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  • Author or Editor: Angela Piccini x
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This chapter examines three case study projects that came out of University of Bristol and Knowle West Media Centre (KWMC) collaboration. Within those projects, it looks at the positioning of arts practices as knowledge producing, rather than instrumental or facilitative. The chapter addresses some of the issues around collaboration and regulation, and analyses how arts-based projects are shaped through institutional structures. KWMC and the University of Bristol have been collaborating across a number of research projects over the past decade. KWMC works with media artists to engage citizens often excluded from decision-making and research through exploring local, national, and international issues in order to co-produce and co-design the testing of ideas, products, and technologies.

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Co-creating for engagement

There is an urgent need to rethink relationships between systems of government and those who are ‘governed’. This book explores ways of rethinking those relationships by bringing communities normally excluded from decision-making to centre stage to experiment with new methods of regulating for engagement.

Using original, co-produced research, it innovatively shows how we can better use a ‘bottom-up’ approach to design regulatory regimes that recognise the capabilities of communities at the margins and powerfully support the knowledge, passions and creativity of citizens. The authors provide essential guidance for all those working on co-produced research to make impactful change.

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This chapter discusses experiments in shifting understandings of expertise and in co-producing research that formed the basis of the Productive Margins (PM) programme. Those experiments were structured as the Productive Communities Research Forum, a series of gatherings that included all active co-researchers and occurred every three to six months over the lifetime of the Productive Margins programme. Before discussing this experimental method, the chapter turns to co-production as a specific set of approaches to collaborative research which involves diverse voices. It brings together the Productive Margins principal investigator, community lead, arts and humanities lead, and one of the co-investigators who worked as a link between two projects and the core management group. These individuals have different research interests, forms of expertise, values, and standpoints on collaborative working in communities.

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This chapter explores how contemporary social practice art materialises interactions between regulatory regimes and low-income families with children and enables disruptions of regulatory regimes in ways not possible using traditional social science approaches. It focuses on a research team that included artists Close and Remote. Here, the chapter explains how the team co-produced, with community members and academics, a socially engaged artwork — Life Chances — that aimed to generate new knowledges about the regulatory regimes that low-income families with children experience. Aiming towards a form of improvisational empathy, Life Chances worked with Thomas More’s (1516) Utopia and Ruth Levitas’s (2013) Utopia as Method as ‘a form of speculative sociology of the future’. By staging and troubling contradictory notions of ‘life chances’ through art, the chapter specifically asks how the regulatory services that families encounter in two urban settings — the Easton area of Bristol and Butetown, Riverside and Grangetown in Cardiff — shape, constrain, and enable the life chances of individual families and communities.

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