We work to put our research findings into practice, mobilising academic knowledge alongside people’s lived expertise. This includes theoretical, analytical methodologies and we also organise intervention through a range of projects that involve young lives from birth to adolescence. The Resilience Framework we have developed emphasises the importance of the social and the individual working together to improve the odds for young people. To support this we work at the interface of development and systems models, with expertise not only from healthcare, but also art and design practices, human geography, socio-political studies and education.
The Centre of Resilience for Social Justice aims to promote different forms of community-building that ignite imagination about the future and help to build resilience and a momentum for change. Also building on ideas of Resilient Therapy (RT) to develop and apply new ways of working with disadvantaged children, we seek to make changes that are sustainable and which support the most disadvantaged families.
Resilient Therapy grew out of resilience research carried out by Hart, Blincow and Thomas (2007) and is a way of working with disadvantaged children, young people and their families, in order to help them overcome adversity, literally to ‘bounce back’), adhering to four key principles or noble truths: ‘Accepting’, ‘Conserving’, ‘Commitment’ and ‘Enlisting’ and to five conceptual arenas: ‘Basics’, ‘Belonging’, ‘Learning’, ‘Coping’ and ‘Core Self’.
Through this and with a history of research experience and community intervention we work with schools to ensure that resilience frameworks are conceptually sound, co-produced with schools, including parents and students, grounded in an inequalities imagination and, ultimately, steer away from a simplistic reliance on strengthening children’s individual characteristics.
To achieve these ends, the centre has co-developed Boingboing, as a nimble, responsive organisation to operate through academic and practical means directly with the public as advisors, organisers and researchers. This has enabled us to take up opportunities unachievable solely through the university, for example in our contract to support resilience approaches across the town of Blackpool.
In Leandra, South Africa, as part of our Resilience to Drought project, Simon Duncan supported an image film-making workshop with young co-researchers exploring drought, led by Selogadi Mampane. (Photograph, Simon Duncan)