Uncovering participation in Manchester and Salford: preliminary interview findings

Catherine Bunting discusses the first wave of interviews in Manchester

We completed the first wave of in-depth interviews in Manchester in February and since then we’ve been pouring through the interview transcripts to find out what everyday participation looks like in Broughton and Cheetham Hill and how different forms of participation shape and are shaped by identities, social relationships and ‘place’. Continue reading

Participation Narratives

Andy Miles talks about UEP interviewing and participation narratives

What does it mean to participate? How, where and why does participation happen and with what consequences – for individuals, families, communities and places? UEP is combining a suite of methods in each of its six case study locations (cultural ecosystems) in order to probe such questions. These include cultural assets mapping – using both official data and vernacular accounts – community and stakeholder focus groups, local histories of participation, in-depth interviews, ethnography and social network analysis. Continue reading

Oman on Tour: everyday participation in the Welsh mountains

image fr black mountain roundabout site

Susan Oman writes from her fieldwork tour of the UK:

As I stir I grow nervous, wondering at the unknown characters I am to meet today, and further daunted by tomorrow’s ambition, a ‘mountain marathon’, no less. Yesterday’s golden sunset which bathed the Black Mountains has receded into notorious low-visibility Welsh drizzle, clinging to the hills in a sodden embrace. I am in a farm nestling between peaks and sheep and as I turn over I glance at a book I’d ignored before sleep last night. Called Everyday Life Through the Ages, I note the relevance of its title, as I prepare to meet members of the Powys Family History Society* on the first day of what I have spent recent months calling ‘Oman on tour’.


At the River Café (not that one) on the cusp of the River Wye and the Brecon Beacons I find a lively bunch, abundant with personal and local history alike. I intuitively locate familiar themes of place, belonging and community in what they say; but am mainly struck by the time devoted to describing ‘everyday participation’ when asked ‘what matters to you?’ While I cannot recall anyone saying ‘everyday’ or ‘participation’ exactly, hobbies were enthusiastically listed; with words such as, ‘leisure’ and phrases such as, ‘a sense of achievement in gardening’ discussed at length. Given that my application to the UEP PhD studentship imagined the pervasiveness of ‘everyday participation’ in narratives of well-being, to hear people describing these things (unprompted, I must add) a year and a half later is both a relief and a delight.

planned fieldworkOver the next few months I shall travel back and forth across the UK from Cornwall to Aberdeen, Derry to London, and much besides (I did say I had been calling it #Omanontour), to listen to groups and communities on the subject of well-being. After today I feel poised in anticipation of further impulsive narratives of everyday participation, as people outline what matters to them. I can but only hope that all those I meet are as generous with their time and stories as those from the society today. Roll on a town fair in Nottinghamshire next week is all I can say.

*All who took part in today’s group were happy for me to mention the group in this post.

What’s in a map? Reflections on the 2013 Connected Communities Summit

Last week saw a gathering of the AHRC Connected Communities (CC) clans on the outskirts of Edinburgh for their 2013 Summit. These annual meetings provide opportunities for projects funded under the CC programme (around 250 to date) to network and ‘show and tell’ their work. The three-day event included a day on early career research development, a programme networking day and, finally, a ‘Showcase’ aimed at a non-academic audience, which profiled a sample of the CC projects through exhibitions, posters, workshops and performances. The Showcase model was first trialed by the AHRC at an event in London in July, where it was a great success. Once again, a striking feature of this final day was the way in in which it illustrated just how creative academics can be.


IMAGE: section of our poster for the connected communities summit. Full poster below.

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Miners’ Memorial Unveiling

On 22nd June I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the unveiling of Dodworth Miners’ Memorial which commemorates 288 local miners who lost their lives working in Barnsley’s coal mining industry.

Sarah Hughes pic of miners' memorial unveiling eventIMG_6849 (2)

IMAGE: Miners’ memorial unveiling event. Photograph by Sarah Hughes.

The project to develop a memorial was brought to fruition by the Dodworth Miners’ Memorial Fund and aimed to commemorate local miners who gave their lives to the industry and to raise awareness of the village’s industrial past.  The Dodworth Miners’ Memorial Fund group received a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the project, with members of the local community having raised the additional £6,000 which was required to help fund the miners’ memorial wheel.

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