The Stories of Research

About the project

The Stories of Research is a project critically examining feminist participatory methodologies. This research looks specifically at one innovative participatory process conducted within the UKRI GCRF Gender, Justice and Security Hub. This project draws on feminist scholarship to examine epistemic violence within research and to advance knowledge and practice in gender justice research practices and research communication. It does so with an expansive epistemic horizon and in ways that are inclusive of the emotional labour, personal insights, discomforts, surprises, and joy that sit behind research – feelings and reflections that are often de-coupled from polished research articles and impact stories.

The research is based on and within the Hub – a collection of 39 projects researching gender, justice and security globally and in seven focus countries (Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq-Kurdistan, Lebanon, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, and Uganda). As members of the Hub, the project Co-Investigators conducted participatory workshops, interviews, and digital storytelling methods with the Hub’s 120 researchers over three years. The collaboratively created outputs tell the story of each project as well as the collective insights that emerged from across all projects.

The outputs we collaboratively created tell the story of each project as well as the collective insights that emerged from across all projects. It does so with an expansive epistemic horizon and in ways that were inclusive of the emotional labour, personal insights, discomforts, surprises, and joy that sit behind each project – feelings and reflections that are often de-coupled from polished research ‘impact stories’.

A testament to collaborative thinking and voice, feminist ethics and practice, and storytelling as a medium for transformative engagement with research.

Using participatory methodologies to rethink research communication

Rather than focusing on the substance of those outputs, this new research project turns the magnifying glass around to critically examine the feminist participatory process used to create and disseminate them. The project does so by using a series of story circles to elicit reflexive dialogue amongst the three Co-Investigators to examine their experiences of designing, implementing, and evaluating this methodology. This reflexivity and critical awareness of process and delivery creates space for reflections on the connections between the epistemic violence inherent in the unjust and violent structures and contexts in which the Hub’s work took place, namely the interlocking impacts of patriarchy, colonialism capitalism, and militarism, and the often (un)intended continuation of this epistemic violence in traditional research practices and communication.

In summary, this project aims to interrogate and illuminate an innovative participatory methodology designed by the researchers and implemented for the Hub. In doing so, the project seeks to uncover the potential benefits, challenges, and risks of this methodology, and others like it, and to distil key lessons learned that might support new ways of designing, conducting, and communicating feminist research.