Shaping and learning from the research and evaluation community. Our role in the Social Research Association.
As a Charity, The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (TIHR) places great value on dissemination and connecting with the wider research and evaluation community; to reflect, learn from and teach others. TIHR staff help to achieve a culture of collaboration and participation by taking up organisational, council or advisory roles in a number of external organisations, such as the UK Evaluation Society and the Social Research Association (SRA).
Olivia Joyner reflects on her role on the SRA’s Events Committee:
As a Researcher and Consultant, I was supported by TIHR to join the SRA’s Events Committee in summer 2009, helping to design and organise SRA conferences and seminars. I have brought to this role my knowledge of partnership working and understanding of group dynamics through undertaking evaluations of organisations, facilitating action learning sets and consultancy projects at TIHR. For example, I have helped to introduce Theory of Change as a useful and topical research method to the SRA. I have also shaped the SRA 2010 Annual Conference workshops, by encouraging a format which will lead to greater interaction and co production of knowledge between workshop chairs, speakers and participants.
Through this role, I have had the opportunity to meet a wide range of researchers (government, third sector, freelances and private researchers) and learn about their different approaches and values. SRA Event Committee meetings and the events put on; provide an inspiring space to reflect and engage with the range of work the UK research community is undertaking. It also allows for formal and informal dissemination of the TIHR’s work, often producing greater opportunities for collaboration with other organisations. For example, Camilla Child (Principle Researcher and Consultant, TIHR) chaired a Behavioural Change and Action Learning workshop at the SRA Annual Conference on Making a Difference: Social Research in an Era of Austerity, December 2010. This allowed Camilla to introduce our extensive work on Behaviour Change and Action Learning.
The two presentations by NCVO, Involve and Opinion Leader, GFK NOP reflected two key principles of the Institute’s work:
- Individual behaviour can only be fully understood when seen in the context of a wider ‘system’ of relationships that include a number of different social and organisational structures.
- Behaviour of individuals, group and organisations is often influenced by non rational factors (unconscious motivations and pervasive ‘cultural’ norms) which may not be immediately apparent. By taking up external roles supported by TIHR we can learn from others and continue our tradition of teaching and supporting collaboration.