Pre-Conference Workshop

Looping Through Transformative Research, Education, and Societal Impact: An Immersive, Interactive Workshop

Sunday, 05/19/2019, 2-5 p.m.


Workshop Host: Madhu Viswanathan

Department of Bus. Admin. (Marketing), Gies College of Business, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Subsistence Marketplaces Initiative (
Marketplace Literacy Project (

*This workshop will be free-of-charge, but seats are limited! 

*Please register for the workshop when you register for the conference! 

 Download Informational PDF


This workshop will use the journey into subsistence marketplaces and marketplace literacy as a stimulating launch pad to consider the journeys of participants. The synergies between research, teaching and social initiatives in this arena and the potential to bridge across TCR conference Tracks 1, 2, and 3 will be highlighted. Much of the workshop will be devoted to participants reflecting back on their own journey to date and envisioning where they go from here and now. 

In other words, the workshop will be about the path forward for each of the participants. Some optional homework will be shared before the workshop to read the readable, view the viewable, and spend the time together as productively and enjoyably as possible. 

Some questions that participants will consider: 

  • How can I conduct research with transformative potential? 
  • How can my work impact society positively? 
  • How can I find synergies with my teaching? 
  • How can societal impact (and teaching) enrich my research? 
  • How can I initiate and sustain the virtuous loop between research, teaching and societal impact? 

Overview of Subsistence Marketplaces and Marketplace Literacy

The stream of Subsistence Marketplaces has pioneered a bottom-up approach to research and practice at the intersection of poverty and marketplaces ( This work has been documented in numerous publications and special issues, and showcased in seven biennial conferences and one immersion conference bringing together scholars and practitioners. Educational materials are disseminated worldwide through a web portal ( This work has led to a unique marketplace literacy educational program that approximately 100,000 individuals have received in seven countries – India, USA, Tanzania, Uganda, Argentina, Honduras, and Mexico through the Marketplace Literacy Project, a non-profit organization ( and other partners. The work on subsistence marketplaces has created unique synergies between research, teaching, and social initiatives.

Workshop Host


Madhu Viswanathan is the Diane and Steven N. Miller Professor in Business at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where he has been on the faculty since 1990.  He earned a B. Tech in Mechanical Engineering (Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India, 1985), and a PhD in Marketing (University of Minnesota, 1990).  His research programs are in two areas; measurement and research methodology, and literacy, poverty, and subsistence marketplace behaviors.  He has authored books in both areas: Measurement Error and Research Design (Sage, 2005), and Enabling Consumer and Entrepreneurial Literacy in Subsistence Marketplaces (Springer, 2008, in alliance with UNESCO).  He directs the Subsistence Marketplaces Initiative ( and has created unique synergies between research, teaching, and social initiatives.  He teaches courses on research methods and on subsistence and sustainability. He founded and directs the Marketplace Literacy Project (, a non-profit organization, pioneering the design and delivery of marketplace literacy education to low-income consumers and subsistence marketplaces.  He has received research, teaching, curriculum development, social entrepreneurship, humanitarian, leadership, public engagement, international achievement, and career achievement awards and his course on subsistence marketplaces was ranked one of the top entrepreneurship courses by Inc. magazine.
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