Changing perspectives on our research

– By Emma Palmer-Cooper

The aim of the project has always been to involve the public in designing research, but we honestly did not expect to get such a positive and enthusiastic reaction to our idea. What we also did not expect, perhaps rather naïvely, was the sheer volume of ideas and directions in which this project can be taken.

After the Tea Party in March, Anne and I sat down to discuss what our next steps were, and one of the event feedback comments came to mind:

‘I am fascinated to see how you will narrow the questions down to answer.’

As it turns out, so are we.

Whilst our core idea, understanding the benefits of crafting on wellbeing, is still firmly at the centre of our future work, the ways of addressing this are vast, and it has taken a lot of consideration to decide where to start. We are so encouraged by all the ideas received so far that we have decided to scale back our initial ambitions and get back to basics.

As we laid out in the Tea Party event,  we need to see what evidence is already available. A recent publication by Knit for Peace has already done this, so we need a slightly different approach to our systematic review. At the Tea Party some key ‘outcomes’, aspects of wellbeing that were of particular importance and interest to our attendees, were developed, which will now be the basis of our evidence review. We will be using these outcomes to group studies, and help us understand where there are gaps in knowledge, and so what our priorities should be for future work.

We also realise we need to know a lot more about what people think when they craft, so before moving to experimental studies we are hoping to run some more in-depth qualitative studies, where we will speak to people about their experiences.

We have also been given the fantastic opportunity to work with the Pitt Rivers Museum. They have invited us to their annual Pitt Fest, to hold a Knitting Circle and talk to the public about our research ideas. Feel free to come along on the 23rd June and say ‘Hi!’ We are very excited about this collaboration, which aims to run a research project alongside a craft event with people from a wide range of local communities. We will have more news on this later in the year.

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