Co-producing CARE: Community Asset-based Research Enterprise

Sewing bobbins

Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded project (£120,000)

Principal investigator: Dr Fiona Hackney (Falmouth University), co-investgator: Professor Ann Light (Northumbria University), community co-investigator: Deidre Figereido (Director, Craftspace Birmingham), research assistant: Mary Loveday-Edwards.

CARE aims to test and develop a methodology for co-produced community learning through creative practice that builds dialogue, promotes self-reflection and reflexivity. The research focuses on hobby craft groups engaged in knitting, crochet, embroidery, woodworking, quilting or lace-making, for instance, that are undertaken voluntarily for pleasure and involve high levels of ingenuity, competence and creativity. These activities represent an important area of community assets and strengths; skills, knowledge, expertise and capabilities that are often devalued or dismissed but which, if recognised, might be developed and applied more widely through volunteering, training, community activism, small business or social enterprise. The initial pilot was undertaken with community participants in Birmingham and Cornwall and produced a series of short films and interactions. The project team, partners, advisors, consultants and community participants met together to critically review progress and pool ideas for Phase 2, which is currently on-going, and involves the development and testing of a user-friendly digital platform to promote, support, track and evaluate the 'small' stories - or material consequences - of collaborative making and exchange.

For more details, films and blog visit the project website: