Volume 55, Number 4 Fall 2022

Print Friendly and PDF


Edited by Dominique Thomas, Morehouse College

Where Do We Go From Here? Dreaming New Community Futures

Hosted by Morehouse College 

The Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA, Division 27 of the American Psychological Association) invites you to our 19th Biennial Conference!

For the first time, this conference will be held both virtually and in-person! Sessions will be offered in several hybrid (virtual and in-person) formats, including:

  • Live, with all presenters and attendees present at the same time
  • Pre-recorded, with pre-recorded presentations shown to the attendees during the session time, with some or all presenters attending to answer questions and facilitate discussion
  • Hybrid, with parts of the session pre-recorded and others live, and some or all the presenters attending the session

Our theme is Where Do We Go From Here? Dreaming New Community Futures. Honoring the history of civil rights and Black liberation movements in Atlanta, as well as the 60th anniversary of his “I Have a Dream” speech, we are inspired by Morehouse College alumnus Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We take particular inspiration from his book “Where Do We Go From Here: Community or Chaos?” The book chronicles his experiences in the Civil Rights Movement. The question he posed in the title informs the vision of the biennial: We unequivocally choose Community. The work of Dr. King and other Morehouse alumni aligns with the values of community psychology: social justice, empowerment, citizen participation, individual and family wellness, empirical grounding, and respect for diversity.

Given that we are hosting a hybrid conference that seeks to merge the old with the new, we also take inspiration from Afrofuturism. As a form of spatiotemporal consciousness rooted in Black liberation and transformation, Afrofuturism provides a framework for imagining new futures while also recovering past technologies of liberation. In parallel with community psychology’s focus on understanding prehistories of settings, Afrofuturism asks us to reconsider the histories we have been told and what futures we are allowed to dream. 

The history of community-based scholarship would be incomplete without the work of Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois. A founding figure of scientific sociology, Dr. Du Bois exemplified the community-engaged scholar. His Atlanta school of sociological research was an insurgent intellectual network during an era of social Darwinism and Jim Crow. His decolonial pragmatism used and innovated many methods we take for granted as community psychologists.

We want this conference to be a healing space as well. Beyond Dr. King and Dr. Du Bois, many scholars and activists from Morehouse and the surrounding Atlanta University Center (a consortium of HBCUs consisting of Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, Spelman College, and Clark Atlanta University) sought to heal communities from the psychological traumas resulting from imperialist extraction and capitalist exploitation. A strengths-based approach respects community self-determination and indigenous healing practices. Communities in the African diaspora have used different forms of restorative justice across the millennia. How do we help communities heal from trauma while respecting their own healing strategies? How do we heal our own communities where we are located?

We encourage proposals in a variety of topic areas, particularly those related to impactful and transformative community research and action, including:

  • Social change, social innovation
  • Participatory Action Research (PAR) and other mixed, multi-method and empowering approaches to research and evaluation
  • Multiculturalism, Indigenous rights, and racial justice
  • Economic equality for women and reproductive justice
  • LGBTQ2/Gender and Sexual Minorities (GSM) human rights and advocacy
  • Migration/immigration, displacement, and Globalization 
  • Social determinants of health (including COVID-19)
  • Global climate change and sustainability
  • Community organizing, coalition-building, and civic engagement, community activism
  • Community-campus partnerships, collaborations, and networks
  • Grassroots change efforts, creative economy and arts-based community action 
  • Collaboratively advancing well-being of vulnerable communities through Innovative prevention and wellness programs
  • Values and Ethics
  • Critical perspectives, liberation, and applications of critical theory in the community
  • Technological and social media innovations in promoting community health and well-being

Instructions for Preparing Program Submissions

To submit a proposal, please visit the Biennial web page and select the proposal submission link. The system will be ready to accept proposals on or about September 2022. Make sure to check specific instructions early as certain restrictions may apply. The deadline for receipt of program proposals is Thursday, December 1, 2022, 11:55 PM (EST). Proposal submission guidelines will be available online.

Program Tracks

I. Building the Beloved Community: Community Partnerships and Social Change

System level change requires (a) partnerships across players and sectors in society, and (b) value-based social change efforts aimed communal thriving. This track of the conference affords an opportunity to present and discuss research, ideas, and experiences related to collaborations and deliberate social change efforts.

II. Ubuntu: Healing, Prevention and Wellness Promotion from Ecological Perspective

“I am because we are, we are because I am.” The meaning of Ubuntu emphasizes the connection between individual wellness and community wellness. Reactive and medical approaches to health and well-being are costly and not as effective as preventive approaches. While prevention seeks to reduce risk factors, wellness promotion seeks to enhance resilience, protective factors, and enabling environments. This track is aimed at presenting work on prevention and promotion that enhances communal thriving and well-being.

