More than £32,000 in seed funding has been awarded to support important new participatory research activities across the Social Sciences and Medical Sciences Divisions in which researchers, members of the public and practitioners work together.

The 14 awarded projects span a broad range of disciplines, communities, and methods of co-production: from collaborating with artists and primary school children to deepen our understanding of educational injustice, to exploring the barriers to parental involvement in children’s mental health research networks.

The funding is the latest initiative designed to strengthen Oxford’s ecosystem for participatory research, which has included the launch of the University’s flagship Participatory Research Oxford programme: a suite of case study films, insights, and curated resources designed to help researchers incorporate effective and responsible participatory practices into their research.

Participatory or co-produced research strengthens research outcomes by involving the communities and users of research, better recognising their experience, needs and preferences, and giving greater agency to communities to implement findings.
– Research England

Discover the full list of funded projects:

  • Exploring the role of creative participatory methods in understanding the lived experiences and afterlives of educational injustices (Alice Willatt and Claire Stewart-Hall, Department of Education, partnering with two schools based in the city of Bristol and Studio Susegad)

  • Inclusive research at the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging (WIN): building Oxfordshire community relationships (Carinne Piekema, Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuoimaging, partnering with Richard Mandunya)

  • Parent and carer involvement in research network pilot workshops (Emily Lloyd, Department of Experimental Psychology, partnering with The Charlie Waller Trust)
  • Participatory research in non-clinical studies (Laura Coates, Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences, partnering with OPENARMS)
  • POS-ARI-ER patient input platform (Yrene Themistocleous, Pandemic Sciences Institute)
  • COPPER (CO-designing for healthy People and Planet: food system Economic Research) and a Public Engagement with Research display space for Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences (Lucy Yates, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, partnering with Bridlington Community Hub)
  • Co-development of smartphone app for enhanced home blood pressure monitoring (Rachel Greer, Department of Primary Care Health Sciences)

  • Exploring the needs of families and healthcare professionals around talking to children about miscarriage and stillbirth in the family (Elizabeth Rapa, Department of Psychiatry, partnering with Sibling Support)

  • Co-designing a collaborative safety planning tool for aggression in inpatient mental health services (Seena Fazel, Department of Psychiatry, partnering with FORUM)
  • Implementing and trialing a trauma informed co-design resource as part of the Attune Project (Isabelle Butcher, Department of Psychiatry, partnering with Oasis, Inspire Academy, Be You, Fusion, Treyla, FX Plus, Leeds Care Leavers’ Service, Leeds City College, University of Leeds and LeedsGATE)
  • REPAIR (Research on Energy through PArticipatory Insights from community Representatives) (Uttara Narayan,  Environmental Change Institute, School of Geography and the Environment, and and Sarah Higginson, University Research Services, partnering with Elizabeth Blakelock, energy policy expert and inclusion specialist, and Oxford Community Action)
  • Early medieval beach markets: a collaborative approach (David Griffiths, Department for Continuing Education, partnering with Community Archaeology Geophysics, Lancaster City Museum and Lancashire County Council, Durham Cathedral and Dr Anne Allen, UNESCO World Heritage Area Manager)
  • Participatory assessment of renewable energy communities in insular environments (Javier Lezaun, School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, partnering with Energia Bonita)
  • Envisioning Community Wellbeing (ECoWell) (Astrid Krisch, Global Centre on Healthcare and Urbanisation, Kellogg College, partnering with Ark-T)

Spotlight project: Dr Alice Willatt, ‘Exploring the role of creative participatory methods in understanding the lived experiences and afterlives of educational injustices’

Working in collaboration with artists and cultural producers from Studio Susegad and local primary schools, Dr Alice Willatt’s project will pilot participatory methods for the co-generation of a ‘people’s history’ of educational injustice. The pilot forms part of the Repair-ED project, which examines past and present structural inequalities in schools and opens dialogue on repair. Through creative workshop processes, they will explore former pupils’ memories of schooling and significant places around their school neighbourhoods.  In collaboration with the studio artists, the participants will create maps of their experiences by working with storytelling, metaphor and poetry. The memory maps created will then become part of the Repair-ED People’s History of Schooling archive, opening intergenerational dialogue on educational injustices between past and present school pupils.

Dr Willatt explains, “By co-creating new participatory methods and materials that foreground the lived experiences, diverse voices, and agency of former pupils who have first-hand experiences of racial and class-based educational injustices, we will be able to generate much deeper, collaborative place-based insights than traditional, oral history and interview methods would allow.”

Find out more

Are you a social scientist interested in public and community engagement? Discover funding opportunities, resources, and inspiration at


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