Community as micro sociality and the new localism agenda

Lead Research Organisation: Cardiff University
Department Name: Sch of Social Sciences

Abstract

The Big Society and localism agendas bring to the fore issues of how communities might operate within a time of austerity. This project addresses current concerns by using a theoretical approach to community which understands it as relational activity, the act of communing, which is the small everyday activity which makes up what counts as community. The importance of this lies in the way that it can understand communities not as broken or lacking, but as containing small everyday aspects of activity which can be developed and enhanced. This means that a bottom-up approach to community organisation would understand how relationality operates in time and space. We argue that this can form the basis of a way of approaching community organisation and governance which take localism seriously and which builds upon that activity which already exists, rather than attempting to make up for a perceived lack. Thus we wish to demonstrate that there is such a thing as communal meaning and communal affects, which are always present to some degree. It can be understood as the outcome of action. This approach builds upon a theory of relationality which understands relational connections as central to human subjectivity and argues that communing exists as a complex interrelated network of a number of relationalities, in which communal meanings are created in a way that is separable from relationships which make up the state. In the small acts of sociality which make up communing, cohesion exists to some extent all of the time. Instead of looking for what is absent or broken, this approach looks to what is there in embryo and may be enhanced and developed.
The project approaches this by working with two community organisations in one town, Abergavenny, to produce an account of how community residents live their community sociality across time (historically) and throough the space of the town's geography. We have chosen this location because it presents as a small town, not defined by deprivation or as scoring high on related indices. It thus provides a way to demonstrate how, nevertheless, the differentiation between state and community meanings, can, in the experience of the townspeople, hamper a local approach based ont heir own sense of their community and the actions through which it is created. Their own concerns and frustrations with the local state as currently expressed are the starting point for the project. Could a different approach to localism be built by understanding, mapping and enhancing communal meanings? This approach to localism works across humanities and social sciences disciplines. By working together across the boundaries and edges of these disciplines, we seek to provide a new way of thinking and working. The project engages with the arts to provide a way for local citizens to express their own feelings about their community and the meanings they create and that sustain them. The team will work with cpartner community organisations to support them in developing arts based projects of their own, which form the basis of discussion with the town and with government about the ways forward for a different kind of localism.

Planned Impact

Beneficiaries:
1.the community organisations and the local residents will benefit directly from this research, which aims to address their concerns and needs directly.
2.Local and national government will benefit because the research addresses significant issues concerning localism, which relates to the Big Society agenda. Other local and national government agencies will beneift from the understanding derived from work with one community.
3.Community groups will benefit from an understanding how to put into practice the results and implications of academic research in which they are active partners, for developing a policy and campaigning approach. They will also learn how they might conduct their own research by working as research partners in this project.
4.Business will benefit form a greater understanding of how residents see and engage with them and so understand how businesses might be sensitive to and responsive to the wishes of local communities.
5.The wider public will benefit from an understanding of processes involved in making localism work and the complex ways in which citizens can have a key role to play.
6.The research can contribute to the nation's health by understanding complex affective and emotional aspects of the experience of the central experience of relationality and the place of community in a sense of belonging and containment.
7.The development of an effective local governance which is actively involves its citizens is significant for enhancing the quality of life of local populations.
8.The engagement of arts in the research helps develop the skills of community organisations to disseminate their work and reach the generla public in a popular way, which allows a wide range of citizens to feel included.
9.The local impacts should be relatively fast but it will take longer for them to reach a national and international audience. Discssions with government will take place at the end of the project. so we anticipate a timescale in terms of the 12 months following the project.
10.The project team will gain invaluable interdisciplinary understanding, benfitting researchers and populace alike.
 
Title Llandridance 
Description Work developed by dance company for public engagement 
Type Of Art Performance (Music, Dance, Drama, etc) 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact Change of practice of organisation 
 
Title up the estate 
Description Up the Estate was a musical created by the residents of the North Abergavenny Estate and told the story of the creation and history of the estate via the story of a ficional family. It contained specially created music and featured local young people, amateur and profesisonal actors and a local choir. 
Type Of Art Performance (Music, Dance, Drama, etc) 
Year Produced 2013 
Impact Filled the local theatre with people who do not normally attend a theatre. Had a huge impact on the estate, in the town and with local councillors in giving a different view of what the estate and its people means within the town. 
 
