Professor Pat Thomson from the University of Nottingham gave the Beyond ‘evaluation’, ‘impact’ studies and ‘knowledge exchange’? Research with community partners as ‘middle-work’ seminar on Monday 2 March 2015 at the University of Brighton.
This seminar reported on the design principles underpinning two research partnerships that aimed to generate new ways of understanding the learning that occurs in and through arts activities. Both projects avoided ‘evaluation’ or measuring ‘impact’ as an asset of observable quantifiable behaviours, proxies and/or correlations. Instead, they began with the following principles:
These led to a focus on:
This middle-work allows genuine research co-construction, drawing on all sets of expertise and interests. It offers one way to achieve a more productive but also reciprocal and respectful research practice. The seminar unpacked the kinds of practices and dispositions that are important in middle work.
Professor Pat Thomson PSM PhD is Director of the Centre for Research in Arts, Creativity and Literacy (CRACL) at the University of Nottingham. Her current research focuses on creativity, the arts and change in schools and communities, and postgraduate writing pedagogies. She is interested in imaginative and inclusive pedagogies which sit at the heart of change, and in how innovative approaches to schooling are spread with/against policy agendas. All her research is underpinned by a commitment to social justice and an interest in questions of power, identity, place and agency. She has had extensive involvement in school, family and community programmes and works closely with practitioners and pupils as co-researchers.