The Common Cause Networks emerged from the Common Cause Research Project, which has produced evidence suggesting that organisations and individuals from Black and Minority Ethnic communities are under-represented in University-Community partnerships and that where such partnerships are formed, the experiences are not always productive or conducive to drawing on the knowledge and expertise of all participants on an equal basis. The research also suggested the need from Black and Minority Ethnic groups and organisations to be supported in the development of their own projects rather than seeing their work and knowledge being extracted or drawn upon by academic institutions. This is what Runnymede aims to do by setting up The Common Cause Networks, which will provide a space for Black and Minority Ethnic individuals or groups leading their own projects to share their experience and access support. This is also a pilot project that will assess what is needed and necessary to put in place in the future to foster agency of local BME communities, and what support to local BME groups and initiatives can and should look like.
This network is for you whether you are active or want to become active, working at the many tasks it takes to realise a project or idea. It is open to all BME individuals and BME-led groups and organisations (including those that define themselves as People of Colour) working in all sectors - arts, media, creative industries, heritage, business, academia, health, social issues and community development.
The research and development stage of any new venture can be frustrating, demoralising and unpredictable. Common Cause Networks thus offers a safe way to test your thinking, present your ideas and activate your plans with peers who will both challenge and support you. For example, you may be writing a proposal, shaping a new service, developing a budget, seeking funding, working in a collaboration, researching content, formulating a legal entity, re-activating an old idea, innovating an arts practice or writing a business plan: whatever your 'next step' is, this network aims to help you define that 'next step' and support you while you complete it, and then the next step, and so on.
In collaboration with a number of partners, Runnymede has launched a briefing for our Common Cause Project, which addresses the underlying issues at stake in University and BME community partnerships, with advice and guidance for those considering such collaborations in the future. Download the briefing.
Partners include: University of Bristol, University of Liverpool, University of Bristol, Xtend consultancy, the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Arts Council England.