4. Programme Vision
To mobilise the potential for
communities to enhance self-
sustainability, health & well-
being by better connecting
research, organisations and
5. What do we mean by ‘Community’?
• For the purposes of this Programme, and subject to further
consultation, we are currently thinking of ‘communities’ as:
“cooperative or interactive groups sharing a virtual or
physical environment and aspects of identity (such as
location, race, ethnicity, age, history, occupation), culture,
belief or other common bonds and/or a shared interest in
particular issues or outcomes”.
• We recognise that such communities are nested and overlap. We
are interested both in the relationships within these communities
and the interactions between communities and their outcomes
for broader society and economy.
6. Why Connected?
In terms of the research:
• Improve understanding of both the changing connections
between individuals and groups within communities and the
connections between different and their implications for
• Examine the connections between communities and their
broader environments – spaces, places and institutions – and
how this can help inform future community-based
• Explore connections between research issues often
considered in isolation to deliver more integrated
understanding of the roles of, and impacts on, communities.
7. Why Connected?
• Connect researchers, knowledge and data from across
disciplines to deliver more integrated understanding.
• Connect UK and international research.
• Connect researchers, organisations and communities in the
co-production of knowledge and knowledge exchange.
• Connect research funders to enhance co-ordination and
alignment of activities and promote partnerships and
collaboration to maximise added value from the currently
highly fragmented research field and address strategic gaps
8. Key Features of Connected Communities
Some ideas from the Summit in June 2010
High quality research as a given, but also:
• Sustainable engagement with real communities from the outset
to beyond project life; communities involved in identifying
challenges and possible solutions; partnership working; innovative
approaches to co-production.
• Ideas of connectedness and disconnectedness, fluidity of complex
relationships between individuals, within communities and
between communities; both positive and negative dimensions of
• Prepared to consider complex underlying issues and questions
such as ethics, power, rights, equity, nature of benefits and
burdens, sustainability, well-being.
9. Key Features of Connected Communities
Some ideas from the Summit in June 2010
• Grounded in deep understanding of communities as diverse &
complex cultural phenomena but seeking to draw wider
transferable or generalisable insights.
• Draws together insights from different research approaches
/different disciplines/ different research & policy domains.
• Crucial role of comparative and historical dimensions.
• Develops novel approaches to long-standing challenges or
understanding new cultural phenomena.
• Focus on communities (variably defined) as the prime unit of
analysis but not forgetting the ‘bigger picture’.
10. Key Features of Connected Communities
Some ideas from the Summit in June 2010
• Relevant to strengthening well-being in communities and to
policy & practice.
• Builds on past research, understanding and current evidence
base, ‘not reinventing the wheel’ but developing
• Focus on change and processes of change; forward looking
but informed by the past.
• Explores creative approaches – looking at ‘what could be’ as
well as ‘what is’.
11. Activities in 2010/11
• Connected Communities ‘Summit’ Birmingham (June
2010) & 19 follow-up projects now being supported
• Civility project (AHRC, ESRC, Young Foundation)
• Collaboration with CABE on ‘Beauty’ (AHRC)
• BIS SIN US network event on communitarianism
• Workshop on ‘crime & communities’, 27 July 2010 & 9
follow-up projects to start shortly
• Workshop on ‘Design & Communities’ with Design Council
in early 2011
• Highlight notice AHRC’s collaborative doctoral awards
scheme (call closed 4 November 2010)
12. Activities in 2010/11
• Fellowship in collaboration with RSA Citizen Power in
Peterborough Programme (call closed 26 November
• Scoping studies and research reviews, (call closed 26
• Highlight notice in AHRC’s research networking and
fellowships schemes (Open deadlines)
• Today’s research development workshop on role of the
cultural & creative economy in creating prosperous
communities (& follow-up funding opportunity)
13. Focus for this workshop
The Creative Economy
• ‘Creative Economy’ covering a wide range of activities that
demonstrate creativity within the economy. This includes, but
goes beyond, those sectors traditionally included within
definitions of the creative and cultural ‘industries’.
This broad approach could include, for example:
• individual practitioners and micro businesses; cultural institutions,
cultural tourism; creativity and innovation in business and
industry, public services and the voluntary and charitable sector;
cultural production alongside new technologies; ‘branding’ and
the ‘experience economy’; ‘creative cities’ and ‘creative clusters’.
• creative production; cultural activities; cultural environment;
creativity, open innovation and technological change; community-
led creative & cultural activities.
14. A Connected Communities Focus
Communities at the centre of research, for example:
• The specific role of communities in the creative economy, in
shaping, generating or engaging with initiatives and the impacts
of initiatives for communities;
• How connectivity, or lack of connectively, within or between
communities may affect the development or outcomes of creative
• Potential for adding value to current research by better linking up
past, current and future research & by learning across disciplines /
research fields (e.g. sustainable development, health, crime etc);
• How links with communities and other potential partners might
be built in appropriately from the outset of the research and how
the potential benefits of the research for policy-makers,
practitioners, cultural and creative businesses, and communities,
might be maximised.
15. A Changing Policy Context?
• Public spending cuts;
• Big Society, localism, ‘bonfire of quangos’ (e.g. RDAs)
in England but different approaches in Scotland, Wales
• Increased emphasis on ‘Well-Being’ and ‘Happiness’;
• Increasing recognition nationally and locally of the
importance of the creative economy as a part of a
competitive & sustainable diverse economy;
• Increasing globalisation and international
competition, growth of the digital economy.
16. Examples of Challenges
• Maximising the value and learning from previous and current
research across a range of disciplines – moving beyond individual
case studies; comparative approaches; transferability and
• Addressing gaps in the evidence base. e.g. do we know enough
about the long-term sustainability and distribution of any benefits
• Making better use of new cultural initiatives, large and small
scale, as research ‘experiments’.
• Finding better ways to conceptualise and assess successes /
failures, benefits /‘disbenefits’, economic and well-being impacts.
• Developing more effective partnerships and community
engagement from the outset that strengthen future research.
17. The Challenges
• These are just examples. Aims of the
workshop are to identify challenges and
develop creative approaches to addressing
• We do not have a pre-determined idea of the
types of projects or approaches, topics etc
that should emerge, but we do have an idea of
the types of things we are looking for in
18. An Opportunity
To “do something different to make a difference”
An opportunity for:
• Creativity, innovation, imagination – projects should look
different from previous research (but build on current
knowledge & understanding)
• Novel cross-disciplinary / Cross-Research Council
• Exploring new partnerships with policy / practice /
business / voluntary sector
• Putting communities at the heart of the research
• Co-design & co-production of research
• Projects with the potential to move beyond single case
studies to make a significant difference to research
landscape, policy, practice and communities
19. A Unique Funding Opportunity
• Longer and larger research projects (up to 5
years, £1.5m FEC) (plus co-funding opportunities)
• Development funding for earlier stage
development work (scoping, reviews networking
• Unconstrained by Research Council boundaries
but with Arts and Humanities research
perspectives playing a central role.