I am interested in all areas of resilience research and practice relating to building resilience as, with and for people who have lived experience of adversity, social inequalities and disadvantage. Our work takes a social justice approach to building resilience, taking into account families, schools and wider communities in terms of resilience building, and developing community and professional practices based on our research on Beating the Odds and Changing the Odds for marginalised people.
An important aspect of our research and practice is co-production, for example co-researching with young people, parents/carers and adults with lived experience, and other community partners. This includes all aspects of the research process, from the initial scoping of ideas, through bid writing, conducting the research and analysing results, to dissemination of results through co-producing books and co-presenting at conferences. Whilst not always easy or straightforward, co-production is highly important and has multiple benefits for all co-researchers (for example skills development) and ensures that findings and outputs are meaningful, relevant and useful.
I am currently part of The Resilience Revolution, a social movement which is being piloted through a whole town test and learn programme, delivering lasting change to disadvantaged young people in the town of Blackpool, through a successful Big Lottery HeadStart funding bid. The Resilience Revolution brings together the young people of the town with senior leaders, practitioners, parents/carers, managers, academics, community groups from the voluntary sector, police, health, and schools, under the leadership of Blackpool Council, to develop a resilient Blackpool, one where its nearly 11,000 young people, “see the difference, feel the difference and are the difference.”
As part of a complex and passionate partnership between our Centre of Resilience for Social Justice, social enterprise Boingboing and HeadStart Blackpool, led by Blackpool Council and supported by the UK’s National Lottery Community Fund, we’re now organising the world’s first International Resilience Revolution Conference 30-31 March 2022. The conference is being co-designed and co-facilitated by various members of the Resilience Revolution, including young people and parents/carers, who are eager to share their expertise with the world; from sharing stories of hope to challenging inequalities within systems. Akin to the whole town approach to resilience in Blackpool, everybody involved in development will have a role in making the conference a positive, innovative and exciting event to be part of.
Previous research projects I have been involved with include Building resilience through community arts practice: a scoping study with disabled young people and young people facing mental health challenges, and The Imagine Programme - the social, historical, cultural and democratic context of civic engagement: imagining different communities and making them happen. Many of our research outputs are available to download for free from the Boingboing website, and include co-produced books, films and resources for schools.I am also interested in lived experience of autism, community-university partnerships, communities of practice, cognitive psychology, psychophysiological indices of recognition memory, eye-tracking and EEG.