Taking Yourselves Seriously

Lead Research Organisation: Manchester Metropolitan University
Department Name: Faculty of Education

Abstract

This project aims to create useful knowledge from a research project called 'Co-producing Legacy' that looked at what artistic understandings and knowledge contributed to research within the Connected Communities programme. The original project found that ways of doing things from artistic practice could inform community oriented research. These ways of doing things include methodologies that were founded on tacit, experiential, visual and linguistic knowledges that are open to change and can be experimental. Artists can produce paintings, write poems and create sculptures; they can also challenge or question how people think about the world and approach everyday experience from a 'slant' perspective. Methodologies stemming from these approaches can enable the production of poetry, visual art and film as outputs as well as create a questioning space where failure, experimentation and different ways of knowing are brought to the fore. These could be described as 'methods' but not in a social scientific mode of enquiry. Artistic methodologies might be open -ended, non consensus seeking and involve tacit and materially situated forms of knowledge creation. We are going to trial these methodologies within three projects with a focus on social cohesion within communities, and explore how research methods generated from creative and artistic sources can support and enable community researchers to do their own research. We will be producing resources from our work with three projects drawing on the 'Co-producing Legacy' research project, but with a new focus on social cohesion.

The project team will work collaboratively with a national community research organisation, ARVAC (the Association for Research in the Voluntary and Community Sector) together with social cohesion experts from Sheffield City Council and Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council to embed artistic methodologies into community research through a series of focused projects. The projects will take place in a school in central Rotherham, a community context (British Asian Women's groups) and an adventure playground in Pitsmoor in Sheffield, UK.

The aim is to support sustainable and participatory research within communities that draws on artistic methodologies. The outcome will be a set of downloadable resources on the ARVAC website that can inform community researchers about the potential of this sort of research and ways of approaching such research, drawing on case studies and providing concrete examples of practice so that researchers can try out their own ideas.
This resource will be disseminated through the national networks that ARVAC can supply together with experts within the field of social cohesion. Our aim is to create a resource that disseminates the power and value of artistically informed research within communities to new audiences and can enable community and voluntary groups concerned about social cohesion to conduct their own research and disseminate this within communities.

Planned Impact

1. Community researchers from the voluntary and community sector who wish to do research within communities but lack access to resources that inform them about artistic methodologies will benefit from the research. The most common methodologies that are most recognised in non academic i.e. community settings include questionnaires, interviews and case studies alongside quantitative surveys. Methodologies that draw on artistic notions of research, e.g. experimentation, uncertainty, visual and experiential knowledge and ways of knowing that are divergent and complex are less commonly understood outside universities. This project aims to draw on knowledge created in the 'Co-producing Legacy' project in order to support researchers in communities do research that benefits their communities. Our resources for community researchers will be produced in collaboration with the project team and developed and written for clarity and ease of reading by RA Goldstraw, who links to the partner organisation, ARVAC (The Association for Research in the Community and Voluntary Sector).
2. ARVAC will benefit, by having access to a body of knowledge that adds to their existing toolkit: 'Community Research: Getting Started' which provides researchers with ideas about ways of approaching research in community contexts. ARVAC aims to act as a resource for people interested in research in or on community organisations. This project will enable such researchers to access artistic methodologies.
3. The research will benefit schools who work with diverse pupils who wish to create innovative projects that support social cohesion through language. We have chosen to focus specifically on social cohesion following widespread concern after the Brexit vote and in the context of increased migration within the communities where we have chosen to work. The projects are all concerned with social cohesion across sites, spaces and generations and will generate research based knowledge that to support others to do similar research and carry out similar projects. Our aim is to produce resources, available on the project website to support schools who wish to develop ways of working in this way. Co-I Mcmillan will be instrumental in developing these resources.
4. We will also develop resources to support researchers working with British Asian women who wish to create an alternative language of success through artistic methodologies. A book of ideas on artistic methods to support narratives of identity with British Asian women will be produced with Co-I Rasool.
5. HEI's who work with community researchers to do co-produced research will benefit. During the year ARVAC aim to hold a number of regional based events in partnership with HEIs including Manchester Metropolitan University, Nottingham Trent University, University of East Anglia, University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University, Edge Hill University and through their connections with academic partners universities in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the other English regions. In addition through their trustees they have direct access to the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), a number of CVS organisations and the Voluntary Sector Studies Network. The University of Sheffield has links with N8 work on Co-production.
Community researchers will have access to resources that support artistic and creative types of research. The three projects will be able to trial approaches that are artistic including poetry, visual art, film and stories, in order to find out how the arts can support social cohesion. In their letter of support, ARVAC confirmed that the resulting research resources will be disseminated by them and they will be keen to make other researchers aware of the work. The resulting resources will be useful for schools, community groups, youth groups and researchers working in diverse communities who wish to undertake innovative community research.

