CREATE is an interdisciplinary research network that was launched under the support of I4P in March 2018. The network has become a vibrant entity, drawing in participation from across the university.  All disciplines have been represented at its meetings.  Although initially formed by Dr Mary McAteer, she has now been joined by Dr Claire Hawkins, as co-lead for the network.

One of the key principles underpinning our network is the concept of ‘participatory’, how it is enacted, and how it is enabled.  The first meeting of the year, held on 25th January, thus focused on Making research genuinely participative.

Two members of staff (Mike Stoddart, Faculty of Education, and Paul Simpson, Faculty of Health and Social Care) gave presentations, which were followed by an opportunity for dialogue and discussion.  It was felt by all participants, that both presenters, and their own ongoing work, have strong resonances with the aims and principles of this new network and we see opportunities for ongoing collaboration.

Mike’s presentation, based on his work with the university Action for Refugees network, presented ways in which narratives from both refugees, and from researchers, combine in creating new and shared understandings which help people live and work together.  Drawing from his own life-history, and weaving it into that of members of the immigrant community in Liverpool, he provided an excellent insight into the mutually respectful and beneficial relationships which can occur when research is with, rather than on, participants.

Paul’s work explored the ways in which a photovoice methodology enables people who may feel disenfranchised, find a reflective and reflexive voice which may not have been evident from visual methodologies alone.  Powerful narratives of ‘what matters’ included issues of; mental health recuperation, engaged fathering, and cruelties of social security.

We will hold our next meeting in the summer term of 2019 and discuss our plans for the future which includes website development, with a focus on:

  • Providing a repository for resources and references
  • Giving profiles for members of staff so that people with similar or complementary interests can make contact and form collaborations

It is also hoped that within the year, project proposals, and funding bids will be developed through our collaborations.

Dr Mary McAteer is Senior Lecturer Professional Learning and CREATE Co-lead at Edge Hill University.