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Connected Communities Programme Update February 2012. Gary Grubb, Associate Director of Programmes, AHRC Connected Communities Programme: Connecting Research for Flourishing Communities Evolving Programme Vision.

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Connected communities programme update february 2012

Connected Communities ProgrammeUpdate February 2012

Gary Grubb, Associate Director of Programmes, AHRC

Connected communities programme update february 2012
Connected Communities Programme:Connecting Research for Flourishing Communities Evolving Programme Vision

To mobilise the potential for increasingly inter-connected, culturally diverse, communities to enhance participation, prosperity, sustainability, health & well-being by better connecting research, stakeholders and communities.

What do we mean by community
What do we mean by Community?

Evolving approach but see communities as:

“dynamic processes through which groups come together, through choice or necessity, to share some common bonds or values or to co-operate and interact over a sustained period of time in pursuit of a collective need or interest in particular issues or outcomes. Communities may be real or imagined, may share a virtual or physical environment and/or may share aspects of identity (such as location, race, ethnicity, age, history, practice), culture, belief or other common bonds, connections or interests but may also transform over time, be culturally diverse and involve significant dissent and conflict”.

What do we mean by community1
What do we mean by Community?

  • Importance of temporal as well as spatial dimensions

  • Communities as process rather than object

  • Recognise that there are many forms of community e.g. ascribed, elective, imagined, transient, etc

  • Consider both the positive and negative aspects

  • Interested both in the relationships within communities and the interactions between communities (past and present) and their outcomes for broader society and economy.

  • Applicants expected to explain the ways in which they are using the term community and thinking about issues of connectedness and to justify why this is appropriate for their proposed research

Why connected research issues
Why Connected? – Research Issues

Currently, in terms of the research:

  • Improve understanding of both the changing connections between individuals & groups within communities & the connections between different communities and their implications for future society.

  • Examine the connections between communities and their broader cultures, histories, beliefs and environments (including spaces, places and institutions) and how this can help inform future community-based approaches.

  • Explore connections between research issues often considered in isolation to deliver more integrated understanding of the roles of, and impacts on, communities.

A connected approach
A Connected Approach

  • Connect UK and international research.

  • Connect researchers, organisations and communities in the co-production of knowledge and knowledge exchange.

  • Connect research funders to enhance co-ordination and alignment of activities and promote partnerships and collaboration to maximise added value from the currently highly fragmented research field and address strategic gaps

A connected approach1
A Connected Approach

Currently, in terms of how the programme will add value:

  • Connect previous research (synthesis, review, etc)

  • Connect researchers, knowledge, approaches and data from across disciplines to deliver more integrated understanding and promote cross-disciplinary research

  • Connect to RCUK Programmes (e.g. Digital Economy, Lifelong Health & Well-being, LWEC, Global Uncertainties, Energy)

Addressing cross cutting themes understanding changing connectivity communities
Addressing Cross-Cutting Themes: Understanding Changing Connectivity & Communities

Some fundamental cross-cutting questions & issues:

What are communities for in modern societies? How have community values & identities changed over time? How do they contribute to quality of life? What do flourishing communities look like? What can we learn from history & different cultures?

Changing connections within and between communities. Inter-relationships, identities, rituals, narratives and networks. Ties to traditions, institutions & places. Trans-national communities.

Understanding communities as dynamic & complex processes and cultural systems

Factors shaping changing communities – interfaces between technological, environmental, social, cultural & economic factors

Incorporation of distinctive arts and humanities perspectives
Incorporation of Distinctive Arts and Humanities Perspectives

Religions – Beliefs – History - Custom – Ritual – Narrative - Tradition – Law – Experience - Heritage - Values – Attachment – Belonging – Feelings – Emotions - Ideas – Purpose & Meaning – Ethics – Protest – Symbolism – Iconography – Representation - Fashion – Design - Culture – Consumption - Music – Performance – Migration – Identities – Diaspora – Archives – Writing – Beauty – Aesthetics – Art – Creativity - Critique

