Tips for Community Members working with Academics

Back to Key Questions for Researchers & Communities

Author: Sharon Irish, University of Illinois Urbana-Champagne, for Productive Margins, 2014

  1. Believe in yourself
  2. Speak from your heart
  3. Focus on your goal, not your ego
  4. Community change is not a sprint
  5. Expect the unexpected
  6. Emotions and bodily responses are part of the work
  7. Truth is not the same for everyone
  8. Varied perspectives are crucial: listen and look closely
  9. Don’t wait for the money
  10. ‘Experts on tap, not on top’
  11. Be dogged, but not inflexible
  12. Avoid politics and religion if they slow you down
  13. If you don’t ask, you don’t find out
  14. Tell stories with images and/or words
  15. When you put your head above the parapet, be ready for attacks
  16. Having a physical location matters
  17. Work across generations
  18. Sometimes you must make your own rules
  19. Thank your friends and family
  20. Renew: breathe, laugh, sleep, exercise
  1. *based on interviews with women activists in Knowle West, Bristol, 2014