Addressing inequalities through creative, place-based participatory action research

Staffordshire University is committed to making a difference through its research and impact in communities.


Get Talking is an approach to community-led participatory action research, designed and developed by Staffordshire University's Creative Communities Unit. It uses creative and artistic consultation techniques (often developed with artists) to engage with people who might be sceptical or afraid of formal academic research. The programme includes training and support for a wide range of people with lived experience of the research subject as community researchers. It empowers them to influence projects which affect their lives.

There is an established process for involving the community researchers for the length of each project. This approach is founded on five key principles: Participation, Action driven, Inclusion, Honesty and Flexibility.


Get Talking delivered a range of impacts for communities based on their interests and place-based needs. The co-production methods drew on lived experiences and enabled community organisations to implement recommendations based on their stakeholders’ needs and views. It addressed issues of power, inequality, access and participation by co-producing knowledge using creative and artistic consultation techniques. It has:

  1. Led to increased access to art for diverse and under-represented groups. Over 1200 people with low access to arts have benefited from being consulted about civic arts in Stoke-on-Trent. This work increased art audiences and led to more local involvement in decision making about artistic programming
  2. Supported the Hardship Commission’s work by recruiting and training people with lived experience of poverty and hardship as community researchers.
  3. Benefitted community researchers through improvement of skills, knowledge, qualifications and employment, and greater wellbeing.
Addressing inequalities through creative, place-based participatory action research

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