This group contributes to the Imagine Programme by demonstrating the potential (or not) for community university partnerships to bring people from very different backgrounds together to make better and more resilient collective futures. Our workpackage aims to explore capacities to ignite imagination about the future of healthy and well-functioning communities; and to build resilience and momentum for change using a community-university partnership approach. There are two main elements to the work of our group.
1. The first was to complete a study of community partner and academic experiences of working together, undertaking research with people working in community-university partnerships across the UK. The research was co-produced by the Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation (GMCVO) and the University of Brighton. GMCVO is the voluntary sector support organisation covering Greater Manchester (see https://www.gmcvo.org.uk). Susanne Martikke, the research officer at GMCVO, co-designed the research with Andrew Church, Angie Hart and colleagues at the University of Brighton. Susanne led the data collection and the production of the final report. Susanne was keen to take part in the project as in her own practice at GMCVO she had observed a notable increase in queries from academics trying to get in touch with community partners and/or expressing interest in working together. GMCVO itself has had various experiences of community university partnerships in the past – including joint events, knowledge transfer activities, student placements and collaboration in research. GMCVO is also a founding member of the UK-wide Community Partner Network and runs its own Greater Manchester Third Sector Research Network.
The study gathered data in three ways:
- Qualitative interviews with both university staff and community partners from 23 community-university partnerships across England and Scotland
- Three focus groups with community partners
- Memory stories provided by community partners and academic staff
The research was completed in early 2015 and an account of the partnerships between some of the people who took part can be found in the case studies section on the website of the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement – see publicengagement.ac.uk/case-studies/centre-study-missing-persons for an example of one of the case studies and check out the whole section for the others.
The findings of this first study suggest that successful community-university partnerships have a set of characteristics that include the following:
- Partners accept that partnership working is an ongoing learning experience
- Partners manage to reframe differences into an opportunity, rather than an obstacle
- Partners make an effort to become aware of power dynamics underlying their CUP and take practical steps to address these
- Partners pay attention to the social aspect of the partnership
- Partners play to each other’s strengths and acknowledge that equity and fairness in the partnership is compatible with different levels of involvement by different partners and, if applicable, varying levels of involvement over the course of partnership
- Partners choose a level of formality appropriate to their mission.
But in 2015 many partners recognised the intense resource pressures they were under but felt the community-university partnership was still very important to their work. One community partner talking about their partnership said in the interviews:
“I think it’s really important, I think it’s important for our credibility I think it’s important to keep in the know, I think it’s important to think outside [our own] four walls, and I think it’s really important for [our service users] and for taking this forward. However resources are an at all time low, time is really precious and so I guess it depends a little bit on my continued creativity and commitment to it to keep it going”.
2. The second is a larger piece of work to set up opportunities for people having tough times to learn about resilience based approaches and in some cases to try them out in collaboration with practitioners and academics. Resilience-based approaches support individuals and communities to navigate stressful and challenging life situations and maintain or develop their well-being in spite of threats to their development. We made a film as part of the Imagine Project which says more about our approach to resilience and also introduces some of the people who are involved in this work – youtube.com/watch?v=bH_OXhKdWhQ youtube.com/watch?v=bH_OXhKdWhQ. It’s not long and people tell us it’s quite entertaining so worth a look before you read any further.
Across seven countries (England, Wales, Scotland, Germany, Greece, Turkey and Malaysia) we run several projects, such as on practitioner resilience, academic resilience, family resilience, resilience of adults with mental health problems, resilience of young people with learning difficulties, resilience of young individuals with parental neglect history, resilience of children with long-term illness/hospitalization, resilience of children in care (institutionalized care) and care leavers. Across these projects we have incorporated the Resilience Framework (Hart, Blincow & Thomas, 2007) as the theoretical background and Communities of Practice (CoP: Hart et al, 2013) as the methodological approach. The CoP approach to community–university partnerships brings people together to develop shared ideas and views on problem-solving, practice and theory development. By working in partnership with others from different settings (for example voluntary, statutory and university sectors) CoPs are particularly valuable for making connections and learning within and between participants from different backgrounds and expertise but sharing a mutual interest. To accommodate social and economic differences and diverse opinions a CoP needs to be resilient and take into consideration social context and issues such as inequality, power and voice.
