Research for Social Impact: a collaboration between the College of Social Sciences and Citizens UK: Birmingham (Catherine Durose & Karin Bottom)

Funded by the University’s User Engagement Fund,  Catherine Durose, Karin Bottom (Government and Society) and Saidul Haque Saeed, Principle Organiser of Citizens UK Birmingham (CUK: Bham) ran a series of a series of sandpit events in May and June.

Conducted in community venues, they   facilitated the generation of co-productive relationships between researchers in the College of Social Sciences (COSS) and Citizens UK Birmingham. Each event focused on a local or national CUK campaign (social care, city safety, good jobs / living wage, refugee resettlement) where CoSS had the capacity to provide research with a potential for enhancing campaign activities. Each sandpit was filmed by Richard Campbell and Damien Morgan from ‘naturalsecret Ltd. Music & Video Productions’ and graphically recorded by Anna Geyer from ‘New Possibilities’.  

The sandpits were followed-up by work inside and outside of the University. First, five  reports were generated by CoSS PhD researchers in order to evidence and progress actions that were identified in the workshops: a power analysis of social care in Birmingham (Shardia Briscoe-Palmer, Government and Society, G&S); an analysis of the ‘Living Wage’ in Birmingham (Kristina Gruzdeva, School of Education; Sabina Doldor, Business School); a mapping and evaluation of the recent refugee settlement process in Birmingham (Tracey Davanna, School of Social Policy);  an evaluation the Immigration Act (2016) and associated  impact on undocumented migrant children and an assessment of Islington Borough Council’s best practice surrounding the support needs of people with no recourse to public funds (Islington Borough Council founded the NRPF Network) (Andrew Jolly, School of Social Policy). Second, four young leaders from CUK: Bham’s Youth Leadership Team [A1] and member institutions were employed as trainee organisers  to undertake a series of 1-2-1s in their institutions in order to identify ‘testimonies’  that had the potential to underpin, inform and focus CUK: Bham campaign priorities. Again, work was conducted in the areas of social care, good jobs and living wage and refugee resettlement.

Learning from the sandpits was shared at the Delegates Assembly on July 13th at Carrs Lane Methodist Church in Birmingham city centre. The Assembly brought together a delegation of key leaders and activists from across member institutions provided an opportunity to share and discuss outcomes from the sandpits with a wider audience. Our presentation was complimented by a short film compilation of the four events and graphic facilitation images. Each of the young leaders also had the opportunity to present an overview of themes that arose from their 1-2-1s.

The sandpits heightened awareness of CUK: Bham across CoSS and further consolidated its relationship with CUK: Birmingham. Moreover they were able to draw on  various work streams across the College such as the Research Network on Informal and Formal Caregiving, the Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship and the Institute for Research into Superdivesity which hosts the  Syrian Refugee Toolkit (resources for  front-line workers who are involved with resettling refugees). Importantly, the workshops also generated wider impact ideas that the College could advance in the future.

Conducted in community venues, they facilitated the generation of co-productive relationships between researchers in the College of Social Sciences (COSS) and Citizens UK Birmingham. Each event focused on a local or national CUK campaign (social care, city safety, good jobs / living wage, refugee resettlement) where CoSS had the capacity to provide research with a potential for enhancing campaign activities. Each sandpit was filmed by Richard Campbell and Damien Morgan from ‘naturalsecret Ltd. Music & Video Productions’  and graphically recorded by Anna Geyer from ‘New Possibilities’.  

The sandpits were followed-up by work inside and outside of the University. First, five reports were generated by CoSS PhD researchers in order to evidence and progress actions that were identified in the workshops: a power analysis of social care  in Birmingham (Shardia Briscoe- Palmer, Government and Society, G&S); an analysis of the ‘Living Wage’ in Birmingham (Kristina Gruzdeva, School of Education; Sabina Doldor, Business School); a mapping and evaluation of the recent refugee settlement process in Birmingham (Tracey Davanna, School of Social Policy); an evaluation the Immigration Act (2016) and associated  impact on undocumented migrant children and an assessment of Islington Borough Council’s  best practice surrounding the support needs of people with no recourse to public funds (Islington Borough Council founded the NRPF Network) (Andrew Jolly, School of Social Policy). Second, four young leaders from CUK: Bham’s Youth Leadership Team [A1] and member institutions were employed as trainee organisers  to undertake a series of 1-2-1s in their institutions in order to identify ‘testimonies’  that had the potential to underpin, inform and focus CUK: Bham campaign priorities. Again, work was conducted in the areas of social care, good jobs and living wage and refugee resettlement.

Learning from the sandpits was shared at the Delegates Assembly on July 13th at Carrs Lane Methodist Church in Birmingham city centre. The Assembly brought together a delegation of key leaders and activists from across member institutions provided an opportunity to share and discuss outcomes from the sandpits with a wider audience. Our presentation was complimented by a short film compilation of the four events and graphic facilitation images. Each of the young leaders also had the opportunity to present an overview of themes that arose from their 1-2-1s.

The sandpits heightened awareness of CUK: Bham across CoSS and further consolidated its relationship with CUK: Bham.  Moreover they were able to draw on  various work streams  across the College such as the Research Network on Informal and Formal Caregiving, the Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship and  the  Institute for Research into Superdivesity which hosts the  Syrian Refugee Toolkit  (resources for  front-line workers who are involved with resettling  refugees). Importantly, the workshops also generated wider impact ideas that the College could advance in the future.