Building capacity in participatory research in social care in Birmingham

The School of Social Policy at the University of Birmingham is leading a project that aims to build capacity and knowledge exchange in participatory research and education among social care researchers and voluntary and community sector organisations (VCSOs) in Birmingham. The project will share knowledge on participatory research, facilitate stronger connections between researchers and VCSOs, and deliver training and support to researchers on participatory methodologies.

The project is being led by Kelly Hall and Caroline Jackson 

Forthcoming events

There are no results that match your search

Project aims

The project aims to: 

  • Map participatory research and education in Birmingham. Scoping work will identify social care related participatory research and education activity in Birmingham’s VCSOs and higher education institutions 
  • Deliver training for researchers (academic and VCSOs) in creative participatory research methods and approaches.  Communicate2U will lead three half-day training workshops to researchers and VCSOs on creative research methodologies for communicating with people who may find traditional word based communication challenging e.g. people with dementia, people with a learning disability, people who don't speak English as a first language, people who use augmentive communication strategies (such as voice communication aids). The training will be co-delivered with people with disabilities.
  • Facilitate peer learning and support for researchers and VCSOs in Birmingham through webinars and a networking workshop. The events will showcase and provide opportunities for social care practitioners, VCSOs, people with lived experience and researchers to discuss and share practice on participatory research.
  • Develop a participatory research online resource through a new webpage that will publish training videos, case studies of participatory research, good practice from HEIs and VCSOs, and links to participatory research projects in Birmingham. 


The beneficiaries and benefits of this project include:

  • Academic researchers, who will develop a stronger understanding of participatory research methodologies, and have access to a wider network of local organisations and co-researchers that can be embedded within research design and delivery;
  • VCSOs, who will benefit from peer learning, training and networking with other VCSOs and academic researchers to support future partnerships and the creation of a more inclusive research environments;
  • People with lived experience of care, who will benefit from new opportunities to co-produce research with academics and VSCOs, and in turn enable a better understanding of social care delivery.

The project is funded by the Enhancing Research and Knowledge Exchange Funding Programme and is being delivered in collaboration with; 

  • Communicate2U, a local social enterprise with expertise in participatory research, including non-verbal, creative research methodologies. 
  • Birmingham Voluntary Service Council (BVSC), a charity that supports and facilitates networks of VCSOs in Birmingham;
  • Co-Production Works, a consultancy specialising in citizen and service user involvement in research and practice;
  • People with lived experience of care, including people with learning difficulties and sensory impairments;
  • Think Big Picture, a graphic facilitator and expert in visual art methods