What we’re up to

We wish to help discover, document, and foster conversation about innovative and progressive practices in fields that work to address human and environmental challenges. We wish to highlight stories of methodological innovation by practitioners, teachers and learners who contribute to change processes in ways that help meaningfully surface and shift problematic patterns of interaction. In sharing these stories, our hope is they might have the opportunity to influence practice more broadly.

Why is this needed?

One: Some practitioners are doing very innovative and “emancipatory” work, but due to lack of reflective practice, documentation and sharing, neither they nor others learn from their rich experiences.

Two: We contend that dominant practice in many fields is highly focused on standardized tools with decontextualized worldviews. Through this conversation we wish to expose ourselves and others to a wider range of practice—including critical and transformational uses of methodology and engagement—to complement what we see as more technical approaches that dominate many practitioner “toolboxes.”

Three: We wish to find and highlight voices of practitioners who engage in their own hybrids of action learning and action research. We feel most AR literature is written from the perspective of enlightened academics, rather than reflective practitioners, and we wish to encourage and further develop practitioner-based AR theory and practice.

Share your knowledge

“Busy” practitioners rarely document their knowledge and learning in the form of polished academic pieces or readily sharable reports. At the same time social media and story-based technologies may offer unique opportunities for capturing more of the critical practitioner’s story. By tapping into these channels we hope to highlight alternative knowledge sources, drawing on story and other artistic, more accessible ways of knowing, learning and engaging.

Please share your videos, blogs, art, creative writing, papers, and other expressions of your “practical” knowledge and learning.  We will offer light editing and moderation to improve consistency throughout the site. See the “Stories” tab for examples of blogs that have already been published.

How to contribute

As an easy way to offer a blog is by responding to the following questions (only those that most resonate with your experience!) directly through this questionnaire (can be accessed here):

Practitioner dilemmas

  • What ethical and practical dilemmas do YOU (and others) as a practitioner face in your field?
  • What ethical and practical dilemmas DO CLIENTS AND/OR COMMUNITIES encounter with (you and other) practitioners in your field?

“Ideal practitioner” competencies, methodologies and approaches

  • What competencies, methodologies and approaches are needed to address these dilemmas?
  • What are the most important practices and competencies of a practitioner in your field? What is your image of an “ideal” practitioner in your field?
  • What challenges does such an “ideal” practitioner face in trying to live up to that ideal in the real world? How have you personally navigated these issues?

Examples of transformative practice & action learning

  • What is transformative practice in your field (provide examples)?
  • Do you have specific examples of action learning or action research that you feel have been promising?

Education and formation of practitioners

  • In what ways, if any, has your formal education or training helped you engage with and navigate the dilemmas you have faced in your field?
  • In what ways, if any, has your formal education or training been particularly lacking in preparing you to face these dilemmas?
  • What questions should we be asking that we are not?

Through this simple questionnaire we ask you to share your knowledge about your own practice, successes and dilemmas you face in your field.  We will use your responses to initiate a straightforward dialogue with you that will produce a blog post to be posted on this site and re-posted through the AR+ blog.  We also invite you to post on your own personal blog if you have one.

Please go to the questionnaire to respond to the questions that most resonate with you.  If you have additional questions or comments, please email Alfredo Ortiz (aortiz@miis.edu) or Kent Glenzer (kglenzer@miis.edu)  Thanks!

This initiative is in partnership with the Action Research Journal (ARJ) and the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS)