Participatory Action Research
As many other communities have shown us, the rewards of community-run assets & spaces are huge (i.e. reigniting community spirit, ensuring sustainable management of resources & ensuring much needed spaces and services continue to exist). However, as many other communities have learned (and shared), the process of collectively governing a community asset is a complex and challenging one with many obstacles – practical, relational and political.
In order to navigate these challenges as effectively as possible we believe that a process of structured knowledge-sharing, learning and research needs to take place in the community by the community to figure out the what, how and why, of building and rebuilding community structure, resources and representative institutions. We can build, through Participatory Action Research, the knowledge, strength and vision needed to really take these kinds of projects forward.
It is not a given today to expect things to be done for us in our own interest and never has been. You need to do your homework to plan and document what you need or want. And you need to make sure the rest of the community knows about it. The Radical Imagination project are happy to discuss these ideas and share what we know.
Common Good Awareness Project Farmhouse Proposal
What can you get out of this experience?
1. Participants will gain new knowledge about their community, it’s assets & about participation processes.
2. Participants will gain opportunities to develop skills in communication, community organising and research.
3. Participants will access opportunities to strengthen relationships with the wider community.
4. Finally, participating in a study group will offer an opportunity to play a key role in important conversations around community participation & ownership. (See Farmhouse example)
Careful: Don't end up buying what you already own or being inculcated in any community exploitative schemes
Documenting everything, film record, use any media at your disposal, it does not pay to be short of evidence when a push comes to a shove. There are to many opportunities for developers, lap dog councils both community and regular, waiting to pounce on public assets for private use. As we witness daily.
Most of the time they are just chancing it to see what transpires. Good documentation real evidence and community self determination can help to push the community agenda against gentrification for its own sake.