Connected communities programme update february 2012

Programme Themes & Activities Perspectives

Understanding Changing Community Cultures and Histories & Patterns of Connectivity within & between Communities

Research Reviews & 2011 Summit

Community values, participation,

self-reliance and resilience

ESRC/ AHRC joint call 2011

Community health and well-being

Workshop & Follow-up 2011

Community creativity prosperity & regeneration

Creative economy workshop 2010 - 3 large Grants start 2012

Sustainable community environments, places and spaces

Workshop & Follow-up early summer 2012

Community cultures, diversity, cohesion, exclusion & conflict

Potential workshop in 2013

Connecting Research on Communities

Summits 2010, 2011 & 2012

Connecting Research with Communities & other Organisations, Stimulating Research Partnerships and Enhanced Harvesting of Research for Impact

Partnership Activities & Summits – Community inspired projects focus for 2012 Summit

Development funding
Development Funding Perspectives

  • Research reviews: 1st call 2010 -44 awards; 2nd call (A&H only) 2011 – 31 awards

  • Summit follow-up projects: 2010 - 19 projects; 2011 8 follow-up & 10 pilot demonstrator projects; 2012 - ?

  • Crime and communities follow-up projects (with ESRC)(9 projects)

  • Museums & Galleries Programme follow-up projects (6 projects)

  • Research development workshops: creative economy – 7 projects; health & wellbeing on communities – 4 projects

  • Highlight notice (e.g. AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Awards, Fellowships, Networking awards)

Connected communities programme update february 2012

Examples of pilot demonstrator projects: Perspectives1. Taverns, locals and street corners: cross-chronological studies in community drinking, regulation and public space

  • Comparative, trans-historical investigation of communal drinking in Early Modern Florence, Enlightenment London and contemporary Bristol to understand competing communities (commercial, governance, residential community, community of drinkers) in civic public places

  • Perspectives from history, performance studies, law & urban studies

2 memories of mr seel s garden engaging with historic future food systems in liverpool
2. Memories of ‘Mr Seel’s Garden’: Engaging with historic & future food systems in Liverpool

  • Working with community organisations within Liverpool’s fledgling local food movement to explore how engaging local communities with the changing patterns of local food production could contribute to grassroots efforts within Liverpool to raise awareness around current food issues

  • Local volunteers will use oral histories, historic map research and archive research to develop a multi-layered account of historic food systems in Liverpool

  • Combines philosophy, community archaeology, archival science, digital arts, history and food studies

Developing partnerships
Developing Partnerships historic & future food systems in Liverpool

  • Young Foundation project on Civility in 21st Century Britain (with ESRC)

  • Workshop on ‘Design & Communities’ with Design Council in Gateshead on 20-21 June 2011 & follow-up funding for 4 small projects

  • Research partnership with RSA & its Citizen Power in Peterborough Project (fellowship & project)

  • Research for Community Heritage call in collaboration with HLF and NCCPE– phase 1 (2012) 21 small awards, phase 2 late 2012

Longer and larger funding
Longer and Larger Funding historic & future food systems in Liverpool

  • Communities and Creative Economy Research Development Workshop (held in late 2010) (Proposals up to £1.5m) – 3 large consortia grants recently announced

  • ESRC / AHRC Community Engagement and Mobilisation call (proposals up to c. £2m)– 4 shortlisted EOIs, expect to fund 2 projects

  • Communities, Culture, Health & Well-Being Research Development Workshop (held in autumn 2011) (Proposals up to £1.5m) 6 Project Development awards – decisions on large consortia late 2012

  • Call for 2 Programme Leadership Fellowships – Feb / March 2012

  • Communities, Culture, Environment & Sustainability Research Development Workshop ( to be held in early summer 2012)

Communities the creative economy projec ts
Communities & the Creative Economy Projec historic & future food systems in Liverpoolts

  • Understanding Everyday Participation – Articulating Cultural Values (PI Dr Andrew Miles, Manchester University, also Exeter, Leicester, & Warwick)

  • Cultural Intermediation: connecting communities in the creative urban economy (PI Dr Phil Jones, Birmingham University, also Salford, Leeds Met., Birmingham City, Cardiff)

    Partners include: Arts Council England, Unity Radio, Sampad South Asian Arts, DCMS, Birmingham & Manchester City Councils, RSA, Inst of Contemporary Arts, Brighter Sound...

