Co-producing immigrant integration services during challenging times
As a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Immigration Research Initiative at Concordia University, I am undertaking research on the adaptation of immigrant integration services provided by non-profit organizations in Montreal, Quebec and Glasgow, Scotland during the COVID-19 crisis. The research considers how non-profits are changing their services (moving online, cancelling events and activities, changing the way they work with service users), the challenges they are currently facing during the pandemic, and the ways in which the co-production of services with service users is challenged and modified.
My postdoctoral research project (2018-2019) with the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Montreal studied the co-creation of community development projects in two neighbourhoods in Montreal, Quebec. This research built upon my PhD research in England and France to develop a three context comparative study. Montreal was selected as a comparator to Sheffield and Lyon because of the unique intersection it represents between the English and French experiences (i.e. the English sense of community versus the French universalistic notion of solidarity and citizenship), allowing me to interrogate the broader applicability of the model of institutional logics and co-production that I developed through my doctoral work.
Co-production and sustainability: How do co-production projects evolve over time?
Funded by a Small Research Grant from the American Political Science Association, this research project aims to investigate the continuity and change of co-production, and the factors that facilitate the long-term sustainability of co-production projects over time. I am returning to two case studies in Sheffield, England, that I initially studied in 2015-2016 for my doctoral research – a project to reduce older people’s loneliness, and a parents’ group project. By undertaking longitudinal case studies, the project will address gaps in the co-production literature regarding strategies used to ensure that co-production endures in the face of environmental turbulence, changes in funding, participant turnover and/or policy shifts. The research will therefore provide a practical contribution for public servants and other practitioners hoping to better involve citizens and engage in collaborative efforts that endure over time.
My thesis explores co-production between citizens and third sector professionals (in community regeneration, parents’ organizations, and older people’s services) in Sheffield, England and Lyon, France. I employ an analytical framework of institutional logics to explore how the rules, practices and narratives of the organizations are specific to their contexts and how these shape co-production practices. The study finds that while the Sheffield organizations are characterized by an assimilation of the state, community and market logics, the Lyon organizations demonstrate a blend of a ‘Napoleonic state’ logic, and a ‘local solidarity’ logic. These combinations of logics illuminate two approaches to co-production. In France, co-production is informed by notions of citizenship, solidarity and participative democracy, leading to a greater focus on citizen involvement in organizational governance and influence of rules as an enabler and constraint to co-production. In Sheffield, co-production is seen as a way to improve communities, services and outcomes, and we therefore see more pragmatic attention to co-design and co-delivery activities.
Quebec researcher, International Labour Organization (2018-2019)
The project considers the following questions:
What elements (actors, the relationships, etc.) make up an innovative social and solidarity economy (SSE) ecosystem?
What are the specificities of the SSE that require distinct and dedicated financial mechanisms?
What financial mechanisms exist within these ecosystems that allow the SSE organizations and enterprises to grow and innovate? What conditions are required for these ecosystems to be fully effective?
The final report from this project can be downloaded here.
Research Assistant, Middlesex University (2012 – 2014)
There is growing interest in the role of social enterprise and mutual spin outs from the public sector, where staff leave the public sector to set up their own staff and user owned organisation. By looking at ‘mutual spin outs’ this two year project was able to see how innovation occurs and what effect there is on services and staff. Encouraging mutuals is a key feature of the Government’s public service reform agenda, although little is known about the potential new services and ways of doing things that may emerge. Research focused on the health and social care sector and compared recently set up spin-outs with similar more established organisations in the leisure sector, a sector which went through major reform in the 1990s.