Research With and For Marginalised Communities

Andrew Ryder
Andrew Ryder

by Andrew Ryder, Fellow at the University of Bristol, Associate Fellow at the Third Sector Research Centre, University of Birmingham, and Visiting Professor at Corvinus University Budapest.

It is my contention that universities are institutions of central importance in maintaining humanist values. Alas we live in age where such a vision seems to be at risk through an audit culture which seems to commodify and tame knowledge production.  I come from a background of service provision and activism, as a teacher and later community organiser working for Gypsy, Traveller and Roma (GTR) communities, and have sought to base this work on emancipatory practice.  Since I started lecturing full time in higher education five years ago, through employment at the Corvinus University Budapest and a series of fellowships at the University of Bristol and Third Sector Research Centre, Birmingham, I have sought to fuse my previous background of emancipatory work with knowledge production. This has primarily been achieved by promoting collaborative research with GTR communities.  There is a growing interest in the co-production of research knowledge involving academics working in partnership with marginalised citizens and communities. However, the concept of community participation in research – certainly as equal partners – has been, and remains, contested. Is the knowledge generated ‘tainted’ by activism and engagement or can it be critical and objective? Continue reading

Should our principles always guide our actions?

Hatier cartoon

Cécile Hatier from the University of Wolverhampton gives us an overview of her latest article, which discusses when it’s appropriate to resign from office…

Politicians are constantly vilified for their lack of moral principles, and rightly so, given the outrageous actions of some! We get frustrated because they turn back on their promises the minute they get into office, and are driven by political expediency, if not selfish considerations, instead of the public interest. I won’t even start listing examples, the press rages about two or three cases a day in the UK. It is no surprise then that when Continue reading

Respecting our sources, protecting our discipline

Felicity Matthews
Felicity Matthews

In this guest post from one of our board members, Associate Editor Felicity Matthews discusses the importance of ethical responsibilities to our sources, and offers advice for researchers trying to navigate these tricky waters.

In May 2014, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) launched a legal challenge to secure all of the recordings that were a product of the Belfast Project, a programme of oral history conducted by Boston College in the US intended to provide an account of the Troubles. Recorded between 2001-06, the ‘Boston Tapes’ comprise a collection of interviews with over fifty paramilitaries from the IRA and Ulster Volunteer Force. Crucially, interviewees were promised lifelong anonymity; and with the safety of this promise, many interviewees were candid about their involvement in a range of illegal acts. One such act was the murder of Belfast woman Jean McConville by the IRA in 1972; and in 2011, the PSNI launched a legal bid to gain access to the relevant recordings. Continue reading