Participatory Action Research Maps

“Participatory Action Research is a framework for creating knowledge that is rooted in the belief that those most impacted by research should take the lead in framing the questions, design, methods, analysis and determining what products and actions might be the most useful in effecting change.”

-- María Elena Torre

During a course on Participatory Action Research offered by CoLab at MIT DUSP this past fall, students were invited to design, in groups, their own PAR Maps: a product that captured each groups’ best thinking about the assumptions, commitments, methods, and outstanding questions that guide/trouble best PAR practices. Based on María Elena Torre’s PAR Map of 2009, students came up with intellectually comprehensive and visually attractive proposals that they found useful for their own practice with communities:

Growing your Participatory Action Practice
Developed by Hannah Diaz, Xio Álvarez, and Samra Lakew, this built on the idea of PAR being an “iterative, generative, and multiplicative method of approaching social change.”

Subway map
Lafayette Cruise, Szabolcs Kiss, and Carrie Watkins designed this PAR map as an actual locating all the stations between system failure and system change that community processes need to go through.

PAR Wave
Jay Dev, Jill Kronberg and Maia Woluchem compared the PAR process to an endless sequence of waves, with every new wave starting with the definition of the problem and finishing with a process of reflection and evaluation before addressing the next challenge.

Additional Maps:
PAR Ecology Map
PAR Cycle
PAR Dance

All Maps are available for download. They can be used as a reference in your own engagement process with communities addressing social change.