We are trying to explore how knowledge about severe social harm is created, interpreted and used; by whom; using which methods; for what purpose; and under what assumptions, frameworks and mindsets.
What is the purpose of this work?
We are trying to explore how knowledge about severe social harm is created, interpreted and used; by whom; using which methods; for what purpose; and under what assumptions, frameworks and mindsets. We think we all are stuck within certain habits and orthodoxies in terms of ‘how things are done’ in these areas and are trying to find and support alternatives.
What’s currently happening?
Just before Christmas 2020, we announced an open-call fund for new partnerships to further this inquiry. We were keen to reach outside our current networks and expose ourselves to different approaches and ways of thinking and acting. We’re currently in the shortlisting / decision-making phase of this. We’re optimistic, excited even, about who we managed to reach with information about the inquiry and the potential of the work we could take forward. We hope to make an initial batch of grants in March, and establish about 10 partners as a starting point for shared reflection on our knowledge system.
What are we learning?
It’s early days and we haven’t convened the first group or made the grants yet. So it’s all quite tentative for now. But initial signals seem quite strong that the way we’ve communicated about knowledge has resonated strongly. There are a few early reflections on the process too: we had over 50 expressions of interest, many of which could have real potential for furthering our work, depending on what initial direction we want to take – we are likely to emphasise equity, leadership, lived experience and creativity, and thought and action from what feels like ‘Horizon 3’, as an ambitious first step. It feels like the targeted knowledge brief has had a much better hit rate compared to our old open grants application system. Some external partners have been involved in the decision making process, especially those who have inspired our journey so far, and this has been a really useful way of hearing different voices and exploring things that Lankelly Chase people might have missed.
We convene an initial group of grant partners to go about the work they’ve proposed, and also gather together to learn about each other’s work, explore shared questions and insights and consider what a programme of diverse and interesting activity adds up to, and where it’s taking us all. I (Oliver) will be on parental leave for this initial period so the group will be supported and kept in touch with through colleagues (mainly Jess and Mary), to help ensure some cross-pollination between this group and our wider partnerships; we’ll also likely bring in some facilitation support to help the group explore what they’re learning and who they want to be as a group, but we ourselves are a key audience / participant in what’s emerging too.