Collaborative research offers an opportunity to access experiential knowledge, rooted in a process that aims to move beyond traditional research relationships and boundaries. Collaborative research does not equate to change in the power differential; nonetheless, it has the potential for establishing ethical relationships and is conducive to those involved to work together to support ‘change’ (Liampottong and Rumbold 2008). Working in this way aids in understanding and advancing ideas for change, grounded in the views and experiences of all involved. In this paper we share our experiences of carrying out two collaborative land-based prison-based evaluations. These programmes, delivered by third sector organisations (TSO), have differed in relation to focus, approach, timescale and the specific groups targeted within the prison population. This work highlights how working collaboratively lends itself to a way of engaging, through building a range of relationships with key stakeholders, prisoners, prison staff, and practitioners, a channel to ‘knowing differently’ and potential for creating humanising spaces within the prison environment. This paper details the rewards, tensions and challenges we have encountered when carrying out land-based studies, illuminating additional dimensions for consideration when adopting this approach.
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- Collaborative research
- participatory methods