SMI Partnership Day: New Directions in Collaborative Community Based Research Partnerships

People in Sheffield Pollen Market

Event details

Monday 11 September 2023


Here at the SMI we understand that developing research collaborations can be challenging for everyone involved.

Together, we work at addressing the big challenges facing our society today and doing this alongside community organisations. As part of this event, we want to work collaboratively to share knowledge, expertise and insights from established community partnerships on how to shape research for the future.

So if you are an academic colleague looking to further your understanding of research collaborations with community organisations OR you work in a community organisation/charity/NGO/public sector organisation and you are looking to see how research methods can help your cause we'd love to meet you!

In this half day event, you will: 

  1. Learn from fellow community based organisations about how they’ve navigated research and working with university partners. 
  2. Have the chance to speak to our SMI academic team members who have expertise and innovation in research methods and training. 
  3. Networking with organisations and sectors such as the UK Government Civil Service Departments and South Yorkshire based Charities. 
  4. How we might work together to facilitate your areas of investigation and enhance your research methods knowledge in the future. 

The day will involve a series of talks, presentations and activities involving creative materials and networking session. We also have dedicated exhibition space to showcase research and organisations.  A live scriber and illustrator will be present to capture our learning and conversations. As a participant, creative and accessible materials will be distributed following the event. 

Lunch and refreshments will be provided. 

Who is invited to attend?

This event is open to all university students and staff and non-academic partners/stakeholders. You might be a charity representative or work for a non-for-profit organisation with an interest in research. This event is particularly useful for anyone who has an interest in research, methods and community and/or research partnerships. Please enquire if you are interested or if you want to check your eligibility. 

How do I sign up? 

Book Now

This event is free to attend but places are limited. Places are allocated on a first come, first served basis. 

If you have questions about the event or any accessibility requirements, please get in touch with Lauren White 

Schedule for the Day

09:00 - 09:30

Arrival, registration and refreshments. 

09:30 - 09:45

Welcome from: SMI Head of Department, Professor Kate Reed / SMI Knowledge Exchange and Partnerships Lead Dr Lauren White / Knowledge Exchange Lead Daria Hernadez

9:45 - 10:30

Creative activity for all attendees to explore what partnerships and collaboration mean to us. Dr Lauren White and Dr Will Mason (Sheffield Methods Institute) will facilitate this workshop. This session will also be live scribed and illustrated by Nifty Fox Creative.

10:30- 10:50

Dr Will Mason (SMI - University of Sheffield) and Shahida Siddique (Diversecity Development Trust)

CiviAct: reimagining community-led university partnership

This session will offer a critical reflection of CiviAct - a multi-agency project that partners six anti-racist activist organisations and two universities in the North of England. CiviAct seeks to support and realise the benefits of youth and community-led civic action. It does this by: (i) financially resourcing the work of six anti-racist activist organisations; (ii) connecting those organisations with each other to create new co-learning opportunities; and (iii) exploring new models of community-led university partnership. Our work offers a deliberate and purposeful departure from conventional models of research partnership.

In this session we will outline that approach and reflect on the lessons learned from two years of radical collaboration.

10:50 - 11:00

Refreshment Break

11:00 - 11:20

Dr Laura Towers (SMI - University of Sheffield) and Lisa Lund (National Bereavement Service) 

Supporting people to manage death administration and/or bereavement at work

Approximately 600,000 people die every year in the UK. Following each of these deaths, a lengthy and complicated set of death administration tasks must be completed, including funeral planning, notifying officials, and managing the estate. In addition, those who are bereaved must navigate continuing to work or returning to work following a bereavement. Taken separately or together, these requirements often cause significant stress and challenge for people at a time when they are already emotionally vulnerable.

In collaboration with the National Bereavement Service, we are working on two research funding bids which seek to address the issues associated with death administration, and work and bereavement.

In this presentation we will briefly outline these grant applications and the ways that we have worked together to bring them to fruition.

11:20 - 11:40

Dr Lauren White (SMI - University of Sheffield), Harry Gordon (Seven Hills School) and Sarah Gillard (Greenacre School) 

Reimagining Trustworthy Autonomous Systems with Young People

We assume that trustworthy autonomous systems (or TAS) will make our future better. Think AI powered robots that could help us go about our everyday lives. But WHOSE future do trustworthy autonomous systems improve? Right now, the design of robotics and autonomous systems are not inclusive. Technology created to assist, rarely involves the user in the processes of research, design and creation. 

Researchers from the Universities of Sheffield and York worked with nine students from Greenacre Special School as co-researchers and co-designers in reflecting, and reimagining these technologies. In this presentation, we will showcase some of the innovative research methods co-developed in our project. These include utilising creative ways to ask big philosophical questions such as ‘What is trust?’ and ‘Do we trust technology?’, developing participatory ‘circles of trust’ and working in close collaboration with the Sheffield based team, Maker{Futures} to move ourselves from users to designers and makers. We will consolidate our project by showcasing our co-produced animation (created by Nifty Fox Creative), ‘Reimagining TAS with Young People’ and offer space to reflect upon the importance of co-producing with young people and the value of our creative and participatory methodologies.

This presentation comes from a UKRI funded TAS hub pump priming project in collaboration with the University of Sheffield, The University of York, Maker{Futures}, Greenacre School and The Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC).

11:40 - 12:00

Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Sheffield Methods Institute 

Further details to be added in due course

12:00 - 12:20

Dr Aneta Piekut (SMI - University of Sheffield), Henry Staples and Lora Krasteva, Uzma Rani & ROAR 

Blurring the edges: social frontiers as places of encounter - a creative exploration

We co-produced an arts-based performance 'Blurring the Edges' and Q&A feedback session to provide a space for Rotherham residents to reflect upon how ‘social frontiers’ affect their lives, and recorded a video to show the power of art to communicate ideas explored in research. 'Blurring the Edges' is a look at the research on social frontiers through performance, visual art, augmented reality, conversation and debate. Using multiple senses to evoke emotion whilst educating and entertaining audiences, the artists do an interrogation of boundaries, a perspective on the migrant/non-migrant experience and even a little food - as art opens up the notion of social frontiers.

The work is a result of a collaboration between 'Life at the Frontier' researchers at the University of Sheffield, Bulgarian-born, Sheffield-based artist/cultural producer Lora Krasteva & Rotherham based visual artist Uzma Rani.

12:20 - 13:00

Interactive world cafe & networking


Thank you and end of day reflections - Professor Kate Reed, Dr Lauren White and our community partners/organisations.

13:15 - 14:00

Lunch and networking / research exhibition space


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