Title wall hanging 
Description A local south Abergavenny community group created a wall hanging by bringing together local artists and local people - the aim was to hang the wall hanging in the entrance to a new community centre that they had been pushing for. 
Type Of Art Artwork 
Year Produced 2013 
Impact The artwork was presented to the town at a town meeting in 2013. 
 
Description Community can be best understood as a verb rather than a noun - the result of actions of micro-sociality and the production of shared communal meaning.
Using the arts to give ownership to disadvantaged communities to produce their own public account in their own way is crucial.
Exploitation Route In academic research - changing the view of how to research community.
In work with cmmunity arts groups, developing our approach in partnership with us.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Education,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

URL http://www.abergavennycommunity.org
 
Description The approach we developed to community using micro-sociality has started to become influential in the field. The use of this with disadvantaged communities using arts has been very significant and led to more research and community partnerships.
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Education,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description AHRC Catalyst fund
Amount £3,000 (GBP)
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2018 
End 08/2018
 
Description AHRC Connected Communities
Amount £5,000 (GBP)
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2016 
End 06/2016
 
Description Connected Communities
Amount £100,000 (GBP)
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2012 
End 01/2013
 
Description ESRC Impact Accelerator
Amount £8,674 (GBP)
Organisation Economic and Social Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2017 
End 03/2017
 
Description ESRC Impact Accelerator
Amount £15,000 (GBP)
Organisation Economic and Social Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2015 
End 06/2016
 
Description ESRC Impact Accelerator
Amount £3,500 (GBP)
Organisation Economic and Social Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2018 
End 06/2018
 
Description Research Grant
Amount £30,000 (GBP)
Organisation Public Health Wales NHS Trust 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2018 
End 08/2018
 
Description connected communities
Amount £150,000 (GBP)
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2013 
End 07/2014
 
Description leverhulme trust major research fellowship
Amount £100,000 (GBP)
Organisation The Leverhulme Trust 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2012 
End 09/2015
 
Title micro-sociality 
Description Using micro-sociality as a research tool for exploring how human interaction creates community 
Type Of Material Model of mechanisms or symptoms - human 
Year Produced 2014 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This was presented at a seminar in 2014 for Sociological Review. This method was subsequently explored by several academic authors writing for a special issue of Sociological Rveiw under the editorship of Studdert and Walkerdine. 
 
Title community co-production 
Description A method of community co-production involving joint working and meetings developed out of our research 
Type Of Material Data analysis technique 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Use by other organisations, requests to teach the method to other organisations 
 
Title micro-sociality 
Description Micro-sociality is an approach to understanding human ineraction and interrelationality in relation to the creation and maintenance of community. 
Type Of Material Data analysis technique 
Year Produced 2014 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Other academics have since taken this up and referred to it in their won writings, for publication in Sociological Review - a special issue edited by Studdert and Walkerdine 
 
Description Catalyst project 
Organisation Manchester Metropolitan University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution AHRC funded Catalyst project sharing data from two porjects to develop the methodlogical and theoretical framework and enhance future co-operation
Collaborator Contribution as above
Impact None yet
Start Year 2018
 
Description Catalyst project 
Organisation Unite the Union
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution AHRC funded Catalyst project sharing data from two porjects to develop the methodlogical and theoretical framework and enhance future co-operation
Collaborator Contribution as above
Impact None yet
Start Year 2018
 
Description Co-producing Community Arts 
Organisation Dawns Powys Dance
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Ran Impact and engagement pilot with them
Collaborator Contribution Organised and ran impact and engagement community dance programme
Impact Guide to Co-producing Community Arts
Start Year 2015
 
Description ESRC Brexit 
Organisation Welsh Assembly
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Running ESRC Impact Accelerator on Brexit
Collaborator Contribution Supporting work and and taking part in workshop
Impact None so far
Start Year 2017
 
