I’m adding some past work in the resources section, which I’ll briefly introduce here.
The first is a 2 year evaluation report of an Arts in Criminal Justice intervention, Dance United‘s Academy in Bradford. I worked on this evaluation with Andrew Miles from the Centre for Research on Socio Cultural Change in 2007-8. The report may be of interest as an example of using ethnography as an anchoring approach within a mixed-method programme evaluation, an approach Dance United continue to apply to their current work. I’d be very happy to share reflections on how we developed that approach, on request.
Others may be interested in the Learning Outcomes measurement tools that were developed specifically for this programme, and provide an innovative way of charting the changes participants went through, week-by-week over its 12 week course. Some interesting patterns emerged.
Second is a literature review on Digital Literacy, written for Brathay Trust in 2011 to inform their planning of a new digital literacy project in Cumbria schools. It may be of interest to those in formal and informal education settings wanting an insight into different types of digital literacy projects around the globe; also to those concerned with the evaluation of DL initiatives, or to those interested in DL and digital exclusion from a policy perspective.
Third is my PhD thesis, which I’m rather shy about web hosting for the first time since I successfully defended it in 2007! Based on fieldwork across a network of community organisations on the Carpenters Estate in Newham in 2003-4, it takes as its starting point a flagship mid-Blair era policy initiative – the Wired-up Communities programme – funded by the (then) Department for Education and Skills.
As a case study of a policy, my research focuses on the ways different groups of residents – young and old, long-term residents and relative newcomers, ‘active citizens’ and disinterested onlookers – were interpreting and using both the free ICT and community TV project and its organisational framework. It considers the role of the social entrepreneurs and community technologists leading the project, arguing that they, along with particular groups of residents, had at least as much input as politicians and policy makers into (re-)defining and (re-)interpreting the key concepts of ‘local community’ and ‘active citizenship’ that the programme aimed to develop. However my fieldwork uncovered that, far from being a straightforward or democratic process of ‘citizen’ influence on policy formation, it involved a complex set of relationships between competing local discourses and pre-existing power relationships.
The thesis argues that social policy – particularly neoliberal, in this case ‘Third Way’ policy – requires much conceptual and ‘actual’ work by the people and communities it intends to act upon; and that it needs to be understood within the local and historical contexts in which it is developed and deployed.