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Participations: Participatory approaches to Research and Practice Network

The Participations Interdisciplinary Research Network has two main thematic areas: participatory research methodologies and participatory practice and action based research.  



Participation is a growing area of relevance to all areas of the University’s stated vision for Education, Research and Creative Practice. As well as existing successful participatory research projects in the Arts, Media and Culture areas (such as radio.garden and  Putting Southwick on the Map) there is strong interest in participatory methodologies across disciplines such as Education; Community, Youth and Social Work; Health and Wellbeing; Criminology; Childhood Studies  and Computer Sciences.

The Network aims to foster a ‘joined up’ approach to this growing field - we think we have a lot to learn from each other and successful funding bids and research projects can be strongly enhanced by a focus on this approach.

Current Activity

AHRC bid (in development): Vocal, Local and National Voices on Integration. Interdisciplinary partnership Dr Caroline Mitchell (FACI); Dr Rick Bowler and Liz Woolley (FES) Young Asian Voices Sunderland, Southwick Neighbourhood Youth Project, Thornhill School; Similar interdisciplinary partnership mirrored at University of Bedfordshire.

C-Map (Cultural Mapping, Arts and Participation) is an approach developed by Mitchell and Winter (2018) as part of action-based research with Southwick residents and organisations to influence arts commissions for long term wellbeing of Southwick residents. This is now being applied to develop community engaged participatory research as a basis for Social Prescribing (Arts and Wellbeing) Meetings have taken place with Dr. Yitka Graham Head of the Helen McArdle Nursing and Care Research Institute and Lead Health and Care Workforce Interdisciplinary Research Network’. A Pilot project - Southwick Covid Arts Recovery- will start in July 2021, led by artist Lyn Killeen.

2021-2 plans

  1. Network meetings – focus on post REF themes including practice-based research and participatory approaches to researching post COVID environment (September 2021, quarterly)

  2. Participatory Methods Symposium (June 2022)
  3. Podcast series, online materials and case studies of effective practice (July 2021- May 2022)

  4. Cross Faculty Mentoring scheme for ECR’s doing participatory practice-based research