The Centre of Resilience for Social Justice brokers and sustains challenging, complex and mutually beneficial community-university co-researcher collaborations. Affecting policy change is at the core of our research strategy, making maximum impact from the simultaneous mobilisation of knowledge, enterprise and activism.
The co-productive basis to all our work means that centre members are regularly invited to give public lectures, media appearances, training and workshops to non-governmental organisations, government and other policy makers to promote the potential of existing research and co-develop further projects.
Members have developed a unique social enterprise and network, BoingBoing, which acts as our main pathway to impact. We excel at brokering and sustaining challenging, complex and mutually beneficial community-university co-researcher collaborations.
Our commitment to impact in resilience research
Our commitment is to developing research, entrepreneurial practice and impacts which improve the world by addressing health, social and ecological inequalities and challenges. Centre members openly acknowledge that there are diverse interpretations of the concept of resilience. We harness this tension as a creative and stimulating force and, as a centre, propose systems-based resilience which involves internal and external factors that contribute to an individual’s or community’s capacity to positively respond to adversity. Resilience is only meaningful if understood as relating to a whole ecological or financial system.
Affecting policy change is key for us, for example influencing NHS England to ensure that the resilience approaches they promote adopt our inequalities perspectives.
Defining and measuring resilience
Resilience is best recognised as the end state of a successful negotiation of adversity based on both adaptive characteristics of the individual and the supporting environment. Measuring resilience directly has been seen by many leading resilience researchers as a very complicated task. However, measuring the positive attributes of the individual and the supporting environment is possible, and several researchers have developed measures of protective factors that show promise.
Our colleague at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Odin Hjemdal, has spent the last 10 years developing two resilience measures, one for adults (Resilience Scale for Adults; RSA) and one for young people (Resilience Scale for Adolescents; READ). These measures draw on the large base of results from resilience research and measure both individual positive attributes like: personal competences and attribution styles, social competences, goal orientation, self-efficacy and realistic optimistic views on the future as well as adaptive family environment and positive social resources outside the family. He is working with us to explore ways of measuring levels of protection in the disadvantaged children and families we work with.
Who we work with in the UK
Working with Blackpool Council, we are facilitating aspects of the HeadStart programme to support the mental health of children and young people in Blackpool using a community development approach to embed our Resilient Therapy methods across the town. We are drawing on both resilience and systems theory to work alongside practitioners, parents and young people to build a more resilience-based way of working using a common language. We are supporting others in the UK to develop resilience stuff too.
We provide training to Newport Mind on resilience and provide supervision to their family workers. Newport Mind is an active partner on many of our joint research projects with the University of Brighton, including the Imagine Programme and our Q-Sort Project.
YoungMinds is a charity who are committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people. They have adopted the centre's Academic Resilience Approach that Professor Angie Hart developed with Lisa Williams, and schools and organisations including YoungMinds have provided a sounding board and testing ground for the approach. YoungMinds provide training in the Academic Resilience Approach through their own train the trainer model.
Who we work with internationally: Communities of Practice around the world
With Boingboing academic members in Crete, we have established communities of practices (CoPs) concerned with understanding, applying and developing resilience theory and practices to support school children with complex needs.
One CoP is formed of teachers, social workers, psychologists, school counsellors, academic researchers, and other related specialists. A second CoP included parents of children with psychosocial difficulties and related complex needs.
The CoPs draw on the Resilience framework and consider how the framework could be adapted to be effective in the Greek cultural context. Read more about the ESRC funded Developing resilience approaches for school children in Crete.
Working with Boingboing academic colleagues in University of Osnabrück, Germany, we established a Community of Practice (CoP) concerned with understanding, applying and developing resilience theory and practices to support school children with complex needs, social emotional difficulties and disabilities.
Collaborating closely with international partners including Khulisa Social Solutions and leading academics in the UK, South Africa and Canada we aim to improve understanding about what enables young people in the municipality of Govan Mbeki to withstand, adapt to, resist and cope with the physical and mental impacts of drought.
Read more about the cross-funded project Resilience among young people in a community affected by drought.