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Working papers


Our occasional working papers series is open to King’s researchers at any level, from postgraduate up, and from any discipline who wish to share ideas in relation to socially engaged research and associated pedagogy. Working papers are often pre-publication versions of academic articles, book chapters or reviews.

We use the term ‘socially engaged research’ to mean research practice that engages non-academics in any way at a stage of, or throughout, the research process, with the goal of generating social impact. Within the United Kingdom’s higher education sector, the public engagement with research agenda encompasses much of this work.

We are interested in working papers that critically reflect on the processes and practices of socially engaged research and pedagogy, providing insights as to how to do it better and therefore enhance the likelihood of social impact. Some of the themes and topics we are interested in (by no means an exhaustive list) include:

Participatory action research, radical education, service learning, co-production, collaborative processes and practices, community development, professional identities in engaged research, authentic learning, social change, activist research, indigenous research, international perspectives on community engagement.

We are always open to new ideas for working papers and welcome co-authored contributions with non-academics.

If you have an idea for a paper, please contact Dr Ed Stevens (Research Institute Manager) in the first instance to discuss further.

Submitted working papers

Activist-in-Residence Programmes in Higher Education: Critical reflections on challenges and possibilities in theory and practice, Nayana Dhavan, Dr Sebastian Matzner & Dr Ed Stevens

Activist-in-residence schemes in Higher Education Institutions represent a paradox: what space exists for activists in institutions, which are often seen as (re-)creating and perpetuating hegemonic structures and/or thought of as the epistemic sources and reinforcers of the very ideas which activists aim to disrupt? In this working paper, we examine the motivations and theoretical considerations that drive the establishment of such residencies and discuss the tensions and possibilities that arise from this inherent paradox. Based on an analysis of existing AIR schemes and current theoretical framings of AIRs, we propose a practical framework for developing and assessing activist-in-residence programmes. We then offer reflections on a pioneering activist-in-residence scheme at King’s College London’s, piloted through Queer@King’s, an interdisciplinary research centre specialising in gender and sexuality from 2019–21. Drawing on this case study, this paper seeks to reflect on the expectations, practicalities, challenges, and outcomes of operating such schemes. 

To read this working paper, please click here.

Public Engagement in the Digital Environment: Opportunities and Challanges for Arts and Humainities Researchers, Dr Anna Khlusova

This project evaluates the significance of digital technology as an engagement tool for arts and humanities researchers in the current COVID-19 pandemic, and analyses the opportunities and challenges that come from delivering public engagement in the online environment. The project focuses on online public engagement projects conducted by King’s College London (KCL) researchers, including conferences, workshops and digital projects designed to deliver alternative cultural experiences in the time of COVID-19. The overarching goal of this study is to inform future action by drawing attention to the wider potential of digital formats and offering practical recommendations that would be of use to the university, academics and community partners well beyond the present crisis. 

To read this working paper, please click here

Moving Hearts - Museums, artists and universities collaborating, Dr Aleksandra Kubica

This working paper examines collaborative processes between academics at King’s College London, the UK Migration Museum (or UKMM), an Australian artist Penny Ryan, in creating Moving Hearts (MH), an arts-based action research project exploring migration and belonging funded through an international social justice grant from the PLuS Alliance. The tentative recommendations this paper proposes for similar collaborations offer suggestions for developing effective communication from the outset of a project, highlight the requirement of flexibility in partners, and provide ideas for how participants’ perspectives could be included in shaping a project.

To read this working paper, please click here.