Community engagement is key to how this project will co-produce knowledge about the patterns of inclusion and exclusion of marginalised urban communities in service provision. Co-production explicitly acknowledges that it is the collaboration between researchers and individuals/communities that produces the data and evidence generated through the research process.
This project, which takes an action-research approach, is grounded in participatory methodologies and human rights. Researchers and urban community members will co-design interventions in specific infrastructure services that meet the needs of the urban communities themselves. Through interviews with residents and focus-group discussions, researchers will work collaboratively with local residents and organisations to co-produce knowledge that supports greater inclusion in service provision.
Interviews with residents, which follow the initial survey, will be designed as open dialogues around a core set of issues. A key outcome of the interview process will be the generation of knowledge regarding inclusion and exclusion in relation to service provision. Different ‘tellings’ of individual stories and lived experience may emerge when residents have different audiences, initially that of the researcher, but ultimately wider stakeholders. The narrative path that interviewees take the researchers on can be paths rarely taken, possibly new paths formed through the process of the co-constructed interview.
Focus groups discussions between marginalised urban residents are dialogues facilitated by researchers. A key outcome of the focus group discussions is for meanings, interpretations and understandings to emerge, with members of the community leading each other down narrative paths that are beyond the knowledge of the researcher. Adding to the rich outcomes of focus groups are the different perspectives of community members, the possibility of disagreement and different positions about the same issues coming from grounded experiences. Importantly, focus group discussions may lead to members of the communities learning new things about each other, prompting new ideas and understandings, as well as localised action to improve access to service infrastructure.