Hi All Student Research

Pasted here are 2 documents from a project being run by Rowen Jackson.

Attendance on the 24th would be good to give a wide range of input..

David G


Transition Tynedale Blog Proposal Document


I am an undergraduate student currently studying for a degree in Geography at Lancaster University and my research concerns community environmental groups and their participants signifying practices and narratives concerning their appraisal and knowledge of the environment. For the completion of my research project I require participants in Transition Tynedale proceedings, or with an active interest in the environment. The methodology for the completion of this project therefore invites people to participate in a group discussion/interview to discuss the group understanding of the environment and ecological problems, and therein, the inspirations for action as a group and community.

It would be great to get as many people as possible for this initial focus group which should allow collective learning between group members as well as involvement in my on-going research project. And the focus group will aim to cover: growth of Transition Tynedale and the reasons for individuals joining the group; current projects and their aims; group dynamics (structure of the group); what does the group mean to its members?; and further discussion.


This initial discussion will take place in the forum cinema café from 7 – 8:30 on the 24th of July. Thereafter the individual (informal) interviews will take place for those who are interested in discussing their story with the group and their perception of the environment around them. These are completely flexible as to where and when they will take place.

If you have any further questions on this project don’t hesitate to contact me on any of my details below. Any interest is most welcome and gratefully received.

I am most grateful for everyone’s participation in my research and I hope that this will provide valuable learning for all those taking part.

Rowan Jackson   (Lancaster University)

Telephone: 07807753217

Email(s): rowan.c.jackson@googlemail.com


Dissertation summary and timescales: Working with Transition Tynedale

Summary of research project:

Since the 1970s there has been a widespread growth in environmental awareness in reaction to our unsustainable lifestyles. From this community environmental groups have gained significant growth, particularly within the past decade. For this reason a key question is how do we come to develop environmental awareness? And is this related to our relation and perception of ‘place’ (this is to say, does our locality and the submergence in the environment around us inform our environmental awareness)? Furthermore, how do our perceptions of the environment change through the mediation and conglomeration of new knowledge and relations with others? Henceforth, I will be conducting my research with Transition Tynedale in order to analyse the perceptions of individuals and thereafter the political association (‘political nature’) with the environment and local actors leading to environmental action.

I short the project covers:

  1. How the individuals within a community environmental group understand or perceive the environment, and whether this is related to the place they live in.
  2. How the group acts as a mediator of knowledge of the environment, and how this leads to action.
  3. How these perceptions of the environment lead to actions from the group. How does politics affect this process?

Thus, I intend to piece together how ‘frameworks of understanding’ of the environment are formed. This quote illustrates this point:

Dying forests do not contain in themselves the reason for the public attention and concern they receive. The fact that they do receive this attention at a specific place and time cannot be deduced from a natural-scientific analysis of its urgency, but from the symbols and experiences that govern the way people think and act. (Hajer and Versteeg, 2005: 176)

I therefore focus upon the symbols and experiences that govern the way people think (knowledge) and act (seek to take action within the group).

Methods employed:

In order to complete my methodology I am looking to run a sandwich shaped methodology. This will consist of: firstly, a group interview (>10) where we will discuss how Transition Tynedale functions as a group and what the group’s vision is, etcetera; Secondly, semi-structured interviews (individual informal format interviews) where individuals will discuss their personal understandings of the environment through ‘world views’, and from this we can discuss how these discourses lead to a course of action (individually and within the group); and thirdly, a focus group with photohistory (this is a method used in order to discuss personal accounts of what the environment means through a photo taken of a place of significance – holding symbolic or empathic significance to the individual).

Dates and Timescales:

I am looking to have all of my results collated and interpreted by October, and would therefore like to have finished all of my interviews and focus group interviews by September.

I would like to run the first focus group for this research on Wednesday the 24th of July. Thereafter, semi-structured interviews on this subject will be run in order to build upon the focus group (occurring wherever is most comfortable or convenient).  I will then run a final focus group with photohistory – where individuals are invited to use photographs in order to present their understanding of the environment and then discuss it with the group; this should facilitate discussion about what the environment is and how people within the group understand the environment. This will take place (provisionally) on the 28th of August.

Focus group 1: 24th July Forum Cinema Semi-structured interviews: any time after focus group 1. Time and place open to suggestion of interviewee. Focus group with photohistory: 28th August (provisional date).

I am most grateful for everyone’s participation in my research and I hope that this will provide valuable learning for all those taking part.

Rowan Jackson   (Lancaster University)

Telephone: 07807753217

Email(s): rowan.c.jackson@googlemail.com


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