WHAT WE DO, HOW WE DO IT AND WHY
Broadly speaking our approach falls under the umbrella of Participative Research (PR). The focus is researching ‘with’ rather than ‘on’ people (1) recognising the unique contributions of everyone involved. PR approaches can be particularly engaging for work with vulnerable, marginalised, minority or so-called hard-to-reach groups. The techniques are democratic, pragmatic and solution-focused.
PR encompasses a range of creative techniques which encourage individuals to tap into emotion, affective experience and imagination, as well as reason. There are times when words can’t express what we want to convey: ‘some knowings cannot be conveyed through language’ (2).
We adapt our approach to the needs of specific projects. A project may culminate in a short film or more traditional written output but also possible would be an exhibition, poster or manifesto for action. We always aim to be accessible and relevant.
We have used animation to great effect on a number of projects. It offers endless creative possibilities, is great fun, lends itself to group working, can overcome the limitations of language and protects the identities of participants. It allows young people to explore beyond the limits of photographic realism. Our films are powerful narratives which are reaching large audiences - to date the films together have over 25,000 YouTube views.
We can design projects to address each stage of the research process:
- Explore what the questions are: researchers can work with groups of interest to identify what they think are the hot research questions.
- Gather data: creative techniques offer alternatives to the traditional on-the-spot responses generated by questionnaires and formal research interviews and can provide deeper insights. Participants have the time and space to give serious consideration to a topic, reflect on their experiences and share with a group. Small-group working can build a person’s confidence to revisit, share and reflect.
- Disseminate findings: researchers may have completed a research project and wish to disseminate findings widely through a short animated or documentary film, podcast, exhibition, book or more traditional report.
What we offer:
- we can design and run two- to five-day small-group workshops to explore your issues of interest
- we can bring together the findings for dissemination in a number of novel formats including film, illustration, conference poster, tradition written report, exhibition and photography
- documentary film services
- active focus group facilitation
- design and run participation/involvement activities
So do get in touch if you are:
A researcher considering alternative approaches at any stage in the research process; a community group wanting to explore local issues or influence services; an organisation wanting a more creative approach to research or working practice; a practitioner wanting to design your service according to the wishes of your clients; a teacher or a member of a school wishing to engage young people in a potentially sensitive or difficult topic; a social worker team or someone just interested in finding out more.....
1. Reason, P., Bradbury, H. eds (2001) Handbook of action research, participative inquiry and practice. Sage publications
2. Ellsworth, E. (2005) Place of Learning: Media, Architecture, Pedagogy. NY: Routledge/farmer.