On 17 and 18 March Eurodiaconia organised a Working Group Meeting on Research and Practice in Diaconia in cooperation with the DWI (Institute for the Study of Christian Social Service) of the University of Heidelberg in Germany. The agenda setting of this exploratory meeting, the first of this kind in our network, was a joint effort by representatives of Eurodiaconia, the DWI, City Mission Oslo, Norway School of Theology and DIAK in Finland. The Working Group meeting brought together members of Eurodiaconia and researchers with the aim to promote an equal dialogue between research and practice of which service users are an integral part of.
One of the main themes of this event was research and practice in diaconia as tripartite collaboration. Participants drew up this triangle to visualise the relationship between researchers, practitioners and service users and discussed how research can be organised and conducted to facilitate and promote action as well as participation. This discussion was followed by concrete examples of research projects that have an element of practitioner and/or user participation.
As this meeting was of an exploratory manner, there was a lot of room for discussion to map out the future of this working group. A report from the meeting will be published soon with the results of these discussions. Also, participants agreed to establish the working group in the framework of ReDi (the International Society for the Research and Study of Diaconia and Christian Social Practice), providing it with space for communication on the ReDi website (which will be developed in the coming weeks) and space for discussion at the next ReDi conference, taking place in September 2016.
The meeting report is available here.