When art and research come together, what becomes possible? Centre[3] for Artistic and Social Practice is working in collaboration with the Community Research Platform (CRP) to develop Centre[4] Art and Research. The creation of Centre[4] is meant to facilitate meaningful and equitable collaborations between artists and researchers in the Hamilton community, to highlight and facilitate art and research, and to develop accessible resources and sustainable infrastructure to support these activities.



This initiative is led by Cathy Paton, postdoctoral fellow, and supported by a working group comprised of representatives from McMaster and Centre [3] including Colina Maxwell (Executive Director, C[3]), Sarah Sproule (Social Practice Coordinator, Centre [3]), Alexe Bernier (PhD Candidate and CRP intern), Chris Sinding (Professor, Social Work & Health, Aging and Society), and Leora Sas van der Linden (CRP Manager).



A unique and fundamental aspect of Centre[4] is that the work and motivations are centered in the community, creating space for artists, artful practices and researchers to meaningfully shape research activities. Through maintaining a strong collaborative relationship between Centre [3] and McMaster’s CRP, Centre[4] will strive to intentionally center artist presence, input and practice in community research.

Current Initiatives

Centre[4] is developing tools and resources to promote fair collaborations between artists and researchers. These include a conceptual framework for addressing challenges, guidance for setting up projects, and support for organizing practical aspects of arts-specific research projects.


In response to increased popularity of collaboration at the intersection of art and research, Centre[4] facilitates, supports, and enhances collaborative processes between artists and researchers. Centre[4] addresses complex challenges that may emerge within these interdisciplinary collaborations, such as power imbalances and misunderstandings, and actively advocates on behalf of artists.


Cultivating equitable and meaningful working relationships for those engaged at the intersection of art and research.


  1. Responsive consultations that clarify purpose and need for people engaged in projects at the intersection of art and research.


  2. Project management resources, such as templates to facilitate partnership, outlined professional standards, guidelines for best practices, and past project examples.
  3. The brokering of connections between artists and researchers, ensuring an alignment of purpose, interest, and need.

Cathy Paton

Cathy Paton is Centre[4]’s Director of Art and Research and a Post Doctoral Fellow in the School of Social Work at McMaster University. Cathy has developed an arts-informed practice that combines the unscripted art of improvisation and her PhD research in social work. Cathy’s work spans from working with arts organizations to advance their inclusive practice, to collaborating with academic and community researchers to integrate arts-informed approaches. Cathy is interested in artful ways of knowing and relating and is currently leading a research project that centers the voices of artists through creative, qualitative research methods.

Chris Sinding

Chris Sinding is a Professor at McMaster University, in the School of Social Work and the Department of Health, Aging and Society. Her research focuses on people’s experiences of cancer and cancer care, and on how responsibility, choice and expertise are negotiated in health care interactions. Chris has a longstanding interest in the intersections between social (justice) work and the arts, including how social science researchers, teachers and practitioners draw on the arts and collaborate with artists, and the motivations and effects of such projects.

Leora Sas van der Linden

Leora Sas van der Linden is the Program Manager for the Community Research Platform (CRP) at McMaster. Leora holds a BA in Anthropology from Western and a MA in Social Anthropology from York University. Leora has fifteen years of strategic leadership, program management, and community development experience. As CRP Manager Leora helps to build and sustain relationships of trust and reciprocity between and among academic scholars, students, and community partners to foster community-engaged research that advances community
wellbeing. Leora is thrilled to be a part of the Centre [4] team, supporting meaningful and ethical collaborations between artists and researchers.

Alexe Bernier

Alexe Bernier is a former community social worker and now PhD Candidate in the School of Social Work at McMaster University. Her doctoral research focusses on honoring the social and environmental change practices of young girls, ultimately understanding activism as a way that young girls participate as citizens. She is interested and engaged in community-based, feminist, and arts-based ways of doing research. Alexe is a strong supporter of community arts, and finds hope, encouragement, and excitement in the ways that the arts can challenge us to think sideways, upside-down, and from completely new perspectives.