Community Innovation Practitioners: Policy and Podcasting, Leeds 2024 

The UK-wide remit of the AHRC Creative Communities programme means that its Community Practitioner Pilot has researchers in all four nations. In practice, this has meant that most of the time the CIPs have spent together as a cohort has been virtual, either in podcast training or their monthly network sessions. The mid-point pilot training days offered a rare opportunity to enjoy in-person time together, present their work to date, and share their plans for podcast and case study production with their cross-sector community stakeholders. This included previews of video and audio recordings, bringing real life voices and vibrancy to the co-created research.

In the afternoon we were joined by Vic Turnbull of MIC Media, the Creative Communities podcast producer who has been training the CIPs in podcasting skills. This was the first time the CIPs had met Vic in-person, and they were able to participate in a deep-dive training session on audio editing, helping the CIPs to capture and clean up the audio they are each recording for their forthcoming podcast series. 

Celebrating after a long day of catching up and audio editing training (left to right, front row: Georgina Aasgaard, Aine Brady, Alex Langlands; Back Row: Lauren Baker Mitchell, Vic Turnbull, Gaston Welisch, Jim Donaghey)

Our second training day was dedicated to policy making. The CIPs enjoyed guest lectures from Prof Beth Perry, director of the Urban Institute at University of Sheffield, and Yusuf Ukadia, policy officer for culture, tourism and sport for West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA). Beth has written extensively on co-production, particularly in relation to Realising Just Cities, a collaborative action research programme aimed at supporting progressive social, economic and environmental change in the North of England. Beth shared some of her experiences of both co-producing research and developing policy – two often messy, non-linear activities! Yusuf shared practical insight into the approach taken at WYCA to develop policy, including the Your Voice public consultation and engagement portal. 

The findings of the CIP research will inform a series of policy papers, a Creative Communities toolkit, and a Creative Communities ‘roadshow’ to platform these co-created findings. As each CIP is embedded in live creative community research, they are vital co-researchers delivering insights directly from their communities and partners to the AHRC Creative Communities programme. 

The CIP case studies and podcast series will be available Autumn 2024. Read more about the CIP Pilot here. 


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