The ivory tower and beyond: Bradford University at the heart of its communities (PLA 58)

Journal (part) article
PDF (50.3 KB)
Published: June 2008
Participatory Learning and Action
Product code:G02863
Source publication:
Participatory Learning and Action 58 Towards empowered participation: stories and reflections

Guest editors: Tom Wakeford and Jasber Singh. To read the full table of contents please click on ‘More information’ above.

To foster community engagement in their academic institution in the UK, the authors have designed a novel way of measuring and evaluating how Bradford University could effectively work with its communities and assess the ongoing impact of this work. The tool is based on an assumption that community engagement involves building partnerships and share objectives based on mutually recognised and valued community and university competences. The qualitative measurement tool is based on four principles: Reciprocity, Externality, Access and Partnership (REAP). The authors argue that University community engagement should encompass both a willingness to make academic knowledge and expertise available to the communities of Bradford and the recognition that academics can themselves benefit in their research and teaching from the knowledge and experience of the communities around them. By looking ‘beyond the ivory tower’, universities can help to building a learning- and knowledge-based society for the many, not just the few, and so contribute to the development of more cohesive, equitable and democratic local communities.

Keywords: citizens juries, participatory budgeting, grassroots participation, gender, community activism.

Participatory Learning and Action (PLA, formerly PLA Notes) is the world's leading series on participatory learning and action approaches and methods. PLA publishes articles on participation aimed at practitioners, researchers, academics and activists. All articles are peer-reviewed by an international editorial board. See:

Cite this publication

Pearce, J., Pearson, M. and Cameron, S. (2008). The ivory tower and beyond: Bradford University at the heart of its communities (PLA 58). .
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