Ongoing Project

The Hull We Want

#thehullwewant is a community partnership project, hosted at the University, which explores the needs of communities aiming to inspire their dreams.

Project summary

The Challenge

#thehullwewant was developed to discuss community action in the age of austerity, identifying individuals' needs and articulating their dreams.

The Approach

The project utilised novel engagement tools including a conversation couch and a wishing washing tree which displayed needs and dreams.

The Outcome

So far it has led to strong partnerships with Humberside Police and Hull City Council, providing them with the needs and dreams of the people of Hull.

Lead researchers

Funded by

Project partners

The Challenge

#thehullwewant was inspired by research project The Society We Want (2015) developed by Barry Knight with Rethinking Poverty (formerly the Webb Memorial Trust). As part of the project, Knight hosted a national event in Hull to discuss community action in the age of austerity.

Dr Gill Hughes with Sarah Hatfield

 

Hull is described as the fourth most deprived city in the UK. #thehullwewant was created following a community partnership event, hosted at the University, which aimed to work with individuals to reimagine their futures by identifying their current needs and articulating their dreams.

It’s often difficult for people to imagine a different way of being when experiencing difficult and complex times – so our aim was to tease out what "good" would look like and explore how that may be achieved using participatory approaches to engagement. Communities often experience being ‘done to’ so we worked with communities to foreground their voices in an attempt to contribute to social change.

The full research team

The Approach

#thehullwewant is a community partnership project, hosted at the University, which explores the needs of communities aiming to inspire their dreams. The project works across new and established communities and generations in the city; including young people, students, partners, service providers and policy/decision-makers. It is built on our research ethos of EmPAR: a combination of emancipatory and participatory research approaches, which seeks to shift power imbalances by foregrounding and valuing the voices of participants as experts in their lived experience.

The project utilised novel engagement tools including a conversation couch and a wishing washing tree which displayed needs and dreams. The tools were unusual but familiar so generated a welcoming atmosphere. This enabled participatory research to take place in the form of storytelling through informal conversations. The asset-based community development aspect enabled us to draw out, recognise and value what is strong not wrong in communities. We identified assets and potential – and, using radical community development, explored issues raised in dialogue.

#thehullwewant approach has inspired culture change; partnering with Hull’s Health and Wellbeing Board to refresh their engagement strategy.

Dr Gill Hughes

Lecturer in Youth Work and Community Development and Education Studies

#thehullwewant project built strong and trusted relationships with participants and partners as part of the process. Building connectedness and collaboration to encourage shared ownership and involvement in decision-making, culture change, social transformation and social justice.

Watch our webinar to find out more about University public engagement

The Impact

The impact of the research is still unfolding. So far it has led to strong partnerships, which has enabled the project to work with – and feed needs and dreams data into – a large number of organisations including the Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner’s office, Hull City Council and Hull Clinical Commissioning Group.

#thehullwewant approach has inspired culture change; partnering with Hull’s Health and Wellbeing Board to refresh their engagement strategy. Building on the grassroots participatory approach, the Health and Wellbeing Board refreshed future priorities and incorporated the project name and ethos to signify their intent https://www.hullccg.nhs.uk/have-your-say/our-communities/the-hull-we-want/

Our joint work continues to explore a city-wide fairness initiative. This will engage with communities to explore the issues that result from experiences of living in poverty.

Next Steps

#thehullwewant is continuing in a number of different ways.

  • The next aim is to explore developments post COVID-19.

  • The project’s approach is adaptable to various other aspects. We are working with the University’s Energy and Environment Institute in relation to climate change – #thehullwewantInClimateChange – and Hull City Council and Living with Water in relation to flooding – #TheFloodResilienceWeWant.

  • We continue to work with our Beats Bus partners in conjunction with Talking Hull, Recycled Teenagers, young people and communities.

  • Dr Hughes is a Co-investigator with University of Sheffield on the 'MAGIC' project on flood adaptation and community flood resilience. 

We are also a part of the University of Hull’s interdisciplinary Risky Cities project.

Associated project publications/outputs

Hughes, G., (2018). Desperately seeking the good society. Local Economy, 33(6), pp.636-654.

Podcast - #thehullwewant as a model for civil society in Russia https://www.rethinkingpoverty.org.uk/rethinking-poverty/the-hullwewant-goes-to-russia/

 Various pages detailing #thehullwewant https://www.rethinkingpoverty.org.uk/topics/thehullwewant/