Taking Yourselves Seriously: Artistic approaches to social cohesion

An introduction to The Taking Yourselves Seriously project and how and why we have linked into ARVAC.


Project Background

This project aims to create a set of co-produced resources that are concerned with arts methodologies with a particular focus on researchers in the voluntary and community sector. We have linked to ARVAC as they represent that sector.

We are interested in what artists do when they work with communities and what methods they use.  These might include visual, experiential, linguistic, tacit and emotionally attuned ways of doing things.  These methodologies can enable diverse forms of knowledge to be surfaced. We want to look at the potential of artistic methods for community researchers to use in ways that make a difference.

Our aim is to integrate methodological approaches from the arts and humanities in the context of enquiry around localised issues of social cohesion.

We aim to work in three sites, a school, an adventure playground and with a Muslim Women’s community organisation to do this.  Below we provide more detail about the projects:

The Projects
School context. We will work with Clifton School in Rotherham to use creative workshops to extend and deepen definitions of success and failure, We aim to explore how creative and artistic methodologies chime with a focus on children’s agency and ability to articulate their ideas as active learners.

Poetry. Poet Andrew McMillan will develop an understanding of failure as artistic practice within the project. Through this project McMillan together with Mort will draw on work that reflects on artistic processes and practices and the ways in which experimentation and re-visioning can contribute to community research more broadly.

Community project. Community researcher Zanib Rasool will explore ways in which artistic methodologies can support community led research with a focus on the life trajectories of women from Pakistani heritage backgrounds.

Adventure playground. A community research project will be led by community worker Patrick Meleady and artist Steve Pool, exploring social cohesion through film as a medium for dissemination. Film as a medium can open up opportunities for different kinds of voices to be heard.

The project team includes poets Andrew McMillan and Helen Mort, artists Steve Pool and Zahir Rafiq, cohesion advisors Mike Fitter (Sheffield) and Waheed Akhter (Rotherham), Mark Payne and Anthony Williams from the School of Education together with Zanib Rasool, (Rotherham United Community Sports Trust) Patrick Meleady (Pitsmoor Adventure Playground) and critical friend and advisor John Diamond, Edge Hill University with Katy Goldstraw RA, also Edge Hill University,
 A critical thinking group will help us make sense of the methodologies. They include Mubarak Hassan, Panni Loh and Vicky Ward.
Kate Pahl is PI. The project runs from the 1st February 2017 for one year.

For more information contact Kate Pahl, on k.pahl@sheffield.ac.uk

Or visit the Imagine Project website.


Article on the British Academy, Where We Live Now website

Place and creativity: Making change happen through the arts

We are all part of a project called ‘Taking Yourselves Seriously: Artistic Approaches to Social Cohesion’.  Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, through their Connected Communities programme, it draws on initial research on what artists do in communities to explore the potential of the arts for working to support social cohesion. Read more here.


What is the point of this project?

Just in case it was not clear what we are doing I thought I would put up a note of a conversation I had with Jayne Humm who is the Chair of ARVAC. Read more here.


Imagine Newsletter No 8

The ‘Taking Yourselves Seriously’ project is featured in the latest edition of the Imagine Newsletter.