Hearing about the highlights and the low points of a journey to create a community-campus partnership for health. This was all about one fundamental idea – bringing community know-how together with academic know-how to grow local solutions that address health inequalities. This short cabaret conversation will tell the story of the aspiration, the innovation, the frustration and the struggle. So, is linking community-know-how with academic knowledge such a dangerous idea? Universities seem to be quick to be self-congratulatory about how ‘nice’ they are to local communities, but changing the culture is a quite a different challenge. This conversation will offer some honesty about the scale of that challenge and where we are now. Solutions welcome.