During the Summer School, we spent the week discussing and debating about what is action research, sharing participatory and co-​design methods and various tools, ideas researchers use and adapt to work with people. On the second day, we talked about the academic and societal impact of using action research. The keynote panel on impact and evaluation consisted of the following speakers:

Professor Leon Cruickshank from ImaginationLancaster talked about action research and focus on good research. He spoke about the importance of integrating research parallel to action research.

Professor Tom Inns from Glasgow School of Art talked about taxonomy of a workshop and the importance of role of design in enabling spaces for collaboration

Professor Rachel Cooper OBE from ImaginationLancaster gave us an interesting and stimulating talk about impact in research. She talked about examples of good evidence beyond publications such as evidence of number of people engaged, types of audience, generating new products, workshop, facilitation and so on. She concluded her talk by encouraging everyone to do research with the 4Rs for impactful research: Relevance, Rigour, Revelation and Return.

Madeline Smith from Glasgow School of Art spoke about creative evaluation and why evaluation should be done throughout a project and not just at the end.  She spoke about the significance of elaborating every step we in the project and how to evidence the magic in the middle?

One of my favourite talk was from Professor Eva Brandt, an expert on participatory design from KADK, Denmark. She uses ‘design games’ in her approach to co-​design with communities. Eva gave us fantastic insights on how to create networks to engage with the elderly. She also reinforced that we as researchers should involve people more than once when co-​designing for communities. Her approach puts emphasis on the fact that “organising participation is one of the cornerstones of designing.”

I found Leapfrog’s Summer School really informative, it helped with my Early Carrier Research capabilities and stimulated insightful discussions and debate around action research methods. Summer School also provided a platform to present my research and helped me gather new ideas that will inspire my research.