Introducing the Aberdeen case study

Principal Investigator and lead on Aberdeen case study, Andy Miles, introduces the work taking place there

Lathallan pipe band

Work on the Aberdeen case study began in February 2014.  Aberdeen is one of two UEP cultural ecosystem studies in Scotland that have been funded primarily by Creative Scotland, the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries, which is particularly interested in what it calls ‘edge’ communities. Continue reading

Performing Places Symposium at Royal Central School of Speech & Drama – a Review

UEP’s new PhD, Ruth Webber offers some reflections on a symposium she attended in  the first weeks of her PhD

I came to the Performing Place symposium with a view to hearing more about how to carry out research in a creative, experimental and fun way. My background is in Visual Anthropology so although I have been exploring creative methods which play with representation, focus on reflexivity and encourage a collaborative approach, I haven’t Continue reading

Introducing our PhD Researcher in Glasgow: Ruth Webber

RW profile picMy PhD research fieldwork consisting of two ethnographies will be carried out over the period of a year from 2015 – 2016 in Glasgow. I will be supervised by Dr Lisanne Gibson in the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester, and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as part of the Understanding Everyday Participation – Articulating Cultural Values (UEP) project. Continue reading

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.