A key goal of work package 5 of the ENTRUST project has been to establish a cohesive community research environment utilising participatory action research (PAR) techniques that encourage active participant engagement in the project and the issues informing ENTRUSTís intersectional, co-design programme. Creating the creative spaces whereby stakeholders can identify, consider, and then deliberate on, the actions and behaviours that influence their own participation and positionality in the energy system and its current transition was an essential component of this process. Therefore, it was important for the research team to this by implementing a range of iterative, multi-scalar dialogues with participants within each case study community, which in turn informed the engagements in the other communities where applicable.
This report presents ENTRUSTís approach to meeting these conditions, demonstrating how the research team integrated the essential requirement of achieving gender inclusion in the research actions that were conducted, most notably the community-focused workshops. Very often, past female participation in energy-orientated research has been under-represented. Therefore, every effort was made to facilitate, active female-participation resulting in an approximately gender balanced representation across the six case study communities. This in turn co-validated our findings from the engagements and the reciprocal feedback loops set up with the communities themselves. In all the communities, the ENTRUST team demonstrate that we were not interested in an exclusively male (or female) perspective which in turn fostered greater trust between the participants and the research team. Two concurrent objectives that informed our approach focussed on;
Improving individual knowledges of the energy system and how the complex social and environmental networks that comprise it pertain to that individualís lived experience;
And enable participants to imagine and communicate their community energy goals, which in turn go on to feed in to the transition pathways and scenarios developed for WP6.
The report provides an overview of the community and individual stakeholder selection processes that were implemented, along with the suite of collaborative methods deployed across the community engagement programme. A notable innovation in terms of research engagement has been the deployment of deliberative mini-publics in a number of case study communities, which sought to address key energy-related issues of local concern there. Again, achieving gender inclusivity was of crucial importance to this strand of the engagement process and were a strong factor influencing what were very successful encounters.