We like to work hard and celebrate even harder here at the Community Research Initiative!

It’s super amazing to see collaborative research accomplished with the relatively novel student-community partnership. Though this partnership may be nerving, any work towards bridging the gap between the student and the community is one that must be commended!

A display of some of the collaborations our students did this past academic year

Testimonies and celebrations inform, inspire and ignite future collaborations that will go on to impact both research and communities. This is where the dissertation showcase 2023 came in! We wanted a space that highlighted all the amazing work our UCL students and community partners did across the past academic year, discussing the process, the outcome and everything in between.

The Student Experience

In the theme of partnership, we collaborated with Base KX, the UCL centre of entrepreneurship and innovation! We started this event off with a bang as we heard from some of our wonderful students. Maddy, Ananya and Leigh (PSYC0287 Exploring Power, Inclusivity & Exclusion in Local Communities) shared their experience of their enrolment in a module set up with community engagement at the forefront. Alongside Issy Smith, UCL Students’ Union Postgraduate Student Officer, these lovely students discussed their experience parallel to Cherrill Hutchinson, founder of the Black Woman Kindness Initiative (BWKI), the community organisation that partnered on this module. Although a novel experience, it was clear that this module had a lasting and positive impact on everyone involved!

Issy (far left) with Leigh (centre-left), Maddy (centre-right) and Ananya (far right) discussing their time during their time participating in the 'PSYC0287 Exploring Power, Inclusivity & Exclusion in Local Communities' module

The next student we heard from was our wonderful alumnus, Sem Lee. Sem explained how their experience in a collaborative research project supported them with the skills and resources needed to set up their very own research consultancy! Sem’s perspective and words of wisdom rang through the room as they welcomed in our student presenters for the 2023 year.

Sem virtually popped in to share their time with CRIS and how it has shaped their work towards launching their own research consultancy!

Throughout these talks and presentations from students, there was a real sense of re-discovery. The traditional viewpoint of research was challenged by the re-discovery of impactful research and how attainable it really is, as demonstrated by our UCL students and partner organisations.

Policy might not be a field of research that comes to mind when thinking of collaborative research but our next student speaker, Medina (MSc Political Science) along with her community partner, We and AI, shared how their experiences working together reframed this whole perspective.

Medina sharing her work on policies with We and AI regarding deepfakes

After, Chloe (MSc Social Policy and Social Research) sat down to converse about the process and impact of her research regarding Black women and self-care with BWKI, especially being a target of the research herself. Discussing the highs and the lows, Chloe made us aware that community engaged research is a challenging but fulfilling path to bridging the gap between research and community.

Chloe discussing her experience working with focus groups, and the impact of being a target of her research

To complete the roster of our wonderful student speakers, Neerajha discussed her time working with Westminster Council. She noted that particularly appreciated the hub at the council due to the various people from different universities which resulted in diverse ideas. Coupled with space provided by CRIS to build on these ideas as well as her own, she was encouraged and able to explore concepts to develop impactful and useful research.

Neerajha reviewing her time working alongside Westminster Council

The Voluntary Sector Experience

The wonderful Priscilla Igwe, the managing director from The New Black Film Collective (TNBFC), shared with us the wonderful work that they had been doing and why community engaged research was so powerful in that space. In creative realms, things are rarely black and white, which adds to its beauty but also adds to difficulty when trying to explain harmful phenomena like difficulties in black art reaching the scope its white counterpart does, even when using the same resources. The work that TNBFC has and continues to do with the Community Research Initiative supports the understanding and cessation of these phenomena.

Priscilla emphasising the need for research within community organisations

Our magnificent Molly McCabe, the Community Research Initiative Coordinator, shared with us the work she had been doing with micro-organisations. Often overlooked and overwhelmed, micro-organisations can sometimes struggle to navigate the world of research. Molly shared with us the importance of micro-organisations in community engaged research as they are often at the forefront of communities. She also discussed tools and resources available at the Community Research Initiative that can be accessed by micro-organisations.

Molly, our magnificent CRIS coordinator, talking about the space research can take in micro-organisations

Thank You!

The Dissertation Showcase 2023 live in action!

We are so thankful to Base KX for hosting our wonderful event! It was a great space, that channelled community!

Thank you to our event photographer, Christopher Tilley from Drive Photo & Resto, for perfectly capturing the event!

UCL Video Productions supported the live streaming of the event as well as producing the edited film of the event. Thank you so much, Matt and Ash.

The experiences of all our presenters were captured by Ada, a fantastic live illustrator. You can watch Ada’s amazing work unfold in the recorded video alongside all the speakers.

Ada creating our wonderful live illustration of our 2023 Dissertation Showcase

A big thank you to all our brilliant volunteers who provided support throughout the event! 

Lastly, but definitely not least, the biggest thank you to Molly McCabe who conjured and organised this phenomenal event. It simply could not have been done without you!

Below is a video of our dissertation showcase 2023 and it has been timestamped so that you can see the start of every speaker. The brochure and agenda are also linked below so that you can get a more in-depth understanding.