Dr Cara Broadley

Project Title: Social Studios: exploring participatory design methods with community groups towards enhancing participation requests 

Introduced through the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015, Participation Requests (PRs) provide a mechanism for community groups to contribute to decisions and services that affect their lives. Responding to challenges and opportunities identified in recent research into PRs, this research project aims to understand the ways in which Participatory Design (PD) methods can support citizens, communities, and public authorities in the preparation, submission, and implementation of PRs. PD foregrounds the use of bespoke and flexible methods including sketching, mapping, and prototyping to engage with communities and build upon their primary knowledge and expertise to envisage preferable scenarios.

The research applies a qualitative and iterative Participatory Action Research approach to develop Social Studios as community-centred collaborative workshops. In these, visual, reflective, creative, and generative PD methods will be used to elicit and capture a community group’s experiences of PRs, before co-designing a series of tools to support key aspects of the PR process. Forming a Participation Portfolio, these tools will be shared with additional community groups across Scotland to test how they can be adapted and scaled to address diverse local issues. This will inform the development of recommendations articulating the contribution of PD methods in enhancing engagement, action, and ownership in PRs.

Awarded: Research Incentive Grant

Field: Visual Art, Interpretation Design and Practice

University: The Glasgow School of Art

Latest News