To capture what is happening with these projects within the Imagine Programme Social Context WP we are focusing on understanding whether Communities of Practice is an appropriate approach to researching and improving resilience at multiple levels of social ecology across culturally and contextually diverse circumstances; and whether involvement in these projects would have an impact on the resilience of individuals. At the end of this project we will have a better-understanding of the aspects of community that would help especially with health, wellbeing and resilience of children, young people, adults and families living in adversity and of the ways to develop a resilient social context for them.
- Osnabrueck: Developing Resilience approaches for School children in Germany (co-ordinator: Prof. Wassilis Kassis, University of Osnabruck)
- Crete: Developing Resilience approaches for School children in Crete (co-ordinator: Professor Elias Kourkoutas, University of Crete)
- Exploring the value of a resilience -based approach with young people facing the immediate and long term impact of the life changing event of unexpected early pregnancy (co-ordinators: Professor Brigid Daniel, Sally Wassell)
- Hastings: Resilience and young offenders (co-ordinator: Dr Claire Stubbs, Boingboing)
- South Wales project: Resilience and families (co-ordinator: Sarah Henderson and Laura Brown, Newport Mind)
- West Sussex project: Resilience and recovery (co-ordinator Dr Josh Cameron, University of Brighton; Mair Reardon, Sussex Partnership NHS Trust)
- Brighton: The advanced Resilience Framework project (co-ordinator Kim Aumann, Boing Boing)
- Brighton: Practitioner Resilience, (co-ordinator Caroline Hudson, University of Brighton)
- Brighton: Resilience and young people with learning disabilities, (co-ordinator Anne Rathbone University of Brighton
- Brighton: Care Leaver Resilience (co-ordinator Anne Rathbone, Boingboing)
- London: Resilience of young people with drug/alcohol addiction (co-ordinator: Anne Rathbone, University of Brighton & Boingboing)
- Brighton: Resilience Forum (co-ordinator: Prof Angie Hart: University of Brighton and Boingboing)
- Brighton, South Wales and Turkey: Assessment of Resilience Framework (co-ordinator: Dr Suna Eryigit-Madzwamuse, Uni Brighton & Boingboing)
- Durham: Pilot evaluation of Academic Resilience approach (co-ordinator: Dr Suna Eryigit-Madzwamuse, Uni Brighton)
- Turkey: Resilience of hospitalized children (co-ordinator: Dr Emel Teksoz: Mustafa Kemal University)
Understanding, applying and developing resilience theory and practices to support school children with complex needs in Germany
Prof. Wassilis Kassis, University of Osnabruck
The Osnabrueck project will establish a Community of Practice (CoP) concerned with understanding, applying and developing resilience theory and practices to support school children with complex needs, social emotional difficulties and disabilities. The CoP members will be teachers, social workers, psychologists, school counsellors, academic researchers, and other educational specialists. Consistent with the Resilience Framework this action orientated exploration will involve the collaborators considering social, emotional, psychological and educational factors which impact on the children and their parents, families and communities. It will also involve developing reflexive insights into their own practice, attitudes and resilience. The project will run from September 2014 to June 2015.
Understanding, applying and developing resilience theory and practices to support school children with complex needs in Crete
Professor Elias Kourkoutas, University of Crete
The Crete project will establish two CoPs concerned with understanding, applying and developing resilience theory and practices to understand and support school children with complex needs, social emotional difficulties and disabilities. One CoP will be formed of teachers, social workers, psychologists, school counsellors, academic researchers, and other related specialists and a second CoP will be formed of parents of children with psycho-social difficulties and related complex needs. The CoPs will draw on the Resilience Framework and consider how it could be adapted to be effective in the Greek cultural context. They will also support members to developing reflexive insights into their own practice, attitudes and resilience. The emergent ideas from the CoPs will be used to develop a series of workshops for children with complex needs. These workshops will be facilitated by artists, counsellors, academic researchers and students. The project will run from September 2014 to August 2016.
Exploring the value of a resilience -based approach with young people facing the immediate and long term impact of the life changing event of unexpected early pregnancy
Professor Brigid Daniel
This Scottish based project will establish a CoP concerned with nurturing the resilience of young people who have been subject to child protection proceedings because of concerns about neglect. Members will include parents who have had experience of child protection proceedings because of concerns about the neglect of their children, practitioners, academics and, if possible, young people who have had experience of child protection proceedings because of concerns about neglect. The CoP aims to produce realistic and practical messages and ideas for resilience building practice that can be implemented with the support of the multi-disciplinary core groups working with, and on behalf of, neglected young people. The CoP will consider how different frameworks for understanding and promoting resilience may be used and possibly combined. The project will start in September 2014 and run to August 2015.
