Participatory research

To make research more inclusive, more democratic, is an important task in societies that are increasingly based on commercialised knowledge production. Opportunities are created and strategies legitimised by research. Therefore, it is crucial that research practices are made accessible to everybody. When research is opened to the many, this opening does not only follow ethical principles but improves the quality of research as such. Even if a research set-up or design is shaped by a single researcher and participation within it will never be completely horizontal. It will still provide opportunities for people to become co-researchers who would usually not be able to participate actively in official research processes. That brings PABR close to approaches and methods of participatory research and action research or its progressions (see Reason/Bradbury 2013), which ask for research as “social action” (Lewin 1946). A contribution of the (performing) arts to these approaches is their expertise in organising participatory processes, which in turn can create models for new types of social action, new structures and new contracts.

Ref: Lewin, Kurt (1946): “Action Research and Minority Problems”, in: Journal of Social Issues 2, 4, 34–46. Available at: [2017-10-10].

Reason, Peter/Bradbury, Hilary (eds) (2013): The Sage Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice. London: Sage.