Each project offers unique insight into how research approaches can be crafted to support social justice. This includes best practices for building and maintaining research collectives, for defining the area of inquiry and disseminating findings, working in alignment with community organizing practices and agendas, and collectively influencing policies and programs. Taken together, scholars will discuss differing approaches, methods, and lessons learned with a focus on how PAR can be used to advance social justice research.
Dominique, a Black scholar focused on the eradication of state violence against families of color, argues that the PAR process should consist of community building without agenda. Prior to creating a research question or purpose the collective should intentionally build community, regardless of outcome. The researcher then provides examples of community building practice which include, demonstration of commitment to collective social justice efforts, participation in collective care, and participation in collective dreaming.
Next, Melanie, a White female scholar whose work centers on healing justice, will focus on what it means to play a supportive role in the research process and the significance of the collective taking on a role of power and authority over a research project. This paper focuses specifically on using PhotoVoice in the framework of PAR to create shared knowledge and influence policies and programs.
Sid, a trans scholar and antiviolence organizer, considers PAR as a strategy for building political power and researcher accountability during a period of expanding funding for transgender health research. This paper draws on outcomes from a self-reflection and strategy phase of an ongoing trans-led PAR project created to expand community control over data and assess values and ethics in future research engagements.
Lastly, Kristen, a white racial justice organizing scholar, will focus on the process of PAR as part of a politicized organizing project on decarceration in Los Angeles. Specifically, the paper reflects on tensions that arise in working with white people to address structural racism. Discussion focuses on decision-making when organizing and research interests had competing interests; when election-focused outcomes were at odds with longer-term transformative goals; and when the white-led sector had differences of opinion with the broader multiracial Black-led movement.
Building on the reflections of scholars who are actively involved in four unique PAR projects, this symposium aims to generate advancements in social work PAR practice with a focus on achieving effective relationships for collaborative knowledge production and social justice action.