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Interrogating 'empowerment' in participatory action research: Power-dynamics, critical reflections, and community activism - 30 January 2023

This event was part of the CPPR Lunchtime Seminar series.

Please note that this event has passed.


This talk discusses some of the opportunities and challenges of conducting participatory action research (PAR) with marginalised groups and shares findings from a doctoral study co-developed with Muslim women to challenge stereotypes and visually document new self-definitions, within the aim of reclaiming their narratives.

The findings reveal the complexities of establishing an equal partnership and negotiating power dynamics, ownership, conflict, and group trust in PAR, which problematises assumptions around ‘empowerment’ within participatory approaches and academic contexts.

Speaker: Dr Hanna Akalu

Dr Hanna Akalu is an early career researcher and module convenor at SOAS. Hanna’s doctoral research applies a range of creative, decolonial, and visual methods to explore identity, controlling images, and self-definition amongst British Muslim women. Hanna has presented her doctoral work at national and international conferences, in her main areas of expertise: psychology, social justice, and community-driven participatory approaches.

At the core of her work is a focus on mutual knowledge production, community activism, and disrupting power imbalances to self-empower marginalised groups and create knowledge that is meaningful and transformative for the communities involved.


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