Description ESRC IMpact Acelerator Co-produycing community arts 
Organisation ArtWorks Cymru
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Running impact accelerator using our co-production method in community arts
Collaborator Contribution Working as national community arts organisation in using this method with their network
Impact Guide to co-production in community arts Further partnerships
Start Year 2015
 
Description Subjectivity, work and neo-liberalism in Latin America 
Organisation Diego Portales University
Department School of Psychology
Country Chile 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Setting up a Latin American network to foster joint research, writing and publication as well as research student exchange
Collaborator Contribution joint applications for research funding, student scholarships to come to Cardiff, joint publication
Impact Special issue of the journal Subjectivity in preparationresearch grants and fellowships applied for, scholarhsip received
Start Year 2017
 
Description Subjectivity, work and neo-liberalism in Latin America 
Organisation National Autonomous University of Mexico
Country Mexico 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Setting up a Latin American network to foster joint research, writing and publication as well as research student exchange
Collaborator Contribution joint applications for research funding, student scholarships to come to Cardiff, joint publication
Impact Special issue of the journal Subjectivity in preparationresearch grants and fellowships applied for, scholarhsip received
Start Year 2017
 
Description Subjectivity, work and neo-liberalism in Latin America 
Organisation Pontifical Xavierian University
Country Colombia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Setting up a Latin American network to foster joint research, writing and publication as well as research student exchange
Collaborator Contribution joint applications for research funding, student scholarships to come to Cardiff, joint publication
Impact Special issue of the journal Subjectivity in preparationresearch grants and fellowships applied for, scholarhsip received
Start Year 2017
 
Description Subjectivity, work and neo-liberalism in Latin America 
Organisation Sao Paulo State University
Country Brazil 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Setting up a Latin American network to foster joint research, writing and publication as well as research student exchange
Collaborator Contribution joint applications for research funding, student scholarships to come to Cardiff, joint publication
Impact Special issue of the journal Subjectivity in preparationresearch grants and fellowships applied for, scholarhsip received
Start Year 2017
 
Description Subjectivity, work and neo-liberalism in Latin America 
Organisation University of Colima
Country Mexico 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Setting up a Latin American network to foster joint research, writing and publication as well as research student exchange
Collaborator Contribution joint applications for research funding, student scholarships to come to Cardiff, joint publication
Impact Special issue of the journal Subjectivity in preparationresearch grants and fellowships applied for, scholarhsip received
Start Year 2017
 
Description Supporting the development of Colombian shoe manufacture 
Organisation Corporación Universitaria de Colombia Ideas
PI Contribution Workshops demonstrating the use of psychosocial methods in the show sector and co-production in research and engagement within this sector.
Collaborator Contribution Support via participation and locations
Impact None yet
Start Year 2018
 
Description Supporting the development of Colombian shoe manufacture 
Organisation Pontifical Xavierian University
Country Colombia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Workshops demonstrating the use of psychosocial methods in the show sector and co-production in research and engagement within this sector.
Collaborator Contribution Support via participation and locations
Impact None yet
Start Year 2018
 
Description abergavenny community enterprise 
Organisation Abergavenny Community Enterprise
PI Contribution community development
Collaborator Contribution provision of support, services, premises, co-operation
Impact website, film, reports, community festivals and other activities
Start Year 2012
 
Description Artworks Cymru conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Helped take the co-production method out to community arts organisations across Wales
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Brexit meetings and workshops 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Using our co-production method with Welsh Government and local community groups, bringing them together to work on the consequences of Brexit and showing how our method can work in this, developing a method to be used across Wales.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Co-producing community development 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Using our approach to co-production to bring together the government, community professionals and members of communities to co-produce change. More formal working groups were oragnised to take the method further and the Welsh Government invited us to train their research team in the method.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017
 
Description Radio interview 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Interview with Sputnik Radio on current research
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Workshops with Abergavennt residents 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Led to plans for residents and third secor organisation to work together.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017