Building on the University’s existing strengths in participatory research and community engagement, our current journey began with the Whitley Researchers collective in 2014, a collaboration with the Whitley Community Development Association, and subsequent launch of the Participation Lab in 2016.

Since then, the team has grown and carried out many more projects using Participatory Action Research (PAR) methods, which have engaged different stakeholders as equal partners to address the issues that matter to grassroots communities.

Community Led Research Pilot with BSA

We are working with the British Science Association (BSA) to pilot a new approach to community-led research in Reading and Slough funded by UKRI. The project aims to put communities at the heart of research, exploring the issues that matter to them.

Participatory Action Research: A Toolkit

This toolkit is for community researchers, community organisations, students and academics who want to reflect on and better understand the principles and everyday practices of Participatory Action Research (PAR), how to build community research teams and how to use PAR to understand local issues.

Cost of living crisis: community researchers investigate impact in South East England

Over thirty community researchers, from organisations in the South East of England, are investigating the impact of the cost of living crisis on local people. The project, which is funded by NHS England and delivered by the University of Reading and the Scottish Community Development Centre, aims to inform local health and care services.

Excellence in End-of-Life Care: Making Better Memories?

This project investigates with participatory action research how a hospital trust can provide a consistently high standard of end-of-life-care to patients, their families and carers.

Tackling health inequalities in Reading

A report offers a series of recommendations for tackling health inequalities in Reading, including improving translation and interpretation services and engaging local community groups as partners in culturally-sensitive service design and delivery.

Uncovering hidden stories from Oxford Road

Reading researchers are working with local communities and artists to reveal and celebrate the heritage of one of the town’s most diverse and multicultural streets.

Transnational Families in Europe: Care, Inequalities and Wellbeing

Using Participatory Action Research to investigate the relationships between care, inequalities and wellbeing among different generations of transnational families in the UK, Spain, France and Sweden.

Hear me: young people’s experiences of exclusion from school

The Whitley Researchers and the University of Reading explored experiences of school exclusion from the perspectives of young people.

Tackling loneliness and social isolation in Reading

This research project explored the closely linked relationship between isolation and loneliness, and how these are connected to health and wellbeing.

Marvellous Mums

Marvellous Mums has brought together researchers and community partners to support disadvantaged women from local communities to recognise their own skills and strengths.

Young Whitley Researchers

With collaborative support from the John Madejski Academy, the Young Researchers were set up to mirror the concept of the Whitley Researchers, but represent and give a voice to young people.

Whitley Researchers

The Whitley Researchers is a partnership between Whitley Community Development Association, local residents and the University of Reading. The programme involves local residents in conducting their own research, voicing their own needs and devising solutions to local issues.