Designing and delivering a resilience training programme to support young people in Hastings with experience of poor mental health, substance misuse, homelessness or crime involvement.
Dr Claire Stubbs
Xtrax young people’s centre
The Hastings project will design and deliver a resilience training programme for 16 young people (aged 18-25) who have been involved in crime, poor mental health, substance misuse or homelessness. The community partner organisation from which the young people will be recruited is the Xtrax young people’s centre. The resilience training programme aims to support young people to understand the psycho-social and physical barriers to imagining different futures, whilst facilitating their engagement in employment, education or volunteer opportunities. The project will also establish a resilience forum based on the University of Brighton based boing-model model). As well as the young people, members of the forum will include a range of practitioners, parents, foster carers and academics. In terms of the social learning theory underpinning the project, this space will be a ‘boundary encounter’ where different groups of people with shared areas of interest meet and exchange ideas and understandings. The encounter does not involve the same on-going focused commitment as a CoP but may give rise to CoPs being established (outside of the remit of this research project). The project as a whole will explore how mechanisms based on the Resilience Framework can support individuals to imagine different futures and create opportunities in support of their resilient trajectories. The project will start in September 2014 and run to August 2015.
Understanding, applying and developing resilience theory and practices to support families in Wales
Newport Mind, national charity
Boing Boing, Social Enterprise Brighton
The South Wales project will organise a series of ‘boundary encounters’ where different groups of people with shared areas of interest meet and exchange ideas and understandings. These encounters will act as initial steps towards establishing a CoP focused on developing the individual and collective resilience of young people who experience mental health problems, their families, and professionals (mental health and youth workers, teachers, police, fire service, academics) who work with them. The project aims to collaboratively develop the Resilience Framework by combining it with a holistic family mental health framework which the Mind project partners already use. The boundary encounters and the CoP will engage the knowledge and experience of all participants making use of creative media as well as discussion. As a result it is hoped that the CoP will be self-sustaining beyond the life of the research project. The project will run from December 2014 to August 2015.
Developing a resilience building programme for adults with mental health problems in partnership with Sussex Recovery College
Dr Josh Cameron, University of Brighton
Mair Reardon, Sussex Partnership NHS Trust
The West Sussex project will develop a resilience building programme for adults with mental health problem which will be provided through the Sussex Recovery College. The programme of 8 weekly sessions will be developed and delivered by a partnership of peer trainers, a mental health practitioner (Mair Reardon) from the Sussex Partnership NHS Trust and the project co-ordinator from the University of Brighton (previously also a mental health practitioner). The peer trainers are people with lived experience of mental health problems who are have been recruited and are supported by the Sussex Recovery College which is an established initiative involving a partnership of the NHS mental health trust and service user organisations. The project will develop the course based on an adapted version of the Resilience Framework and draw on other resilience tools and models. It aims to increase participants’ resilience to respond on an individual and collective basis to the adversities they face. It also aims to help participants find ways to challenge these adversities in line with the emerging concept of emancipatory resilience. The project will run from September 2014 to August 2015.
The Advanced Resilience Framework project
Kim Aumann, Boing Boing Social Enterprise Brighton
This project aims to explore in detail how parents and practitioners who are already familiar with the Resilience Framework operationalise the range of resilient ‘moves’ which the Resilience Framework includes. This will support the development of a more refined range of resilient moves which can be used by people supporting children with special and complex needs. This detailed exploration will also produce insights into how parents, carers and practitioners draw on and select imagined better futures to choose their resilient moves. It will provide an opportunity to consider the extent to which in making these moves parents and practitioners are challenging the adversities the children face. The co-researchers will be parents, carers and practitioners who are already members of the Boing-Boing CoP. The project will run from March 2015 to March 2016.