III. Nommo: Consciousness Raising through Storytelling, Arts, and New Media

In Dogon cosmology, nommo is the force or cosmic word that brought the cosmos into being. An important component of individual and communal thriving is meaning making. Storytelling, artistic expression, and engagement in new media afford people opportunities to be creative and expressive. Arts and new media are not only methods of expression, but also of communication; innovative and challenging ideas get expressed and communicated through new media. We wish to highlight efforts by community psychologists, community members, and other professionals that utilize expressive methods for thriving.

IV. Ma’at: Solidarity, Equity, Diversity, and Social justice

Ma’at is the Kemetic/Egyptian principle of cosmic and social justice which includes the values of reciprocity, justice, and harmony. The values of diversity and fairness are central to community psychology. Many communities suffer from oppression and exclusion due to societal structures such as imperialism, colonialism, and racial capitalism. We wish to highlight efforts that promote communal thriving through interventions aimed at valuing diversity and social justice.

V. Technologies of Liberation: Knowledge Creation and Consciousness Raising through Research

Information and research are essential components of communal thriving. We wish to highlight how diverse approaches to research (including quantitative, qualitative, community based participatory research, and other innovative approaches to rigorous inquiry) contribute to community well-being. Data and data-based information can be a powerful tool to raise consciousness about oppressive conditions and potential for change. In addition to empirical research, we welcome integrative conceptual and theoretical papers addressing communal thriving.

VI. We Shall Overcome: Transformative Justice in Organizations and Schools

System level changes happening in organizations can foster or inhibit the well-being of stakeholders. We are interested in learning about enabling structures and interventions that bring people together in healthy processes leading to positive outcomes, with an emphasis on organizational and school transformation. 

Program Formats

Priority will be given to proposals that explicitly address one or more of the following expectations: (a) high quality, (b) congruence with the general conference theme and the topic areas listed above, (c) exemplars of community-academic engagement, (d) clear articulation of lessons learned from the session, and (d) collaboration. Proposals should include a description of formats and activities that will maximize audience participation. Innovative, creative, and art-based approaches toward this goal are encouraged. Please note that we will accept only one first-author submission per individual, and the first author on a submission will be the individual who submits the proposal to the system. Also, we ask that any single individual be listed in any role in no more than 5 separate proposals (not including poster presentations). Submissions should fall under one of the following seven categories:

  1. Poster Presentations facilitate individual and small group conversations through the use of a visual aid. Posters that highlight innovative methods for conference participant interaction are preferred. Poster presentations can emphasize research, practice, action, or other initiatives. Posters will be organized in thematic groups and be presented during designated poster sessions.
  2. Symposia provide a forum for discussion, debate, and explication of diverse perspectives as they pertain to the conference themes and/or tracks. Symposia may be used to present practice and/or research topics. Submissions that explicitly describe the process or method that will be used to facilitate audience interaction and dialogue will be preferred. Symposia typically include 3-4 related papers, a moderator, and a discussant.
  3. Ignite Presentations provide an opportunity to share research and ideas in a brief 5-minute format (20 slides at 15 seconds each) to ignite conversations and discussions between the presenters and the audience. Several speakers will follow each other in rapid transition followed by a time to engage in conversation. This format is ideal for presenting findings from smaller studies (e.g., student thesis projects), a new tool or method, or research that is still in progress. Examples of this type of format can be found at and
  4. Town Hall Meetings feature participant discussions of critical and current issues or important future directions pertaining to community research, values, and action and the field of community psychology. This format is most appropriate for exploring the broad issues that cut across the conference theme, subthemes, and related topics. One or more facilitators may lead a town hall meeting. 
  5. Workshops provide a means to teach new skills of relevance to the field (e.g., specific methods, analytical techniques, community outreach strategies).
  6. ‘The Innovative Other’ session provides an opportunity to submit sessions that do not fit within any of the other categories. This format is especially suitable for arts-based, technology-based, and practice-based presentations.

Additional program components will include mentoring sessions, panel sessions with keynote speakers, and social events.

Additional Conference Information

The conference will take place both in-person and virtually. It will begin on Tuesday, June 20 and conclude on Saturday afternoon, June 24. Presenters will be able to indicate their preferred time block when they submit their proposals, but these are not guaranteed. 

Details about conference registration, including descriptions of the online platforms and links for training materials for presenters, will be provided on the SCRA websiteAll presenters must register for the conference and pay registration fees. 

Conference Fees: Information about registration fees will be posted on the conference website.

Questions related to the program can be sent to

Member Mondays

SCRA is excited to use our social media platforms to highlight and celebrate our members on Mondays!

Nominate yourself or another SCRA member