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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 and Learning Manager

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, the...

Recent work

News

IDS launches new programme to counter backlash against gender equality

Global progress on gender equality is under threat. We are living in an age where major political and social shifts are resulting in new forces that are visibly pushing back to reverse the many gains made for women’s rights and to shrink civic space. This patriarchal backlash is escalating...

11 December 2019

News

Celebrating the Sanitation Learning Hub’s new lease of life

For over ten years, IDS’s Sanitation Learning Hub (previously known as the CLTS Knowledge Hub) has been supporting learning and sharing within the international sanitation and hygiene sector, using innovative participatory approaches. The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency...

22 October 2019