PIF Events

The Participatory Research Group hold Participatory Inquiry Forums (PIFs) throughout the academic year to engage staff and students and share best practice for participatory research. Upcoming and past PIFs are listed below.

Upcoming Participatory Inquiry Forums

TBC for 2021/22

Past Participatory Inquiry Forums

7 July 2021 – Participatory Action Research to develop a Blended Theory Model for improving the learning and teaching of theory for social work

Gavin Millar presented his doctoral thesis, which involved students and educators, as co-researchers, determining rigour for a metatheoretical (theory of theories) artefact, as a part of a Participatory Action Research inquiry. In brief, social work has a long history, dating back to the late 1800s, of accommodating theories from different fields of study, such as (but far from limited to) philosophy, sociology, and psychology. However, in-house academics, independent government reviews, and serious case enquiries, have laid blame on the teaching of theory, to be at the root of educational difficulties with preparing social workers for the complexities of contemporary practice (Munro, 2011; Stepney, 2012). Embracing students and practitioners’ feedback and suggestions, Gavin therefore developed the Blended Theory Model (the Artefact), to engage with the problem and promote transparency in working with social work’s transtheoretical epistemology. The Artefact was subsequently examined, and amended, by a Focus Group of co-researchers (including students, practitioners and educators) with aims for improving the learning and teaching of theory for social work.

6 May 2021 – Towards a Mainstream Participatory Approach in the Construction of Included Identities in Leaving Care

Leaving care is the process by which young people, 16/18 and over, transition from foster/residential care. Dr Roxana Anghel presented a continuum of two projects: one analysing the discourses on ‘care leavers’ developed over 50 years in Romania, and another exploring the contemporary representations of the ‘care leaver’ by the international research community. Emergent is an established tendency for discursive practices that construct a deficit identity, likely to contribute to the social exclusion of young people in and out of care. This contrasts with the care leavers’ advocacy and activism calling for a strengths perspective. A participatory research project was proposed towards a platform for care-leaver activists to construct ‘leaving care’ through their own gaze, and the development of a co-production methodology that can be proposed as a mainstream approach to understanding leaving care and care leavers.

4 March 2021 – Participatory research online with care leavers to explore their experiences of support during the Covid-19 pandemic

Dr Niamh O’Brien and Anna Dadswell presented their participatory research on care leavers’ experiences of support during Covid-19, in collaboration with Essex County Council, funded by the Department for Education. The PIF explored the opportunities and challenges of working with young people online during the global Covid-19 pandemic.

19 November 2020 – Interpretative phenomenological analysis and photovoice methods in participatory therapeutic contexts

Julia Johnson is Lecturer and Course Leader in Photography with Cambridge School of Art at Anglia Ruskin University. Julia presented her research, which has engaged people accessing NHS mental health settings in participatory photography programmes – using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) and photovoice methods to assess this approach. Julia discussed the value and ethics of this methodology, which was used to elicit meaningful participant responses in this context.

6 February 2020 – Doctoral participatory research

In this PIF two Professional Doctorate in Education students presented: Tracey Price on her participatory action research into student voice and the role of school governors, and Gill Thomas on her appreciative inquiry into successful distributed leadership in secondary schools.

26 November 2019 – Language and landscapes of participatory research 

In this PIF we explored the shifting language and landscapes of participatory research. We were joined by special guest Maritta Törrönen, Professor of Social Work at the University of Helsinki and Visiting Fellow at ARU, who shared her experience of participatory research in Finland and the UK.

4 July 2019 – Networking and Planning for the Future

In this PIF we caught up on various different research projects and their participatory aspects, and discussed what would be useful to focus on in 2019-20.

7 May 2019 – Participatory Research with Marginalised Communities

Professor Jeffrey Grierson shared his extensive experience in conducting research into HIV/AIDs, sexuality and young people. Dr David Smith presented research exploring the social and health inequalities of Roma groups in Medway, Kent.

28 February 2019 – Participatory Approaches in Doctoral Research

Kay Aaronricks presented on the use of crystallisation as an approach to data analysis, drawing from Brookfield’s lenses of reflection to promote the identification of voice within action research. We also heard from Matt Fossey about the use of visual photograph elicitation methods in engaging military veterans and their brothers in the research process.

4 December 2018 – Getting Funding and Reflections on Involvement

Professor Carol Munn-Giddings, Dr Niamh O’Brien and Dr Melanie Boyce shared some guidance on getting funding for participatory research. We then heard from Rebeka Fox and Jan Stannard from the Older People’s Research Group Essex reflecting on their experience of being involved in the Creative Journeys Research led by ARU and Essex County Council.

15 March 2018 – Participatory Research through the Doctoral Journey

We heard about the challenges of getting doctoral participatory research off the ground from Anna Dadswell and reflections on all stages of conducting doctoral participatory research presented by Dr Mallika Kanyal.

5 December 2017 

Various speakers shared their creative methods in participatory research, including Dr Adriana Sandu on raising awareness of refugees in schools, Dr Paulette Luff, Dr Mallika Kanyal and Faye Acton on the impact of the arts on children’s creative writing, and Sharon Jones on using creative participatory methods in her doctoral research with the so-called ‘underclass’.

18 July 2017

Networking and sharing creative ideas, methods and models for engaging participants in participatory research to develop a portfolio of resources for conducting participatory research.

12 April 2017

Dr Tina Cook from Northumbria University will deliver a presentation with a focus on impact through participatory research and the future of the UK / European participatory research networks.

23 February 2017

Round table discussion on planning and using participatory approaches in the doctorate, including discussions on the proposal, ethics, fieldwork and the viva.

8 December 2016

Presentations from Professor Maritta Törrönen on participatory research with young people leaving care in Finland and the UK and Dr Nick Caddick reflecting on setting up participatory research with older veterans who have lost a limb.

5 July 2016

Networking event to explore collaborative working and writing opportunities.

12 May 2016

University students in the research process, led by Mallika Kanyal and Dr Paulette Luff.

9 February 2016

Defending the Participatory Approach in the Viva, led by Dr Andy McVicar and Professor Carol Munn-Giddings.

25 November 2015

Helping commissioners to understand their responsibilities when working with service user researchers, led by Maxine Nightingale. PROMISE: A multi-disciplinary project aimed at reducing restraint in mental healthcare, led by Dr Ceri Wilson.

16 July 2015

Networking event to explore collaborative working and writing opportunities.

10 March 2016

Listening to teachers to encourage listening to children in schools- reflections from an arts project, led by Dr Paulette Luff. Developing participatory ways of working with Early Childhood students in a higher education institute, led by Mallika Kanyal. Involving young people as co-researchers in exploring bullying in their school, led by Niamh O’Brien.

2 December 2014

One message – many voices: Working with Gypsy, Traveller and Roma groups, led by Dr Pauline Lane. Conducting Ethnographic study in an urban Church: seeking informed consent, led by Geoffrey Amoateng. Working with women with multiple and complex needs, led by Kathryn Hodges.

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