected to the Centre] talked about their work and the ways that it intersected, informed and affected diverse families, work and well-being.” The theme running through all these conversations was consistent: In order for the researchers at the Centre to fully understand the complex issues facing people, their families and communities, they needed to take a step back – their work needed to begin at the margins, as it were.

“We have to take a look at the ways that families are formed, interrupted, joined and separated, how work comes in many forms – paid, unpaid, voluntary, contractual – and how well-being includes all of our deep connections,” said Stienstra.

During the past 20 years, the Centre has led and collaborated on significant projects which have influenced government policy and programs, fostered interdisciplinary research, and motivated workplaces and communities to adapt to the changing needs of individuals and families. These have included addressing challenges of paid and unpaid caregiving, father involvement in families and the effects of rural location on economic and social livelihoods.

The Centre does a wonderful job at living out the principle of mobilizing knowledge,” said University of Guelph Vice-President (Research) Malcolm Campbell during his announcement of the Centre’s name change. “It reaches across communities and borders to deeply engage with those whose experiences inform our research. This helps lower inequities and create a more inclusive society.”

With the continuous shift in family patterns, paid work, and economic, political and social structures – and the new challenges this brings – there is much work ahead for those at the Centre. 

“It is hard to imagine more pressing issues for society to deal with than the issues that the Centre deals with on a day to day basis,” said Campbell.

Thus, 2018 is not only a year to celebrate the Centre for Families, Work and Well-being and its 20 years of accomplishments and research impact, but also to look ahead as it lives up to its new name and promise:

Live Work Well Research Centre – committed to nourishing families, livelihoods and living environments. 

For more information visit liveworkwell.ca

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