A radical research perspective: Co-producing research with young people - by Prof Kate Pahl
A radical research perspective
Co-producing research with young
Kate Pahl, Manchester Metropolitan
How can we know about what
young people think or feel?
We need a methodology that listens to young
people in a more situated way.
Language based methods do not capture the
way in which things are embodied in the
rhythm of continuing life
Young people use film, music, dance, poetry,
writing, creative arts, and other modes of
engagement to speak what they feel
The school where I studied
I passed by the school where I studied
Most of my life and I said in my heart:
Here I am today and didn’t stop.
All my life I have loved growing up and
Learning different things
I wish I could go back in time and re-do all my
Giving up our ideas
• If we are to take children’s epistemologies
seriously, we have to give up our own,
sometimes clever sounding, academic ideas.
• Robbie: ‘She said we could be like messing
about a bit and show who we really are for
the cameras not like, we weren’t to pretend
who somebody were not, we had to show
who we are’ (Robbie, group discussion 13 July
It’s a different kind of work
Courtney: You have got to do work.
Kate: It’s a different kind of work.
Robbie: It’s still work though.
Time and school
Kate: You said something else about drama and
Courtney: When you are in drama you can act
out but you can also act out in school it's
about spending your life, and its is not just
about drama you can just live your life.
Kate: Across the school day.
Connected Communities Programme
To research ‘community’ with, by and for communities
• Understanding the changing nature of communities in
their contexts, and the role of communities in sustaining
and enhancing our quality of life
• Interdisciplinary research with a strong arts & humanities
• Collaborative research with communities at all stages of
the research process
Re-thinking university and
• We need to think differently about
university/community knowledge production
• Dialogic model of knowledge production
• Knowledge is ‘living’ and enacted and felt
within multimodal representations
• Disciplines do not help – knowledge is
community situated and experienced (Rasool
Who is the expert?
• Academics can sometimes get in the way
• The ‘only we can know what is really going
on’ mode devalues other people (e.g.
teachers, young people)
• If young people’s perceptions are treated
seriously they then frame the ways we think
• This enables different kinds of changes to
How can we find out what young
• Re-situate agency differently
• Recognise that methods are contested and
language doesn’t always work
• Work with what young people do already do
in their everyday lives
• Co-production done well repositions who
holds power, it enables young people to have
agency within the project, to participate as
themselves and places their knowledge at the
centre. This is why pursuing an agenda of
coproduction has been so important: it
generates a different ‘living knowledge’.
• Andrew McMillan
• Vicky Ward
• Hugh Escott
• Steve Pool
• Keri Facer
• Zanib Rasool
• Gooseacre School
• Marcus Hurcombe, Rotherham Youth Service