Teaching To enhance academic education with socially infused practical components, the Social Hub has used advanced co-creation models with diverse communities outside the university. It has established new courses and has supported existing ones, introducing new relevant theoretical content as well as opportunities for socially engaged field work. Experts in fields such as social and community work, anthropology, social initiatives, activism, and participation assist course instructors to integrate this special disciplinary knowledge into regular class activities.. Research The research developed in and supported by the Social Hub seeks to foster alternative knowledge production that is socially engaged and socially committed. Research projects start by identifying problems and challenges “on the ground,” often in collaboration with NGOs and communities even at this early stage. These problems are tackled using interactive and participatory research frameworks and examined through qualitative and research-action methodologies. The aim is to increase theoretical understanding of community-based knowledge as well as to develop methods, tools, and strategies for working with communities. Engagement with communities in Haifa The Technion, a world-class academic institution, is located in Haifa, the third largest city in Israel. To bolster the Technion’s commitment to the city and its residents, the Social Hub has been involved over the years in many projects in the city, in various frameworks and in different capacities. It has established contacts with NGOs and activists, worked with relevant municipal departments, and cooperated with professionals working in Haifa. Advocacy work has strengthened local communities and turned their residents from passive dwellers into engaged urban citizens. It allows them to pursue their needs, understand the potential of their surroundings, and work effectively toward change. Some of the projects developed with local communities have been implemented or are in the process of being implemented. Dissemination of Knowledge An important goal of the Social Hub is the dissemination of the knowledge accumulated through its research and teaching activities to the general public and to provide assistance and training to make that knowledge useful to the communities with which it works, in the academia and the public at large.
The Social Hub is an interdisciplinary, socially engaged research and education center, aimed at advancing social change within academia and beyond. With social commitment at its core, it seeks to promote awareness and to advance the understanding of community-based knowledge within academia through direct engagement with communities. The knowledge developed through academic work is available to the diverse communities with which The Social Hub works.
Since its inception in 2011, the Social Hub has been supported by the Israel Council for Higher Education and by grants from other sources in support of its specific projects. It is based at the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning and collaborates actively with other departments at the Technion, the University of Haifa, and the international community of socially engaged researchers.