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Soundings & Findings: a Connected Communities research conference, UEA, 30 June-2 July

connected-communities-logoAs the culmination of the 2015 national Connected Communities Festival (15-29 June), a conference for those who have been and are involved in Connected Communities projects is being held at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. The draft programme is now available.

The purpose of the conference is to present and discuss the actual research the programme has produced and is producing—both academic research and that involving community and independent researchers as co-producers of ideas. In Connected Communities we spend a good deal of time collaborating inside and out, making new practice, in dialogue with disciplines outside our own, taking risks. Wonderful! But here we want to focus attention primarily on the research we are mostly writing and publishing: more output than outcome, more product than process, at this moment, perhaps.

Does that feel a little like a step backwards, a reality check, or even, at most critical, a disavowal of what Connected Communities is about? We think not: we think this a good moment in the programme’s development to articulate and evaluate how Connected Communities is dynamically contributing to the changing research landscape.

We are looking for papers and presentations that offer new insights, suggest new directions, open up new theories in our key programme areas:

  • Creative and digital
  • Participatory arts
  • Civil society and social innovation
  • Diversity and dissent
  • Health and well-being
  • Culture and heritage
  • Environment and sustainability
  • Methods and theory.

Alongside research-led discussions of project and cross-project activities, areas for discussion include but are not restricted to:

  • New understandings of community
  • How is Connected Communities actually moving forward research knowledge, however produced; what new knowledge and understanding are we producing?
  • How does the interdisciplinary nature of Connected Communities research impact on research practices and outputs? Are we really doing interdisciplinarity, and must we? How is the programme’s interdisciplinarity influencing individual disciplines, if at all?
  • How is Connected Communities co-produced and collaborative research feeding into and informing academic discourse and outputs?
  • Is a shifting arts and humanities research practice in Connected Communities more than simply applied arts and humanities?
  • Innovation in methods, theoretical approaches and questions, resources for research
  • How is Connected Communities shaping existing academic agendas or opening up new research questions or challenges of fields? There are perhaps questions about where people are publishing and how this is reaching (or could reach) back into disciplinary academic discourses
  • Practice as research, including within participatory arts and media
  • Questions about writing up: how are community partners involved in writing, how are they represented and included in academic outputs?
  • Are there collective outputs/opportunities across projects to develop? If so, how?
  • What might or should the (academic) research legacies of the programme be? What existing literature (theory, concepts, etc.) is proving particularly useful for Connected Communities and what literature / foundations do we want to leave for future researchers to build upon?
  • Academic career trajectory aspect–how, if at all, is Connected Communities helping academics (including Early Career Researchers) to develop their research careers?

We expect conference proposals to be clear about where they fit in the existing research landscape, clear about the data or activities they are based upon, and also clear about the new insights they offer/the way they change the field.

AHRC logo 10th anniversaryRegistration and accommodation

Registration will be free for Connected Communities speakers and delegates (including meals, refreshments, conference events), though please note that numbers are limited. Accommodation will be supplied for speakers. Further information to follow shortly. Registration is essential, here via Eventbrite. In the event that capacity is reached, a waiting list will be operated.

Further information is available from: Rachel Daniel, Connected Communities administrator, UEA:

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