“Our task is to pinpoint ways people are using ideas from the Resilience Framework in practice. We had fun testing out a new exercise together – all you need is a ball of string, a web of adversities and a pair of scissors to cut the web each time you figure out a way to challenge an adversity – voila!” Kim Aumann
“The non-prescriptive nature (of the Resilience Framework) is both a strength and a limitation. For example, making school life work as well as possible can be approached in a variety of ways depending on the context and particular needs of child. Sometimes people need more concrete examples of strategies that could be used, strategies which also recognise power issues which can make it challenging for parents to engage with teachers.” Lindsay Hill, University of Brighton
Making connections – Kim Aumann, Boing Boing Social Enterprise Brighton
I’m a community partner, and here’s a taste of a small piece of work I’m involved with as part of Imagine’s Work Package One: The Social Context. If you remember, our focus is on building and using a multi-faceted network of people (a community of practice), connecting different sites across the UK and in two neighbouring European countries, to explore ways of using the idea of resilience to tackle social inequalities.
One thing we hold in mind, is the concept of connecting communities. We share an interest in avoiding individualised understandings of resilience and instead are curious about how to build connections and the capacity of families, neighbourhoods and communities to support individuals to survive and thrive in tough times. So I wondered how well our own little community of practice was managing to connect and put the following question to 15 members when we last gathered as a group: If, and how, might it have helped to be part of a larger community thinking and doing resilience based work together? Here’s a flavour of what they said: Yes it helps.
- sharing ideas and understandings, knowledge and experience
- reassures and reaffirms the work we are doing at our own sites
- seeing and reflecting on the bigger picture and how others are using resilience
- exploring resilience with others who understand the content and context
- challenges our thinking and ideas because we test it with others in the group
- saves time being all together to share our practice and thinking
- having a safe environment to share questions and experiences
- having time for structured reflection.
It also looks like we have a community of practice based on good relationships with people able to speak and listen, because they went onto say that it would help even more:
- to work with others who don’t have any assumed knowledge about resilience
- to explore how the detail can be perceived and understood differently
- to look at and consider other resilience frameworks and compare them
- to have additional opportunities to share questions and experiences
- to explore different ways to apply the resilience framework
- to discuss quality control to guard against becoming too disparate.
It feels like connections have been made – I just wished I’d asked whether people want to share responsibility for carrying on!
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A realistic evaluation of role resilience in preceptorship: development of a Preceptorship Resilience Framework using a co-operative inquiry process
Health Visitor preceptees (newly qualified) and Health Visitor preceptors ( supporting newly qualified health visitor) will be invited as co-researchers to two separate co-inquiry groups. A steering group of mixed professional preceptorship lead representatives and patient and public involvement will offer perspectives to co-researchers on the emerging Preceptorship Resilience Framework including its value to other professional groups.
The study is part of a doctoral thesis concerning practitioner resilience at the early career phase, known as the preceptorship period. This is a challenging period for both newly qualified practitioners (preceptees) and those who support them (preceptors) with reports of role strain and ‘preceptor burnout’ (Blozen, 2010).
Years of low investment means that the current health visiting workforce is comprised of a diminished number (30-40%) of experienced health visitors. A recent rapid expansion in the number of newly qualified health visitors in the last few years, has resulted in 60-70% qualifying since 2012. This has placed additional strain on those existing health visitors to support preceptorship of the newly qualified whilst maintaining a quality health visiting service.
This is a collaborative study involving the counter-narratives of both novice and those experienced health visitors who support the preceptorship phase. Using the co-operative inquiry process, these co-researchers will undertake a realistic evaluation to determine what shapes their role resilience to co-construct a Preceptorship Resilience Framework for Health visiting.
“The study is at its preliminary stages, currently seeking ethical clearance, and therefore no direct quotes from co-researchers exist. However, there has been interest and support from the Health Visiting community in pre-engagement meetings.”
“This participatory study has the potential for positive change to the challenges in preceptorship roles by including the under-reported narratives of the preceptors, and as such will make a unique contribution not only to the preceptorship literature, but to the practitioner resilience field of research and practice.”
Carr, H., & Gidman, J. (2011). Juggling the dual role of practitioner and educator: practice teachers’ perceptions. Community Practitioner, 85(2), 23–26.
Department of Health. (2011). Health Visitor Implementation Plan 2011-2015; a call to action. London: Department of Health.
Department of Health. (2012). A Health Visiting Career Part 1- Support in the First Two Years Part 2- Supporting Health Visitors to Support Families. London: Department of Health.
Haydock, D., Mannix, J., and Gidman, J. (2011). CPT’s perceptions of their role satisfaction and levels of professional burnout. Community Practitioner, 84(5), 19–23.
Morton, S. (2013). What support do Health visitor mentors need? Community Practitioner, 86(8), 32–35.
