Evaluation Exchange: Kentish Town City Farm
12 January 2022
The Evaluation Exchange is a partnership between UCL and voluntary and community sector organisations in Camden and East London that aims to improve evaluation practice. This blog looks at the work done in collaboration with Kentish Town City Farm.
Authors: Natasha Hawley, Kirsty Alexander, Amanda Clery and Sarah Raquq
Every Monday, we have our virtual check in between UCL researchers and our partnered charity, Kentish Town City Farm. Ideas are bounced back and fourth, actions are processed and new plans are made.
With such a fast-moving project life cycle, we didn't want to miss a beat and from the beginning, that meant quickly establishing our roles and responsibilities.
Kirsty works as a postdoctoral Research Fellow at the department of medical education. Her research looks at how doctors are selected and trained, and the decisions they make about specialty (e.g. GP, pediatrics, psychiatry). Kirsty was attracted to the Evaluation Exchange because of it’s authentic commitment to co-production. In our project, her work focuses on data analysis and reporting. She is particularly interested in developing her skills around communicating with the public and external audiences in an accessible and exciting way.
Amanda is a PhD student at the Institute of Child Health researching health visiting. Amanda is particularly interested in public engagement and is pleased to use her experience and interests to lead on stakeholder engagement. Working with community project partners is key to understanding the setting into which we are introducing ourselves as researchers. Learning about the farm and what the staff spend their time doing is a really important aspect of the project.
Sarah is also PhD student at the Institute of Child Health working on research involving children with neuromuscular diseases at the Great Ormond Street Hospital. Even though she specialises in clinical research and often spends her days seeing patients on the wards, she enjoys creating infographics, leaflets, and posters for both the medical community and the general population. With a keen eye for illustrations, Sarah is responsible for creating the design portfolio. With influence from the farm’s younger audience, Sarah’s visual engagement methods will be central to engaging with and ultimately evaluating elements of the project.
Tash is a part-time MA student at the Institute of Education. She also works in Business Development for an autism charity growing and developing new schools across London. To establish a baseline and fully evaluate key areas of the project, Tash is responsible for data collection. Her experience working on large scale projects also means Tash has the administration skills to act as project manager, devising timelines, writing up notes and following up actions with the team. Designing user-focussed services is an additional interest for Tash, so working to develop engagement methods that are desirable, as well as meet the need, is important.
We are four researchers with different experiences and expertise. Yet, all of us recognise the additional role that our external stakeholders play within our project. Working collaboratively with Kentish Town City Farm, their staff and their audience is the additional and undeniable intention of our work as researchers.