Over the last two years, I have expanded my research interest to pedagogy, co-operation, narratives and embodiment. This has developed from 2017 when I turned my attention to transformative and co-operative education based on my experiences with u.lab and working with colleagues from the Co-operative University Project. In 2018-2019, with Keira Oliver, I explored the impact of MIT’s and the Presencing Institute’s MOOC, ‘u.lab’ in Scotland. In the summer of 2019 I attend the u.lab research summer school (more details can be found in the RECAST zine). My priority now though is to focus on the work of the ‘hand’ (using CHE’s / Geddes approach of ‘head’, ‘heart’ and ‘hand’) and combining this with deep forms of observing, reflecting and knowing.
Historically, my research has been measuring and modelling community sustainability in rural Scotland and identifying barriers to and opportunities for future sustainability. This detailed knowledge has given me the confidence to develop my thinking and realise the importance of transformation. Transformation is a more radical form of many interpretations of sustainable development.
To aid in the transformation of rural communities, I focused on the interconnections between people, place, government, society, institutions, power and modes of production and consumption. Being an active participant in community transformation, building capacity and co-creating strategic futures is central to my approach. Critical reflection and mutual shared learning are fundamental to the way in which I practice.
My motivation is wanting Scotland to thrive in the future by creating sustainable communities – for research projects to succeed the research has to benefit communities; reflect the values and aspirations of those most needing change; and create transformative action.