Cooperation, collaboration and compromise: learning through difference and diversity

Jere, Catherine M.; Priyadharshini, Esther; Robinson-Pant, Anna; Millora, Chris and Evren, Burcu. 2023. Cooperation, collaboration and compromise: learning through difference and diversity. Educational Action Research, 31(3), pp. 540-555. ISSN 0965-0792 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Multi-institutional and multi-professional research projects are valued for the impact and learning they generate, but their successful completion is crucially dependent on the various actors recognising their differences and working through/with them as a team. This paper is a critical reflection on one such participatory action research project, which involved new migrants and asylum seekers, an NGO, university researchers, and independent trainers in offering intercultural sexual health and gender relations workshops. It charts the course of this project by introducing the key players and focusing on significant differences and opportunities, and the critical learnings that this generated. The paper uses the concept of the ‘paradox lens’ as a way of understanding emerging dilemmas and tensions, and the subsequent compromises, co-operations and collaborations that ensued. In closing, it offers a set of principles generated from reflections on learning that occurred during the project, and which may be amended and adapted for other contexts and action research encounters that hope to engender collaborative learning.

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Additional Information:

The project was funded through the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) held by the University of East Anglia (ES/M500525/1).


Difference/diversity; intercultural learning; participatory action research; paradox lens; multi-organisational projects

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies


10 August 2021Accepted
23 September 2021Published Online

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Date Deposited:

02 Aug 2023 12:59

Last Modified:

21 Aug 2023 10:11

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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