  • Media Community and the Creative Citizen (PI Professor Richard Hargreaves, Cardiff University also Birmingham City, RCA, UWE, Open Uni)

    Partners include: NESTA, The Glass-House (Design), Ofcom, Talk about Local, Knowle West Media Centre, South-Blessed, Moseley Community Development Trust)

Understanding everyday participation articulating cultural values
Understanding Everyday Participation – Articulating Cultural Values

  • Bringing together evidence from in-depth historical studies, re-analysis of existing survey data and new qualitative research on the detail, dynamics and significance of day-to-day cultural practices and engagements, the project aims to create new understandings of community formation, connectivity and capacity through participation

  • Collaboration with 16 national and local partners, including Arts Council England, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, and the Working Men’s Cubs and Institutes Union, with Creative Scotland supporting additional case study work

Future activities
Future Activities Cultural Values

  • Commissioning 2 Leadership Fellowships on ‘Community Cultures’ & ‘Community Engagement’ (call Feb/ March 2012)

  • Complete commissioning of ESRC/AHRC consortia call on ‘Community Engagement & Mobilisation’ & Follow-up to Health & Well-being workshop

  • Research Devel. Workshop on Communities, Culture & Sustainability (early summer 2012) Call for participants c.March 2012

  • Second phase of Researching Community Heritage initiative with HLF late 2012

  • 2013 Research Devel. Workshop provisionally on Communities, Cultures, Diversity and Cohesion

  • Further award-holders Summit in 2012 – ‘community-inspired’ follow-up projects, 2013 Summit with possible international theme

  • Continuing AHRC Highlight Notice (Networks & Fellowships, CDAs)

  • Possible launch conference / showcase event

  • Advisory group to advise on further priorities & partnerships

Some issues for peer review
Some Issues for Peer Review Cultural Values

  • Recognising genuinely cross-disciplinary research – A&H shaping agendas not just informing interventions

  • Supporting innovation and ‘edge’ / higher risk proposals

  • Communicating aims, criteria and focus to reviewers not present at events – e.g. when criteria may be re-enforced, discussed / developed at events

  • Challenges of high quality applications with poor fit to Programme

  • Are communities at the core of the research questions/ does a community focus make a difference to the research?

  • Focus on research with rather than on communities but co-design and co-production with communities may raise issues e.g. with projects needing to be more open to community influence rather than fully defined in advance

  • In large and complex grants it is hard to get absolutely everything right – how should imperfections in otherwise strong proposals be handled?

Key features of programme projects some ideas discussed at the 2011 summit
Key Features of Programme Projects Cultural Values Some ideas Discussed at the 2011 Summit

  • Exploits the benefits of inter-disciplinary research but not interdisciplinary for interdisciplinary’s sake

  • Innovative / something not done before / not boring! / some element of ‘edge’

  • Not constrained to produce predictable outcomes / allows for higher risk research which may not produce the ‘expected’ results

  • Ideas driven

  • Sets new agenda

  • Transparent methodologies

  • Has relevance beyond the specific case studies

  • Builds upon existing knowledge.

  • Engages with stakeholders alive and dead

  • Should have pathways to potential impact embedded within the project

  • Methods to assess the impacts upon communities built into the design

  • Benefits from insights from the arts and humanities

Connected communities programme update february 2012

End Cultural Values