National Nursing Research Unit. 2013. Start and Stay: The Recruitment and Retention of Health Visitors. London: King’s College London.
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Brighton: Resilience and young people with learning disabilities
Anne Rathbone, University of Brighton
Culture Shift Arts Connect Project, East Sussex
The research project is being conducted in collaboration with Culture Shift through their Arts Connect Ambassadors Project. Arts Connect seeks to reduce social isolation and promote personal development by bringing young people with learning disabilities together to undertake arts based activity. The specific aim of the Ambassadors Project is to enable Arts Connect members to take on additional roles of higher responsibility and promote the work of Arts Connect. Arts Connect Ambassadors group and the core research activities are funded through East Sussex County Council.
“A most amazing, inspiring and generally fantastic group of people who are working hard to promote their Arts Connect activities and do research into resilience.”
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Brighton: Care Leaver Resilience
Anne Rathbone, University of Brighton
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London: Resilience of young people with drug/alcohol addiction
Anne Rathbone, University of Brighton
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Brighton Resilience Forum
Professor Angie Hart, University of Brighton
Boingboing Social Enterprise, Brighton
The Resilience Forum meets monthly. It brings together anyone with a pulse interested in resilience-related research and practice to listen, learn, debate and connect with others. We generally have a speaker, or we discuss a film or article. The way in which the forum runs in Hastings and Brighton is to support the understanding of the resilience framework through experience, so the forum creates the opportunity for members to experience something that will be of benefit to them and that they can take away with them in their lives or with people they are living and caring for and or working with. The forum attracts practitioners, academics, service users, students and sometimes if it’s especially relevant to them, young people themselves. Our aim is for everyone to feel at home and feel that they contribute to the forum. We always have a cup of tea and a chat afterwards. All details of the forum are advertised on the boingboing website and any slides etc. from past forums can be accessed on the website. Speakers have included a whole range of people – from internationally renowned experts on resilience to students or community members who want to try out their ideas locally, with a group of other people interested in resilience. We are very interested to find out if running a forum helps connect people with others interested in resilience, and whether it helps build useful resilience-related projects and networks.
“To be able to reflect on our how I am integrating Resilience into practice was so valuable. I really do appreciate the forums which are consistently excellent, inspiring and challenging.”
“We set the forum up some years ago and have continued with it as part of the Imagine Project. Whether or not is succeeds at connecting people across their different communities, and whether it helps develop research projects that are more inclusive of practitioner and community members’ perspectives are questions I’d like us to answer. We’re hoping that attending the forum helps people embed and apply resilience-based practice in their own walk of life. Let’s see if it does!”
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Brighton, South Wales, Malaysia and Turkey: Assessment of the Resilience Framework
Dr Suna Eryigit-Madzwamuse, University of Brighton & Boingboing
This study is of interest to academics, practitioners, policy-makers and service-users in the field of health and related disciplines. This project will help to refine the Resilience Framework (RF) in the light of empirical evidence using a Communities of Practice (CoP) approach. This will be accomplished through developing an assessment tool for the RF utilizing a Q-methodology and validating it across diverse cultural settings. This tool will help to systematically assess the impact of the RF. Over 2,000 academics and practitioners have already been exposed to the RF. Many have adopted the framework in their practice and/or research (e.g., Imagine Programme WP1 – Social Context projects) creating repeated enquires about its assessment. In practice, this tool will help to target resources to specific areas chosen accurately by its users. Such a systemic and detailed investigation of resilience practices will be an invaluable source for practitioners in order to imagine and improve their work in collaboration with service-users.
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Durham: Evaluation of Academic Resilience approach: A Pilot study
Dr Suna Eryigit-Madzwamuse, University of Brighton & Boingboing
Using a communities practice approach with a whole system focus Academic Resilience aims to explore ways to build the capacity of school staff and the commitment of school leaders and other key stakeholders to help them identify and implement specific resilience-based actions. We expect that this will help the whole school community to imagine and create a resilient school system which will support vulnerable students do better than their circumstances might have predicted. Within this project we (academics, practitioners, local senior management team and members of school community) will investigate the extent to which the implementation of the Academic Resilience approach builds capacity and community understanding within schools, supports schools to imagine better futures for their vulnerable members, and initiate change in their perspective towards a resilience focus.
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Turkey: Resilience of hospitalized children
Dr Emel Teksoz: Mustafa Kemal University
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