Since March 2020 we have applied a range of hybrid approaches to carry out research ‘at a distance’, blending digital and analogue tools to connect with people and communities in dispersed contexts and to foster synchronous and asynchronous participation. To support the development of a ‘companion’ workbook to creatively engage with communities across Scotland and reimagine public policy around decision-making and empowerment in the Social Studios research project, we designed a Typology for Distributed Research Engagement.
The typology has been shared with postgraduate Design Innovation and research students across GSA and with practitioners and organisations such as Policy Lab UK. We think its really important for design researchers to reflect upon the hybrid approaches they are applying, articulate a rationale for the choices that they make, and define research methods that are appropriate to the context and community, and aligned to research questions and aims. As part of the Designing Distributed Community Participation project, we will position the typology to share distributed methods, tools, and techniques and support discussions with academic and civic partners around the impact of remote working on community engagement. Through unpacking our practices and processes together, we aim to foreground the skills and capabilities needed to advance sustainable engagement partnerships and develop strategies to address ongoing complex challenges with people and communities.