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Learning Through Building: Participatory action research and the production of housing

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Julia Heslop



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Routledge, 2021.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


This paper examines potentials for using the philosophies and practices of participatory action research (PAR) within the production of housing. Drawing on findings from a collaborative build project, working with a group in housing need in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, the paper explores the added social and educational value that processes of collaborative design and making can offer those that might be socially and spatially isolated. The paper argues that participation in housing is often colonised by those that have existing social, economic or knowledge capital and therefore bringing PAR into conversation with housing offers some unique opportunities, and also challenges, that other forms of collaborative housing may not. In assessing these opportunities the paper focuses on the mechanics of participation, including ethics, processes of learning through making, power, care and the potential for personal and collective transformation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Heslop J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Housing Studies

Year: 2021

Volume: 36

Issue: 6

Pages: 906-934

Online publication date: 18/03/2020

Acceptance date: 13/02/2020

Date deposited: 18/03/2020

ISSN (print): 0267-3037

ISSN (electronic): 1466-1810

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/02673037.2020.1732880


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