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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.

Participation, Inclusion and Social Change Cluster research 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

DPhil Student

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 Officer

Image of Joanna Howard
Joanna Howard

Research Fellow and Cluster Leader

Projects

Project

Inclusion Works

The Inclusion Works programme is testing innovative ways to improve economic empowerment and inclusion for people with disabilities, enabling them to find employment and earn a living. Launched in June 2019, Inclusion Works runs in Bangladesh, Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda. Funded by UK aid,...

Project

Capitalisation of SDC Experiences in Roma Social Inclusion

Jo Howard is working with SDC to capitalise experiences in Roma social inclusion by drawing broad conclusions from past SDC experiences in promoting Roma social inclusion and making them easily accessible for decision makers. Furthermore, she will produce a synthesis paper with main findings and...

Recent work

News

Vestibule of Peace: New peacebuilding initiative in Mali launched

The Malian Action-Research Institute for Peace (IMRAP) in partnership with Interpeace, the Institute for Development Studies and Humanity United officially launch their project Vestibule of Peace – A multi-stakeholder initiative for peacebuilding in Mali.  This launch is sponsored by the...

26 September 2019

Opinion

Involving local communities in peacebuilding in Mali

Seven years ago, Mali came into the spotlight as violence broke out following an attempt by armed groups to seize control of the North of the country and a military coup . While democracy was returned one year later, instability remains. Since then, Mali has consistently commanded international...

26 September 2019