Shared Space, Liminal Space: Five Years into a Community-University Place-Based Experiment


  • Heidi Lasley Barajas University of Minnesota
  • Lauren Martin University of Minnesota


Engagement, Anchor Institutions, Place-Based


This article explores shared space at the University of Minnesota’s Robert J. Jones Urban Research and Outreach Engagement Center (UROC), located four miles off campus in a community strong in assets, but facing inequality, disinvestment and racism. UROC’s mission promotes university-community collaboration to solve critical urban challenges. We learned this requires more than just a physical space. Trust and connection requires tending to epistemological space – liminality between the university and community – to foster transformational scholarship.

Author Biographies

Heidi Lasley Barajas, University of Minnesota

Heidi Lasley Barajas is the Executive Director of the University of Minnesota Robert J. Jones Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center which provides leadership on critical urban issues across the university. An associate profession and chair of the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development in the College of Education and Human Development, Heidi’s research and teaching focus on diversity and inclusion in educational institutions.

Lauren Martin, University of Minnesota

Lauren Martin is the Director of Research at the University of Minnesota Robert J. Jones Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center. Lauren has been conducting community-based and participatory action research with a wide range of community stakeholders since 2004. She is nationally recognized for her engaged scholarship on prevention of sex trading and trafficking as well as for her work on engaged research methods and approaches. 


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