In September, a PhD student Benita Bobo and her supervisor, Prof. Jacqui Akhurst, presented papers at two separate conferences in Brighton, UK
The first conference at the University of Sussex (8 - 10 September) was the annual event of the Conflict Research Society, with the theme: ‘Rethinking Conflict Research and Practice in a Post-Liberal World'. Jacqui presented a paper entitled ‘An action research-based intervention to tackle inter-group conflict: A case study from a South African secondary school’, which was in a session on ‘Education and Peacebuilding’. This followed a paper on the utility of Action Research with youth working on alternatives to conflict in Colombia; and in combination the papers led to lively discussion amongst participants.
The second conference (12-13 September) was the annual British Psychological Society’s Community Psychology Festival hosted by the University of Brighton. The conference was themed 'Critical Optimism in an Age of Austerity' and at this event, Benita presented "Okokuqala ngokuya ndandiqala kwakungekho easy": Feeling empowered to take collective action through community engagement. Her talk included a video based upon digital storytelling by community partners. This was warmly received by the audience and prompted interesting comments and questions. The conference also included 'walk and talk' photovoice sessions, where we met a man from Ghana who has organized the recycling of plastic bags to make lovely African baskets. We are grateful to the Research Office for funding our attendance at these events, which will result in two publications.