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As the title of the programme – ‘Creating Our Future Histories’ – suggests, this training programme is not simply about telling the past history of the participating community organisations, but also about making concrete plans for the future. It is about creating both a legacy and a future trajectory through projects that will help raise the public profile of the community groups.

 

The AHRC provide training for this kind of partnership building because they have a keen interest in increasing the utility of academic research by supporting research that touches people’s lives and makes a real-life difference to communities. Rather than attempting to get the public interested in their research after it has been completed, researchers are encouraged to find out about the actual research interests and needs of the public and to develop research projects in dialogue with communities.

 

‘Creating Our Future Histories’ sets out to provide both researchers (mainly postgraduate students in the final stage of completing their doctoral studies) and their community partners with a hands-on learning experience. The programme is geared towards the creation of a public exhibition event, which will showcase the ‘future histories’ of the participating community groups. The term ‘exhibition’ can be interpreted in a number of ways in this context: exactly what shape the exhibitions take will depend on the nature of the project as well as the particular knowledge, skills and interests of both the researchers and community groups involved.