Networked communities as dynamic co-created learning environments


Principal Investigator: Professor Neil Ravenscroft
Co-investigators: Dr Niamh Moore, University of Manchester; Dr Paul Gilchrist, University of Brighton
Collaborators: Amelia Lee, LGBT Youth NW and the Young Women’s Group, Manchester; Claire Holmes, Young Women’s Group, Manchester; Rachel Hanney, Tablehurst Community Farm, East Sussex
Duration: 2013

Through a series of co-created and facilitated workshops and training programmes, Phase 1 of this project has brought facilitation practice into conversation with academic research methods to create a co-designed multi-method model for organising the generation of data about personal and community histories and associations. This model, termed the Community Stories Spiral (CSS), represents a ‘shared space’ that has cohered through a collaborative effort involving sharing and transfer of knowledge and skills. The CSS will be used in Phase 2 to examine the extent to which communities can be understood as dynamic contingent learning environments, thus challenging conventional academic constructions of community as largely isolated and static. Data will be generated in Phase 2 using two case studies: a deliberate social learning intervention with a community of young women gardeners in Manchester; and an exploration of the ways in which formal training in a farm community in Sussex is developed and reworked by the trainees in the communities that they subsequently join. The outputs from the project will include a methodology and methods text suitable for community and academic researchers, and a ‘toolbox’ of methods that are suitable for connected communities research.