CUCR Research Consultancy Projects by Alison Rooke and Imogen Slater

CUCR continues to deliver research consultancy with the public, private and third sector. This is a summary of our current projects located in London, the UK and throughout Europe.

  1. Provoking new thinking around diversity and inclusion?

Capital People Programme – LLfHP


Equalities and Diversity have become an integral part of our public sector over recent decades. Despite the advances that E&D have engendered in relation to law, policy and practice, some believe that work in this area has hit a brick wall. As human rights expert Harjinder Bahra explained, we have worked towards having more diverse workforces, but this isn’t an end point. It is instead a starting point. An increasingly diverse workforce in the NHS throws up a huge range of issues and misconceptions that need to be addressed for a team to be able to effectively work together. He said “you come to work as a professional not a Muslim……..” or follower of any other faith for that matter. Bahra’s view reasserts the commonality of our human rights over and above rights pertaining to any individual or group based on identities of faith, ethnicity or gender. Within the NHS, the ‘London Leading for Health Partnership’, a pan-London leadership development organisation, working across all NHS organisations is spearheading this human rights approach to E&D using human rights principles1 as a way of shifting the current equalities paradigm. The aim is that the pilot programme will energise dialogue, provoke individual thinking and bring new ways to negotiate the politically contentious pitfalls of equality and diversity policy that have, arguably, hindered progress and meaningful discussion. LLfPH hope that the opportunities offered by the Capital People programme will translate into the NHS workplace, enabling staff to negotiate the needs and demands of different groups. The programme is responsive to issues highlighted by the Mid Staffs Trust Inquiry and subsequent Francis Report which highlighted the need for a culture shift that puts patient care at the top of the agenda from the top to the bottom of NHS services.

Capital People is being delivered by innovators in the field of leadership, management and organisational development: BRAP, People Opportunities and Freda Consultants. Six Oranges (renowned for human rights documentary film making) are filming the process and CUCR is the evaluation partner.

For more information get in touch with CUCR or see:



  1. Creativeworks – IJAD :Infinite


This project brings CUCR as the academic partner together with IJAD dance company. We have been working together to explore the possibilities of social media as a creative and interactive tool for performance related arts and in this instance, dance. Using social media was envisioned as being a means to reach out to new audiences and to engage them in the creative processes. With this in mind, a series of dance events were programmed with our researchers working as collaborators, creating social media dialogue and monitoring the ways in which audiences engage.



  1. Future Stages – Oval House


  The Oval House, in Kennington, South London are renowned for their theatre based work over decades and are about to celebrate their 50th year. Much of their work is focused on participation and young people. The Future Stages project has been funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and offers the opportunity to develop their ‘dynamic group work’ approach with young people in Pupil Referral Units and/or transitional or foster care. The aim is that by the end of the project a methodology will have been developed that can be shared with other performance arts based organisations. As well as attempting to find robust data about the impacts of their work, Oval House want to learn about the ways this might be honed. Alongside this they want to improve the ways they evaluate their practice both for internal reflective learning practice and in order to disseminate externally. CUCR is the evaluation partner and is involved in following their current delivery of Future Stages, designing an evaluation framework and tools for use across their work and reporting on the work for wider dissemination. Part of the programme involves setting up a national network – Creating Change in order to work with peer organisations, share dissemination and good practice as well as advocating for the value of the sector. For more information see  -:

  1. Silver Stories – Leonardo Transfer of Innovation

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  260292_196549453726081_100001130821360_520483_4088982_n-1

Silver Stories is a European partnership project building on the success of Extending Creative Practice2 (CUCR 2012). It involves running digital storytelling workshops for professionals working with older people in 5 countries in Europe, as a means of combatting digital exclusion.

Silver Stories addresses the need to extend and improve the VET curricula of those working with older people in community and care settings, to address the impact of digital exclusion and to provide a tool that will enhance their relationships through its participatory and personal methodology. It will also extend the expertise of those working with older people by enabling professionals to gain new skills, knowledge and experience of work with different community groups through the structured exchange of practice.”


Digital Storytelling is a global movement and as a method has a diverse range of uses and motivations. See for example. Through ECP we found that digital storytelling to be a uniquely engaging way of getting older people to use IT, developing their skills and overcoming fears. The combination of the technical and the creative proved dynamic with films created that were, collectively un-categorisable. For example they offered insights into marriage, being an orphan, learning to play an instrument, saunas, and developing Parkinsons. Silver Stories now takes this idea and extends its use through the training and professional development of those in the care and VET sectors with the hope that not only will more older people gain access to digital storytellling but that this offers the opportunity for dialogue and greater understanding between older people and those who work with them.


  1. Creative Families – SLG

Creative Families is an innovative early-intervention arts programme for parents experiencing mental health difficulties and their children aged under-five in Southwark. It is funded by Guys and St Thomas’s Charitable Trust as part of their arts and heritage funding of projects that bring together clinicians, academics, artists and arts organisations. The project contributes to the Trusts strategic development areas of:

  • Arts engagement to improve the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people

  • Artists as catalysts for innovation.

The project partners are SLAM3 Parental Mental Health Team (PMHT), South London Gallery (SLG) and the Grove and Crawford Children’s Centres. Creative Families is a two-year early intervention initiative and is comprised of six, ten-week interlinked artist-led workshop programmes for parents and their children. As a pilot it sets out to develop and test a new way of working that involves partnership between artists, an arts organisation, parental mental health services and children’s centres. This therefore places exploration, collaboration and learning at the core of this project. As a result the project is tasked with some additional aims beyond delivery which include:

  • Increasing the understanding and developing the working relationships between the partners

  • Developing, testing and honing a model which if seen to be efficacious can be used and adapted beyond the current project.

The evaluation of the Creative Families project takes a two-pronged approach. The project is evaluated through an innovative partnership between the Department of Health & Population at The Institute of Psychiatry, and CUCR. This interdisciplinary approach brings together two sets of institutional culture and practice which also reflect the different professional practices involved together in the project.

Dr Alison Rooke is co-Director of the Centre for Urban and Community Research.

Imogen Slater is Project Manager of Research Consultancy at CUCR.

1 The FREDA principles: Fairness, Respect, Equality, Dignity and Autonomy

3 SLAM is South London and Maudsley NHS Trust

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s