Sydney School of Education and Social Work events – 2015 Archive

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Researching practice to change the world


5 March 2015

This lecture presents findings of "Working From the Ground Up", a large-scale action research project undertaken in two social housing estates in south-eastern Sydney. Over the past seven years, the project has both seeded and documented – in detail – a wide range of community-development initiatives.

"Working From the Ground Up" provides extremely hopeful examples of the significance of participation for individuals, communities, service providers and policy makers. Small children, frail older people, people living with mental health issues, people who do not speak English, Aboriginal residents, young people cast as ‘troublemakers’, and sole parents are all shown to be experts on the neighbourhoods they live in and willing and able to participate in important social change.

While this project has demonstrated that participatory approaches such as action research and community development can be cornerstones of policy and practice development, the paper also discusses the barriers to centralising participatory approaches in contemporary practice. These include dominant ideas about what constitutes ‘evidence’; dominant ways of conceptualising and involving ‘residents’; and dominant ideas about the place of low-income people in cities.

Event details

Researching practice to change the world: action research and participatory approaches to research for social change

Where Room 438, Education Building A35, Manning Rd, University of Sydney
Education Building A35
Click image for interactive map.


5 March 2015

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