Four practices for conducting feminist participatory action research

In the photo, clockwise from top right, are Alona, Nur, Lior, and Bat El, members of the Alibi action research group. A few moments before starting the one-day conference we organized for social workers, Nur took the selfie (or is it a groupie?). Missing from the photo is Yael, who was abroad at the time. Nur explains:

“We were standing outside the conference hall at Ben Gurion University, in Israel. More than 50 social workers were waiting in the conference hall, to hear Alona, Bat El, and Lior talk about the practice of social work with girls and young women. The lectures were all based on the knowledge of 25 young women, who had shared their life experiences with us in interviews. Each of the Alibi action research group members chose to speak about one issue central to her.

Bat El talked about using parts of the social worker’s life story in therapy with girls and young women—”the personal is the professional”—with her lecture addressing different ways of doing this.

Yael spoke about “transparent reports,” the participation of girls and young women in writing the social reports concerning their lives. Her lecture discussed different ways achieving this.

Alona talked about the importance of “getting out” of the social work department; out of the office and to where the girls and young women are, as “social workers of the outside.” Her lecture discussed the different ways that social workers could reach this objective.

And Lior talked about hope; on the importance of hope in working with girls and young women, and on paying attention to the power of hopelessness to adversely affect them. “Hope, don’t give up on us!” Lior’s lecture presented a number of ways of preserving hope in the social work relationship.

After the lectures, the Alibi Action Research Group members facilitated a number of discussion groups with the participating social workers across a number of key topics.”

The one-day conference is part of proliferating some of the insights of their participatory action research, which will is presented in their published article with ARJ. The article defines and describes four research practices for conducting Feminist Participatory Action Research with young women. Read it here – or find it available at https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/14767503211036489

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