Southwest Folklife Alliance Applies Folklife to Participatory Action Research

News from the Field

The Southwest Folklife Alliance has partnered with the Surdna Foundation, the Highlander Research and Education Center and the Othering & Belonging Institute to deliver Participatory Action Research training to Black Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) researchers working in their own communities around the USA and in the U.S. Mexico border corridor. Together, our work is part of the Surdna Foundation’s Thriving Cultures program aimed to invest in researchers of color to interpret and disseminate knowledge about the work of artists and to build more equitable research infrastructures. 

Participatory Action Research (PAR) challenges the idea that only academics or trained professionals can do research. It recognizes that people whose lives are most affected by inequities, barriers, and problems already hold deep knowledge through their own lived experience. Information is power, and through PAR, everyday people can learn to reflect on, investigate, share, and analyze their own situation to produce accurate information. That information can then inform collaboration action to create lasting solutions and change.

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