The 'Starting from Values' project was one of seven projects funded to investigate the legacy of projects funded under the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Connected Communities strand.
The main project strand brought together partners from two Connected Communities groups: The Authority Research Network and Scaling Up Co-Design. The aim was to co-develop creative ways of identifying, evaluating and enhancing intangible, values-related aspects of project legacies.
The second strand of work involved taking the co-developed approach and learning from the first phase to a further six Connected Communities projects. In so doing, the project planned to find new ways of lending legitimacy and authority to previously unheard or less ‘tangible’ legacies of Connected Communities projects, and contribute to wider questions on shared values, authority and legacies in collaborative research projects.
Co-investigators from academic and community partners were be responsible for the second phase of the work, facilitating project partners to become (vernacular) designers of values-focused evaluation systems – embedding the ethos of ‘scaling up’ and capacity-building within the project.
The question of legacy is closely connected to the values of different stakeholders, yet these values are rarely discussed openly, and many are not considered measurable in tangible ways. As a result, traditional evaluations tend to reflect the values of donors or governments, and what can be easily measured, rather than considering what project partners may be striving to achieve.
Project partners include community and academic investigators with experience or an interest in values dimensions of collaborative research projects, a desire to understand and capture related legacies, and expertise in the areas of values-based indicator development, authority research and the role of arts-based methods in understanding different ‘ways of knowing’.