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Cluster

Participation, Inclusion and Social Change

Participation is a right held by all people to engage in society and in the decisions that impact their lives. Participation is thus a political endeavour that challenges oppression and discrimination, in particular of the poorest and most marginalised people. Participatory processes enable people to see more clearly, and learn from the complexity that they are living and working amid. Through participation people can identify opportunities and strategies for action, and build solidarity to effect change.

Those whose interests are served by exclusion will seek to co-opt or pacify participation. This is not grounds for rejecting it, but for fighting harder for it, and understanding the fields of power within which meaningful participation for transformative social change lies.

Research by our Participation, Inclusion and Social cluster specializes in the development of participatory research methods with particular emphasis on systematic social exclusion facing women, people living in extreme poverty, people with disabilities, slaves and bonded labourers and others. This requires a systemic understanding of change, and an activist approach to research. We describe such an approach as participatory practice.

Through our work, we aim to:

  • Conduct and support participatory practice that is facilitative and developmental, challenging the dominance of ‘external expert’ knowledge in mainstream research approaches.
  • Use, develop and share knowledge on participatory methods, which are a key part of participatory practice. These include systemic action research, peer research, participatory mapping, collective analysis, participatory numbers, and visual and digital approaches. Our Participatory Methods website hosts a range of resources to generate ideas and action for inclusive development and social change.
  • Employ a holistic learning based approach that is ‘responsive’, ‘reflective and ‘adaptive’, recognising that reality is constantly changing, and that participatory practice means continuous engagement.

Visit our Participatory Methods website

Key contacts

Image of Joanna Howard
Joanna Howard

Research Fellow and Cluster Leader

j.howard@ids.ac.uk

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People

Image of Brigitte Rohwerder
Brigitte Rohwerder

Research Officer

Image of Danny Burns
Danny Burns

Professorial Research Fellow

Image of Dilmurad Yusupov
Dilmurad Yusupov

Postgraduate Researcher

Image of Erika López Franco
Erika López Franco

Research Officer

Image of Jackie Shaw
Jackie Shaw

Research Fellow

Image of Jae Hyun Park
Jae Hyun Park

Doctoral Researcher

Image of Jamie Myers
Jamie Myers

Research and Learning Manager

Image of Joanna Howard
Joanna Howard

Research Fellow and Cluster Leader

Projects

Project

Rejuvenate

'Rejuvenate’ is a project that recognises the value that children and young people can bring when they are given the space and support to do so. It began with a process to collate and map previous and current child rights projects that exhibit substantive participation with children and youth...

Recent work

News

Living archive aims to rejuvenate child and youth rights and participation

“I’m only a child and I don’t have all the solutions, but I want you to realise, neither do you.” Severn Cullis-Suzuki, 12 years old, Rio Earth Summit, 1992 “You come to us young people for hope. How dare you. You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words… all...

11 February 2021

Opinion

Covid-19 and people with disabilities in South Africa

The severity of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has starkly exposed the fragility of both national and global health, social and economic systems. Emerging evidence is showing that people with disabilities are being disproportionately affected, with it becoming clear that those who were...

11 December 2020

News

IDS awarded UKRI funding for vital global challenges research

From sharing crucial knowledge on resilience in humanitarian crises, to re-imagining solutions for sanitation and food security for ‘off grid’ communities, IDS researchers are collaborating with global partners to deliver evidence and inform responses to the world’s most pressing...

8 December 2020