Research Programme

Community engagement needs radical re-design. All too often decision-making is top-down and decision makers do not adequately engage, deeming ‘community engagement’ a passive exercise.

This new and exciting programme of research asks:

What happens when diverse communities and academics come together to re-shape engagement and work creatively with ideas that run through society, law, history and art?

Can the findings of this research help release creativity, knowledge and the passions within parts of society often on the margins of decision-making and power, to co-produce new forms of engagement and decision-making?


Spaces for dissent

How can local perspectives become knowledge that can be used creatively and critically to enhance policy, official maps and top-down definitions? We seek to understand how neighbourhoods can become bridges to engagement with regulators, policy-makers and business.

Investigator: Martin Innes

Harnessing digital space

How can social media technologies (e.g. digital geographic information systems or GIS, wikis, blogs) be used by communities to share information and co-produce Knowledge? We trace how grassroots digital spaces emerge and how networks, systems and rules produced by digital providers are used to support or hinder community engagement.

Co-investigators: Ros Sutherland and Gabrielle Ivinson

Mobilising neighbourhoods

How might groups whose views dissent from the mainstream be engaged to inform how social problems are understood and addressed? We identify how new understandings and ways of working emerge when communities resist authority, exploring if and how these practices create new forms.

Co-investigators: Tim Cole  and Emma Renold

Current and completed projects

Case for support (PDF, 620 kB)

Productive Margins, University of Bristol
8-10 Berkeley Square, Bristol, BS8 1HH

Tel: +44 (0)117 3940042