Publications

10 25 50
publication icon
Chapman Hoult E (2020) Poetry as method - trying to see the world differently in Research for All

Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
AH/P009573/1 01/02/2017 31/12/2017 £79,535
AH/P009573/2 Transfer AH/P009573/1 01/01/2018 31/01/2018 £16,799
 
Title Taking yourself seriously book 
Description This is a book of poetry and research by young people from Clifton School in Rotherham. 
Type Of Art Creative Writing 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact This book has been distributed to teachers, academics and members of the public in many different contexts as a way of showcasing the power of creative methods to support social cohesion. 
 
Description We have found that artistic methods can support different ways of knowing in communities. In the school project, we found that children were able to teach and create poetry as authors. In the Muslim women's project, a book was created of stories and art work that supported the narrative that Muslim women have a strong contribution to make and that younger generations have high ambitions for the future. Our work has informed our new GCRF/AHRC network, Belonging and Learning: using participatory arts with street connected and refugee young people in Uganda, Kenya and Democratic Republic of Congo' which is about the potential of arts methods to inform policy makers who work with street-connected and refugee young people.
Exploitation Route We think the project has created useable knowledge about how the arts can support co-creation and co-production. We have been working with a group across Greater Manchester Combined Authority to disseminate our findings.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

URL http://arvac.org.uk/projects/
 
Description We presented this project to the 'Stronger Communities' forum in Rotherham in November 2018. At this event, questions were asked about how to listen to communities and the potential of the arts for that listening. In addition, a radio appearance by the PI, Dr Kate Pahl, on 'Thinking Allowed' led to further enquiries about arts-based methods in local contexts. A further enquiry from a public health official in Cardiff, Wales has led to an artistic approaches being considered as a way of working with young people in experimental ways. Our project is now visible on the ARVAC website for others to share. In addition, the work we have done has informed a new GCRF/AHRC network called, Belonging and Learning: using participatory arts with street connected and refugee young people in Uganda, Kenya and Democratic Republic of Congo'. This will draw on arts methodologies to enable the educational needs of street-connected and refugee young people to be heard within policy contexts. The school where we did the original research was very impressed with the results and the resulting book has been widely distributed.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description Co-production network 
Organisation Blaze
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution This is a co-production group exploring ways in which it is possible to do co-production with young people, with partners from across Greater Manchester and with the University of Sheffield and Manchester Metropolitan University.
Collaborator Contribution The partners have helped us think through key ideas in relation to co-production
Impact We have been involved in setting up a conference on co-production and creative methods. Some of us have contributed to the work of the Sheffield based 'Jam and Justice' project. We have also developed bids and ideas together.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Co-production network 
Organisation Greater Manchester Combined Authority
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution This is a co-production group exploring ways in which it is possible to do co-production with young people, with partners from across Greater Manchester and with the University of Sheffield and Manchester Metropolitan University.
Collaborator Contribution The partners have helped us think through key ideas in relation to co-production
Impact We have been involved in setting up a conference on co-production and creative methods. Some of us have contributed to the work of the Sheffield based 'Jam and Justice' project. We have also developed bids and ideas together.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Co-production network 
Organisation The Children's Society
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution This is a co-production group exploring ways in which it is possible to do co-production with young people, with partners from across Greater Manchester and with the University of Sheffield and Manchester Metropolitan University.
Collaborator Contribution The partners have helped us think through key ideas in relation to co-production
Impact We have been involved in setting up a conference on co-production and creative methods. Some of us have contributed to the work of the Sheffield based 'Jam and Justice' project. We have also developed bids and ideas together.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Co-production network 
Organisation Whitworth Art Gallery Manchester
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This is a co-production group exploring ways in which it is possible to do co-production with young people, with partners from across Greater Manchester and with the University of Sheffield and Manchester Metropolitan University.
Collaborator Contribution The partners have helped us think through key ideas in relation to co-production
Impact We have been involved in setting up a conference on co-production and creative methods. Some of us have contributed to the work of the Sheffield based 'Jam and Justice' project. We have also developed bids and ideas together.
Start Year 2018
 
Description A talk to teachers in London at Goldsmiths college 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was a talk given to teachers across London about the importance of reading as a visual and material activity.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description ARVAC web pages 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact The Taking Yourself Seriously project findings and literature review were given a place on the ARVAC website, and widely disseminated via their channels.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://arvac.org.uk/projects/
 
Description Building Stronger Communities Forum 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact This was a 20 minute presentation by Kate Pahl to the Building Stronger Communities Forum in Rotherham followed by a discussion on the learning points from the project. The BSC Forum is chaired by the Leader of Rotherham Borough Council and oversees the strategy and key programmes for cohesion in the borough. Other members of the Forum include: the Cabinet Members with portfolios for community safety and community cohesion, the Chief Executive of Rotherham Borough Council and representatives of voluntary, faith leaders and BME groups.

