Using and evaluating different forms of engaged scholarship to explore emotional sense-making in small firms

This project explores how researchers and practitioners can work together to develop knowledge, to address how small business owners make sense of their emotional experiences when they are required to change their business practices. Emotional responses have been found to have a major impact in enabling or obstructing change, yet this is often overlooked in practice and in small firms. For this study we focus on small firms operating in the food supply chain, characterisedby a dominance of change practices initiated by multinational corporations, regulators and policy in order to build more sustainable food supply chains.  Improving our understanding of emotional responses to external changes will enable a better understanding of how to deliver the transformations required to produce safe and sustainable food.  We will engage with a minimum of 10 small food and 10 small farming enterprises to explore these emotional responses.We experiment with different forms of research methods and engagement to collect and disseminate research data in order to evaluate their effectiveness.  These methods include participatory workshops, graphic design visualisation, dramaturgy and reflective storytelling.  Alongside these approaches we also engage in more conventional research methods such as a literature review and presenting our findings in a written report.  Through the experimental use of different forms of engaged research methods we will evaluate the value of researcher-small business interactions in delivering impact on practice.

Developing a collaborative space to challenge gendered structural issues in entrepreneuring in the North East of England.  

There is a clear need for a more sophisticated co-ordination between public and educational figures to engage with practitioners (entrepreneurs and business support providers) to develop collaborative communities which drive economic vibrancy in the UK.  This is particularly relevant for the North East of England where there is gap particularly in relation to gender and other categories of social difference in entrepreneurship. The project seeks to address this gap by exploring the challenges and opportunities in developing a collaborative space which brings together researchers, policy makers and practitioners to advance issues of gender in entrepreneurship in the North East of England. The project will also create a collaborative space throughout its duration which will culminate in a clear place for a community of practice beyond the projects lifespan – GENE (Gender and Entrepreneurship North East).  GENE will enable the transfer of knowledge to enable research to inform practice and practice to inform research specifically focused on issues of gender and other categories of social difference promoting intersectional appreciation in entrepreneurship. The project itself is a collaborative space as Newcastle University Business School, International Consultants for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise, and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership work together to develop a regionally rooted space and place which collaborates with the national agenda and has a global reach.