This seminar celebrates the launch of the paperback version of Collaborative Arts-based Research for Social Justice (published by Routledge). This text focuses on the ways that social inquiry might be carried out with marginalised groups to promote social justice. The seminar includes discussion of some of the book’s themes including the power of the arts to critically explore those elements of life that are often hidden or disregarded. Drawing on a range of colourful examples, it will be argued that the arts can startle us out of complacency and enable a different way of knowing the social world.
Dr Victoria Foster is Senior Lecturer in Social Sciences and Associate Director (External Relations) of Edge Hill University’s Institute for Public Policy and Practice (I4P). Her work is concerned with social justice issues and all her research has involved collaborations with organisations outside of the university. Victoria’s ESRC funded doctoral and postdoctoral research was carried out at a Sure Start programme in North West England and involved developing a range of arts-based methods to evaluate people’s experiences of the programme. Since then she has worked on NIHR funded participatory research with parents of babies requiring neonatal care, and evaluations of several arts programmes. These include a drama-based crime prevention programme at the Royal Court Liverpool and an innovative educational programme carried out by the European Opera Centre. She is currently developing on an arts-based research project at a local community farm, exploring the politics of food production.
Dr Zana Vathi was recently invited to present a paper in the UK-China Researchers Links Conference at Jinan University, Guangzhou, China, 13-14 July 2016, where she spoke about the rural-urban movements of Albanian returned migrants. The conference was organized by Dr Heather Zhang (Leeds) and its main objectives were:
(1) To address the pressing challenges to socio-economic development and welfare in China by thematically focusing on migrants and their citizenship in the process of rapid urbanisation;
(2) To gather early career researchers working in the field from China and the UK, and strengthen capacity through training and guidance provided by leading scholars from both countries;
(3) To explore the possibility of further research collaboration and sustain the research links between participating scholars in the future by developing new connections between researchers from China and the UK, exchanging ideas, establishing contact, interactions and networking.
Under the theme of “Rural-urban Migration and Inclusionary Urbanisation in China”, the conference covered a wide range of multi- and inter-disciplinary topics on China’s current urbanisation and future development. In particular, it focused on the challenges that China is facing, including migration and its related issues, demographic change, labor market, urbanisation, and the relevant social and public policies. Apart from research on China, the conference brought together researchers working on themes that related to the conference’s focus, in different European contexts and beyond. This year more than 30 early career researchers, and six keynote speakers and mentors from the UK and China gathered in Guangzhou at the conference. The UK researchers came from various universities: Leeds, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Kent, King’s College, Sheffield, Essex, Manchester, Southampton, LSE.
First year Social Sciences students have recently had the opportunity to take part in a visit to London. As well as everyone having plenty of fun, a number of interesting and eye-opening visits were timetabled in.
These included The Foundling Museum, The Museum of Childhood, The East London Mosque and Harrow School for Boys. This was all rounded off with a trip to the West End to watch Billy Elliot.
Paul Bunyan, Programme Leader for Childhood and Youth Studies, organised the trip and was accompanied by lecturers Annabel Yale and Liz Richards. Annabel notes that, ‘The students were an absolute credit to the University and were really engaged in all the activities’.
The feedback from the students and the guides/staff at the venues has all been really positive with one student commenting, ‘The experience was amazing, the diversity of the places we visited was great. I have gained a lot of knowledge and cannot wait to put some of this knowledge into practice’.