Attendees at the meeting were:

RMBC Councillors
Cllr Chris Read (Chair) Leader
Cllr Emma Hoddinott, Cabinet Member for Waste, Roads and Community Safety
Cllr Sarah Allen, Cabinet Member for Cleaner, Greener Communities

Partners
Steve Chapman, Operations Superintendent, South Yorkshire Police
Janet Wheatley, Chief Executive, Voluntary Action Rotherham

RMBC Officers
Tom Smith, Assistant Director - Community Safety and Street Scene
Sam Barstow, Head of Community Safety, Resilience and Emergency Planning
Shokat Lal, Assistant Chief Executive
Jackie Mould, Head of Performance, Intelligence and Improvement
Miles Crompton, Policy and Partnership Officer
Waheed Akhtar, VCS Liaison Officer
Ian Stubbs, Community Engagement Co-ordinator
Alice Godfrey, Project Support Assistant

Waheed Akhtar, Voluntary Sector Liaison Officer in Rotherham Council, has also stated that learning from the project will be taken into account when a review of cohesion is undertaken by Rotherham Council.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Co-production working group across Greater Manchester organised jointly with Jam and Justice 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact In June 2018 a group of academic researchers from Sheffield and Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), and representatives from the Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation (GMCVO) and the Children's Society met to introduce each other and share some sandwiches and ideas. A second meeting was then organised by GMCVO in September 2018, which provided an opportunity to find out more about GMCVO's Talent Match programme. Here we were joined by people from Manchester Museum, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and Greater Manchester Youth Network. On 11th January, the group met for a third time, with the intention of sharing practices, networks and ideas. The range of participants again expanded, with people from Barnados, Blaze, Reclaim, and the Canal & Rivers Trust. MMU provided a venue, stepping in when the Children's Society's office relocation prevented them co-hosting. The session was lightly structured, with facilitation shared between Beth, Kate, and Jo Hunt, GM Area Manager for the Children's Society. We exchanged a variety of lessons learned, as those present shared reflections on their experience of and interests in co-production with young people.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://jamandjustice-rjc.org/blog/young-people-and-co-production-exchanging-knowledge-reflecting-pr...
 
Description Keynote at the Connected Communities conference on Participatory Art, Norwich 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact This was a keynote given by Steve Pool which described some of the outcomes of the Taking Yourself Seriously project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Presentation at the ARVAC conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Uncover > Action was a new conference from Local Trust and ARVAC (Association for Research in the Voluntary and Community Sector) focusing on community research that has made a difference to people's lives. It brought together exciting examples of research made with and in communities and showed how impact can last beyond a final report.The conference aimed to:
Provide insight into what communities care about today
Give a platform to overlooked and unheard voices
Share research that has led to change in policy and practice, locally or nationally.
The presentation was about arts based methods and the delegates listened to information about the Taking Yourself Seriously project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://localtrust.org.uk/big-local/events/uncover-action/
 
Description Talk at the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement engage academy event 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was a talk on the 'Taking Yourself Seriously' project which was given to those involved in public engagement from both within and outside universities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Talk to a headteacher 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact This was a talk about the 'Taking Yourself Seriously' project given to the Senior Management team at Clifton School. They were impressed by how successful the project had been and said we could follow up the project if we were able to do so.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Talk to the National playworkers conference, Eastbourne 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was a talk about the Taking Yourself Seriously project by Patrick Meleady and Steve Pool. The audience were playworkers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Telephone discussion with Kim Marwood, Civil Servant, Policy Adviser - Integration Policy | Integration and Communities Directorate 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact This was a telephone discussion about pulling together an expert panel on co-production with a focus on social cohesion. I was able to provide details of key projects (e.g. Trust Maps, Productive Margins, Common Cause) as well as provide information on the Taking Yourself Seriously project and Imagine. These ideas were then taken forward for an expert seminar/workshop type event.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Understanding diversity through collaborative research 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The talk was to Cultural Forum North and was about co-produced research and diversity, with a particular focus on collaborative methodologies.
The talk referred to the 'Taking Yourself Seriously' project as well as the 'Imagine' project. Many members of the group were from major museums and galleries as well as arts council England. the talk sparked discussion about research methodologies that foster inclusion and diversity in arts organisation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Workshop for the Engage Academy 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was a workshop run at the National Centre for Public Engagement (NCPPE)'s Engage academy. It was about arts methods and co-production. It was well-attended.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.publicengagement.ac.uk/whats-new/blog/what-difference-did-engage-academy-make-201920-coh...