Research Group on Collaboration, Inclusion and Participation
The work of this research group, lead by Dr. Kate Miller, can be seen as a natural extension of the earlier work conducted within the Network for Youth, Social Justice and Inclusive Education, which has been active within the School of Education since early 2011. The Network successfully acquired a small internal grant from the UWS Strategic Development Fund and has used this to fund a small-scale collaborative research project into the impact of youth work interventions on the building of social and emotional capital within urban and rural communities. In early 2012, the Network also held a national conference on Youth in Crisis and Community Interventions at UWS, which attracted over 100 delegates from across the UK and included keynotes and seminars by leading academics and a range of policy makers and practitioners. In this sense, the reach of the initial Network will be extended to incorporate empirical research and new possibilities for knowledge exchange in relation to emancipatory practices, curriculum and pedagogy, inclusive and participatory practices across community and educational contexts. The group will draw on the expertise and interests of its members to develop and extend research in areas of youth work, asset based approaches to community work, inclusive educational practices, processes of curriculum making and pedagogical practice. Members of the group have diverse interests and work across a range of community and educational contexts. Importantly, the research of this group is connected through a focus on research that aims to further social justice and equality. In addition there is an emphasis on the development of research approaches that are collaborative and participatory in nature as this is seen as being fundamental to the research and knowledge making process that has social justice at its heart. Group members will work collaboratively with colleagues from across the university and beyond to further an interdisciplinary nature to our research. An interdisciplinary approach is considered an important aspect of research that addresses the needs of communities in a holistic fashion that enables joined up ways of researching changing local and global contexts. In so doing, the group will develop new opportunities for building a critical mass of funded research, research outputs, conference dissemination and knowledge transfer activity as a means of building new insights for collaborative research in the key areas of participative and inclusive education across all age groups. It will provide capacity building opportunities for emerging researchers to engage in collaborative research projects and contribute towards joint research papers, and will nurture the research studies of existing PhD students whose existing research includes topics such as: the challenges of ethnic minority young people and the impact of youth work/school partnerships; the potential for nurturing a ‘human rights’ culture in Scotland; and the potential for participatory approaches to education to enhance the social, emotional and cognitive development of young people. The group hopes to draw upon the insights from colleagues across the university and beyond for stimulating participation, inclusion and collaboration. As the work of the group continues to grow, it will aspire to add to its membership through attracting other UWS academics and recruiting research students who have interest and expertise in the scholarly areas of focus. It will also seek to build international links and opportunities for cross-European partnerships.