Go back

Participatory and Designerly Strategies for Sociolegal Research Impact: Lessons from Research Aimed at Making Hate Crime Visible


Read the paper written by the Senior Researcher of Facing All the Facts, Joanna Perry together with Amanda Perry-Kessaris.


This paper draws the attention of impact-curious sociolegal researchers to the potential of participatory research strategies both to improve the relevance and rigour of research, and to generate meaningful sociolegal change; and it proposes that participatory strategies can be enhanced by the introduction of knowledge, attitudes and skills from design research, in particular the ‘designerly way’ of ‘making things visible and tangible’. It explores and evidences these claims through the example of a ground-breaking multi-country study, Facing All the Facts, which was conducted on behalf of a diverse partnership of public authorities and civil society organisations to answer a pressing policy question: How can we understand the national implementation of international standards around hate crime reporting and recording, and influence civil society organisations and public authorities to see themselves as part of a victim-centred system, so that hate crime begins to become more visible in Europe?

The paper first introduces the theoretical and policy-related rationale underpinning the traditional (desk-based analysis, interviews), participatory (consultation, workshops) and designerly (making things visible in artefacts and processes) components of the Facing All the Facts project methodology; then details its implementation and evaluates its effectiveness from the perspectives of both the researchers and the participant publics/stakeholders. It concludes that it by combining traditional, participatory and designerly strategies the productive involvement of disparate publics/stakeholders in the research process can be secured; and that this can improve the chances of generating meaningful change (‘impact’) by generating structured-yet-free spaces in which attention focuses — in practical, critical and imaginative ways — on the intersections between the actual and the potential.

Keywords: Hate crime, participatory research, participatory design, legal design, socio-legal research methods, Facing All the Facts project