Academic-Practitioner Collaboration

Wednesday, August 23, 2017 - 10:00 to 15:45

Michael Young Building,
The Open University,
Milton Keynes,

In many fields, practitioners are increasingly expected to make use of academic research, as part of the evidence-based practice movement. For their part, academics are increasingly interested in research which ahs an impact on policy and practice. How are these different interests brought together in academic-practitioner collaboration?

This workshop draws on academics from the UK and Australia who have developed successful ways of working with practitioners to achieve both high quality academic research (beneficial to universities) and also research evidence which is useful to policy and practice (beneficial to collaborating practitioner organisations). What are there reflections on how this is achieved, where has it gone wrong, and what are the lessons for academic-practitioner collaborations?

The workshop will explore reflections and evidence with practitioners, testing out the ideas and whether they are useful in other collaborations. There will be time for exploration and discussion.

We are very pleased that Professor Deborah Blackman, of the University of New South Wales, visited The Open University and presented her research on organisational change and improvement in Australian public services. Her article in Public Administration Review on this work won an award in 2016.

In addition, we were delighted to have a presentation from Professor Adam Crawford, from the University of Leeds, who is founder and Director of the N8 group universities working with police forces. Adam has recently published a book chapter about whether and how collaboration serves evidence-based policing.

Professor Jean Hartley, Executive Director of the OU's Centre for Policing Research and Learning (CPRL), reflected on collaborative structures and processes to achieve valuable outcomes, drawing on her earlier work with local government, and more recently with the 18 police forces which are partners in CPRL.

This event was of interest to both practitioners and academics. Practitioners are likely to be involved in collaborations themselves or interested in joining such partnerships, and/or may be involved in organisation development, evidence-based practice, improvement science, and research roles. Academics are likely to have an interest in "Mode 2" research, which draws on the expertise of both practitioners and academics to try to improve organisations and society.

This event was free to all who work in public services and to OU academics.