Recovery and Renewal

Core Academic Lead: Dr Koen Bartels

Communities are becoming a popular policy focus for improving wellbeing. However, the effects of spatially targeted interventions are much debated, as well as the definition of communities itself. What makes a strong community, how can trust, mutual support and belonging be fostered, and who might be excluded from particular communities? The Community Renewal and Recovery theme examines the complex ways in which wellbeing takes shape in diverse places and spaces and how the notion of community is mobilised in wellbeing policy and practice. How do wellbeing relationships between communities, local authorities and third sector organisations develop, and how are communities engaged, represented and involved in decision-making around wellbeing? In the wake of the Covid pandemic, we aim to identify new ways of addressing structural wellbeing inequalities within and between communities.

Discussion Group Sessions on 'Wellbeing and Communities' 

We have regular discussion groups sessions about various dimensions of wellbeing and communities. The sessions have an accessible and reflective format: a member briefly offers their perspective on the focal question to kick-start an organic conversation in which we share our diverse views and experiences. The sessions are open to anyone from across and beyond the University with an interest in wellbeing and communities, and can be joined in person or online. If you’d like to join or propose a topic, please contact the Core Academic Lead.

Upcoming sessions 

The schedule for the academic year 2022-2023 will be confirmed soon. 

Past discussions

What do we understand by community and how can we study the wellbeing of different types of communities? (July 2022)

How and why do we create capacities for collaboration and empowerment around wellbeing? (March 2022)

What is wellbeing and how do we understand it in relation to communities? (Feb 2022)

Social Prescribing, Assets and Relationships in Communities (SPARC) Network

The SPARC Network is a cross-institutional collaborative learning space of academic partners from the University of Birmingham, Bangor University, and the University of Strathclyde and practice partners from The Active Wellbeing Society (TAWS) Birmingham, Wirral ABCD Network, and Gwent Public Health. It is distinctly focused on asset-based approaches to social prescribing, addressing health inequalities, and coproducing a social model of wellbeing. It aims to be a space to share experiences, knowledge, and developments, identify opportunities for collaboration, research and change, and engage in ongoing relationship-building and learning.

Communities responding to COVID-19

Commissioned by Local Trust, this in-depth research explores how communities across England have responded to, and are recovering from, COVID-19. The study is being undertaken by a coalition of researchers, led by the Third Sector Research Centre (TSRC). It explores how different communities have fared during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings, alongside multiple outputs from the research, provide an insight into the impact of crisis on communities, and the factors shaping their resilience, response and recovery.

Mobilising UK Voluntary Action during COVID-19

The project explores voluntary action responses to the pandemic across the four UK nations. Major events legacies and disadvantaged communities: using cross-disciplinary approaches to address inequality and event hosting

This Institute of Advanced Studies workshop will take place on Wednesday 14 September 2022 at the University of Birmingham, and is organised by Dr Shushu Chen, Dr Mary Quinton, Dr Jet Veldhuijzen van Zanten and Dr Mark Lee. The workshop is derived from an ongoing research project, examining the legacies of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games for disadvantaged individuals and communities. It will include internal and external academics to explore opportunities for wider collaborative and cross-disciplinary research.