Why Research for All? What does it do for academia? And what does it does it do for wider communities?
Research for All was born out of a UK initiative that brought together enthusiasts from different universities and different academic disciplines. While each team was creating a culture of public engagement in their own university we were also developing ideas for an international journal. We brought together a range of people involved in engaged scholarship, including academics, professional service staff, and community organizations to frame the initial ideas for the journal. Our collective vision is a journal that encourages universities and communities and other organizations to do research together, and make use of the findings, to take seriously how this changes what we can learn together, the new insights that can be inspired, and to study how to do engaged research more effectively.
Research for All had a long gestation, with discussions nationally then internationally. Those early conversations developed a vision for a journal with a high profile and academic credibility that: improves society through engaged research; improves practice by providing a space to share ideas; models engagement with its content and processes; and engages strategic leaders, research funders and policy makers to change the culture of universities.
Do you have any ties with Canada?
One of the journal partners is the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE), who have a long standing relationship with colleagues championing community engaged research in Canada which helped shape our initial ideas for the journal. In addition, in 2015, well before our first issue, we took this conversation to the C2UEXPO Conference in Ottawa and came away enthused by Canadians leading the field in community-based research and service learning.
We are privileged to have on our advisory board, Budd Hall from University of Victoria, and UNESCO co-chair in Community-Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education, and his co-chair, Rajesh Tandon from the Society for Participatory Research in Asia, who co-authored our first published article.[i] This provided the rationale for the journal – the value of understanding different knowledge systems and the importance of community-based participatory research partnerships.
Our Canadian editors illustrate the breadth of interests expressed in the journal. Janet Jull, at Queens University in Ontario, develops and evaluates approaches and tools for shared decision making in partnerships with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities. Crystal Tremblay, at University of Victoria, uses participatory video and arts-based methods for creative citizen engagement and the co-creation of knowledge leading to environmental and social equity.
What does Research for All hope to achieve for community-based research?
Nearly half the papers we publish have authors from outside of academia, usually writing with their academic partners. They come from advocacy and support groups, schools or further education, support services, theatre, local TV, commercial enterprises, museums and government. They include teachers, school students, patients/ h