Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

POPLHLTH 207 - Community and Cultural Development

15 Points 


An introduction to the study of community and cultural development as both philosophical approach and programme of practice for building active and sustainable communities from grassroots.

Real world examples of effective practice will demonstrate the interdependence of theory, research and practice in health development. Emphasis is placed on collaboration and participation.


Prerequisite: POPLHLTH 102

Course Outline

Community and cultural development is a long term, sustainable process for building communities and achieving health and wellbeing. In this course, we explore community and cultural development as praxis, that is, both theory/reflection and engagement/practice, each informed by the other. The course is animated by opportunities to engage in person with a variety of experts and practitioners in community and cultural development, and by sustained student engagement and participation. 

Key course objectives

This course introduces students to the community development approach and its implications for health practice in the broadest sense, and expands the principles of community development to develop the formative concept of cultural development. 

Our goal is to understand and model good PRAXIS and partnership. Our invited guests provide examples of praxis in real communities: reflecting and evaluating their successes, challenges, strategies and learning stories. Through class participation you will have a unique opportunity to engage in sustained collaborative learning, and to understand and develop your own strengths as a team member.


There is one two-hour lecture and a one-hour lecture each week, along with a one-hour tutorial (i.e., two two-hour blocks each week). You are expected to attend all lectures and the tutorial every week. 

There are frequent opportunities to engage with expert practitioners, as well as lectures focused on concepts and frameworks. We begin with an overview of principles of community and cultural development, before exploring the main concepts (community, culture, practice), and then moving towards deeper exploration of core concepts (e.g., empowerment, participation, partnership, accountability and evaluation).

Course assessment

  • 20%  Practical engagement (including a group project throughout the term, and an individual opening/closing contribution to the class)

  • 20%  Test                            

  • 20%  Essay (including feedback to another student on a draft)              

  • 40%  Final examination

Recommended Readings

This course does not have a prescribed textbook as there is no one book that covers the topics in this course at the appropriate level. The key resources for this course will all be distributed in class or on Canvas.

Course Director