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Empowering communities and making change happen – 9 March 2016, NCVO, London

Posted on May 16 2016 in Events, News & Updates
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On 9 March 2016 The Imagine Project held a policy seminar with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), supported by the Economic and Social Research Council.

The event was very well attended, Imagine Project researchers and community partners were joined by representatives from the Cabinet Office, DCLG, NCVO, The Association for Research in the Voluntary and Community Sector (ARVAC) and London Voluntary Service Council (LVSC).

Commenting on the event, Kate Pahl – Principal Investigator of the Imagine Project and Professor of Literacies in Education at The University of Sheffield said, “Today has been an incredibly valuable opportunity for us to bring our community partners together with policymakers to help them to understand the difference our co-produced community research is making and enable conversations about what each of us can learn from this”.

The aim of the event was to share the emerging findings from the Imagine Project and to stimulate thinking, particularly around policy implications and impact. What important insights from particular places and communities could help shape policy approaches to community policy at a national and local level?

“Today’s workshop has stimulated some really helpful conversations back in the office and will also help us develop future conversations with people doing collaborative research with communities.” Robert Rutherfoord, DCLG.

A report from the event is now available to download (pdf).

Kate Pahl opened the event introducing the Imagine Project and its approach to co-production.

The Imagine Project researchers and community partners then gave rapid fire presentations on the findings of their research:

  1. Co-producing resilient communities in diverse settings: Insights from the Imagine–Social project – Josh Cameron (University of Brighton/BoingBoing); Sarah Henderson (Newport Mind, Wales); Louise Patmore (Sussex Recovery College); Suna Eryigit-Madzwamuse, Angie Hart, Anne Rathbone, (University of Brighton/BoingBoing).
  2. Imagining Benwell and N. Shields: from the national Community Development Projects (1970s) to ‘Our Place’ and beyond – Sarah Banks & Andrea Armstrong (Durham University); Anne Bonner (Riverside Community Health Project, Benwell, Newcastle); Luke Johnston (Phoenix Detached Youth Project, North Shields); Patrick Harman (Hayden Harman Foundation, North Carolina, USA).
  3. Identities, histories and cultures in contested communities: the value of arts, humanities and culture to community-led regeneration – Paul Ward (University of Huddersfield), Milton Brown (KLTV); Maggie Laidlaw (University of Edinburgh); Kate Pahl (University of Sheffield); Kim Streets (Museums Sheffield); Zanib Rasool MBE (Partnership and Development Manager for Rotherham United Community Sports Trust with expertise in community cohesion); Mariam Shah (Historian and Community Partner, Rotherham).

The presentations were followed by questions and discussion before breaking for lunch and networking.

In the afternoon a series of world cafe style round table discussions took place:

Communities in control or left in the lurch? Facilitator: Sarah Banks

Beyond sink or swim: What are the challenges and potentials of co-production to build resilience from childhood to adulthood and to empower marginalised groups? Facilitators: Angie Hart and Suna Eryigit-Madzwamuse

How can we use culture and history critically and creatively to inform future imaginings and development of communities? Facilitator: Paul Ward

The round table discussions were followed by an opportunity for participants to feedback and take part in a further group discussion reflecting on the day’s activities.

Photos from the day, courtesy of Steve Pool: