It’s all part of the process: policy engagement and participatory action research

Dr Kevin Burchell, Senior Research Fellow at Policy Studies Institute, delivered two presentations at the 2017 European Climate Change Adaption conference in Glasgow last week. Both talks drew on experiences and evidence from a project called Urban Heat. This project – which Kevin ran with PSI colleague Ben Fagan-Watson, three local teams and an evaluator – focused on the potential of the voluntary and community sector in the context of heatwave planning and community resilience. The project was funded by Joseph Rowntree Foundation.


Kevin Burchell

The first talk was delivered as part of a panel called Making Change Happen, which Kevin organised with colleagues from Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Dundee University. In this presentation, Kevin focused on the processes of policy engagement that were employed in the project. The key point that Kevin made was that it is essential to conduct research and policy engagement together rather than assuming that the latter follows the former.

In the second talk, which was part of an open session, Kevin discussed the processes that the team had employed in the participatory action research phase of the project with community groups. Here, as well as other important issues, Kevin focused on the ways in which good workshops rely upon strong values relating to: mutual learning, shared expertise and agency, openness and generosity.

All of these issues, and more, are discussed in the Urban Heat full report, which can be accessed here.

You can contact Kevin at: k.burchell@westminster.ac.uk.