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April 2016 Citizen Research Initiative Offers Collective Voice On Community Issues
NUI Galway launch ‘Citizen Authored Briefs’ that draw on research conducted by older people, children and youth and people with disabilities to highlight community issues
A new research collaboration empowering local residents to highlight community issues for children, older people and people with disabilities has been carried out by the Institute for Lifecourse and Society (ILAS) at NUI Galway.
In an innovative partnership with the Project Lifecourse group at ILAS, children and youth, older people, and people with disabilities conducted research in six neighbourhoods across Dublin, Galway and Limerick. Offering a unique insight and voice into the experiences of these groups, the research captures the impact of community change from the viewpoint of local people and vulnerable groups within each neighbourhood context in Ireland.
Speaking about this collaboration, Alexandra Revez, one of the NUI Galway researchers, said: “This initiative has allowed the coming together of these residents, from very different backgrounds and different types of neighbourhoods, to really unearth the lived experiences of growing up, ageing and living with a disability in today’s urban society.”
This exciting research collaboration is marked by the launch of the ‘Citizen Authored Brief Series’. These briefs document research on important issues such as: safety and the built environment; social and economic disadvantage; community identity and intergenerational relationships; migration and the value of intercultural spaces, and community activism.
Asked about their motivation to participate in this initiative one of the Citizen Researchers remarked that this collaboration was: “A chance to open people’s eyes to what I see and an opportunity to have my voice heard.”
The Citizen Researcher Initiative is part of NUI Galway’s 3-Cities Project, which aims to engage in a collaborative process to re-imagine services and communities to maximise participation for children and youth, older people and people with disabilities in their localities and cities. The project, focusing on Claddagh and Doughiska (as part of the greater Ardaun, Roscam and Doughiska community area) in Galway, East Wall and the Liberties in Dublin, and South Circular Road and Garryowen in Limerick, is interested in the urban environment and the impact it has on the life-course trajectories of individuals.
This research also explores the impact of different community participation practices on the lives of older people, children and youth and people with disabilities. The Citizen Researcher Initiative represents international best practice in the activation and empowerment of members of the public as researchers. By engaging in this process the project has strived to provide local members of the community which represent older people, children and youth and people with disabilities with a way to contribute to and direct the 3-Cities Project research and its outputs.
The 3-Cities Project marks the first major programme of work undertaken by Project Lifecourse, which is the flagship research initiative at the Institute for Lifecourse and Society (ILAS) in NUI Galway. This initiative is funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies and represents Ireland’s most visible contribution to the growing international field of life course studies.
For more information on 3-Cities Project please visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/ilas/project-lifecourse/thethreecitiesproject/