The project in 2016 was focused on developing a community toolkit that resulted in skills sessions being carried out as well as the creation of a leaflet detailing participation methods.
Whitley Big Local and Participatory Action Research: Developing a community ‘toolkit’
This research aims to develop the impact of a recent participatory community research project with the Whitley Big Local, Reading, by creating a participatory methods ‘toolkit’ that can be used by communities seeking to undertake action research. We are seeking an enthusiastic and creative placement student to work with our existing term to develop and design materials that can be used across different media platforms and inform best practice at the national level.
The advert for the 2016 positions can be seen below:
Two students, Abbie Becker and Harriet Hemmings, were selected from the University and their posters and projects can be seen below:
In 2012, the area of Whitley in South Reading was gifted £1 million ‘Big Local’ National Lottery funding to further their community development for the next ten years. In response to this funding, the Whitley Researchers was formed – a group of Whitley residents, representatives from Big Local, staff from the University of Reading and students.
My role during the project included:
Gathering data on the Whitley Researchers experiences
Working with the Local Trust to share the researchers’ stories
Carrying out research on financial exclusion
With it sometimes hard to relate research to the realities of everyday life, the University of Reading and a local community research team, the ‘Whitley Researchers’, adopted a less conventional approach to research, PAR (Participatory Action Research), to make their research more accessible to local people.
PAR (Participatory Action Research) … is a more inclusive approach to conducting research in communities. Local residents are actively involved as researchers so that projects are run with communities rather than about them.
My role has involved:
• Upscaling the impact of their research nationally by designing a leaflet and website
• Sharing the stories of the Whitley Researchers
• Working alongside the Whitley Researchers on their ‘Financial Exclusion’ project
• Facilitating a co-produced event organised by Reading Borough Council to ensure that local voices are heard
The leaflet created can be seen below:
For more placement information, click the links below: