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Imagining, Strategizing, Sharing and Scaling the Future through Community Action Research

Bleach, Josephine (2019) Imagining, Strategizing, Sharing and Scaling the Future through Community Action Research. In: CARN-ALARA Conference 2019, 17-19 October 2019, Hotel President, Split, Croatia.

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The Early Learning Initiative (ELI), National College of Ireland, is a community-based initiative aimed at addressing educational disadvantage through an integrated program of activities, training and support for children, their parents and families, and professionals from birth up to third level. Community Action Research (CAR) is used to address the generational, long-term problems of social deprivation, poverty, poor educational attainment and mass unemployment in the area. Our aim is to collectively improve outcomes for children, families, services and communities by changing our relationships, theories, policies and practices. Over the past twelve years, the process has evolved into a complex developmental process of incremental change, informed by data and judgement that has led to the significant cumulative evolution of our theory, practice and programmes (Patton, 1994).

For the past two years we have been imagining the future and developing our 2020-25 strategy by engaging in a multitude of ‘dynamic conversations’ (Schön 1983). Three themes have emerged from this consultation process: 1. Build on our Strengths; 2. Diverse and Inclusive Approach; 3. Development and Expansion. Challenges have emerged. The future is uncertain. Managing the views, tensions and synergies between the various stakeholders is difficult. Ensuring that issues of power and control are dealt with respectfully and all voices are heard and included, is demanding.

A key requirement is the need to constantly learn and evolve; thereby building our capacity, systems and resources to sustain existing provision, while managing sustainable long-term growth and development. Learning how to innovate and adapt to emerging ever-changing contexts requires structured periods of reflection, assessment and dialogue, where needs, risks and possibilities are identified and planned for. This presentation examines how a CAR project strategizes on scaling learning through capacity building, networking and connectedness.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Action research; capacity-building; change; community; strategy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform > Community Development
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > Early childhood education
Divisions: Early Learning Initiative Publications
Depositing User: Clara Chan
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2022 15:05
Last Modified: 23 Mar 2022 15:05

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