The increasing relevance of European rural young people in policy agendas: Contributions from community psychology

Webinar with Francisco Simões, 19 December 2022, 5PM (CET).

With contributions from Elena Marta, Cinzia Albanesi, Nicolas Carr, and Maria Fernandes-Jesus.

Registration link

About the webinar

Our presentation focuses on a central question: how can community psychology contribute to improving rural young people’s prospects? This question is relevant in face of (a) the increasing relevance of rural younger generations in European policy agendas; and (b) the massive societal transformation associated with the dual (digital and green) transition that will also affect rural communities. After briefly introducing the demographic trends of these young people in continental Europe for the past decade, we list the current challenges faced by rural European young generations, as well as the opportunities emerging for them from the twin transition that can inspire the community psychology field. We then contextualize community psychologists’ interventions in this domain according to an ecological-systemic standpoint and by embracing a Participatory Action Research (PAR) perspective on research and practice. We further detail the reasons for adopting a PAR approach in research and practice to address rural young people’s challenges and opportunities. Finally, we highlight four potential intermediation missions to uphold community psychologists’ rural youth development input, based on the adopted theoretical and methodological standpoint. We conclude that our short guide can facilitate community psychology professionals’ complete understanding of rural young generations’ prospects, in line with the expected increase in the need of/demand for rural young people’s participation. Our proposal may also have long-term benefits for rural communities by contributing to the redesigning of intergenerational relationships and securing critical mass.

Picture from Tomasz Filipek

Importantly, this presentation results from a creative session at the 11th European Conference of Community Psychology held in June 2021 and summarizes a paper recently published in the Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology.

Simões, F., Fernandes-Jesus, M., Marta, E., Albanesi, C. & Carr, N. (2022, in press). The increasing relevance of European rural young people in policy agendas: Contributions from community psychology. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1002/casp.2640


About the presenter

Francisco Simões is an Associate Researcher at and Full Member of the Centre for Social Research and Intervention (Cis-Iscte). He is co-coordinator of the thematic line “Promoting Inclusion, Equality and Citizenship” of the SociDigitalLab for Public Policy and co-coordinator of the research group Community, Education, and Development (CED), between 2017 and 2021. He is the chair of COST Action 18213 – Rural NEET Youth Network, funded by the European Commission, through the COST Association (2019-2023) and Principal Investigator (PI) of the project Tr@ck-IN – Public employment services tracking effectiveness in supporting rural NEETs, funded by the Youth Employment Fund (EEA & Norway Grants) (2021-2024). His work focuses on a psychosocial analysis of the school-to-work transition, namely social inclusion, well-being, and access to education and decent jobs for vulnerable young people such as those Not in Employment, nor in Education or Training (NEET). He has also dedicated his work to scientific advice for public policies in these areas, at regional, national and European levels.  He has experience in coordinating scientific teams to implement projects in public institutions, in Portugal. Between 2004 and 2015, he also collaborated with several organizations and projects (Caritas da Ilha Terceira, Câmara Municipal de Angra do Heroísmo; ISCTE-IUL team responsible for supervising schools included in the Priority Territories for Educational Interventions – TEIP program) in the role of an external advisor.

Carolyn Kagan (England)

What attracted you to community psychology?

As a student in 1971-74 a small part of the curriculum was devoted to social psychology. At the time, I was involved in social action groups via Christian Aid (regarding homelessness) and International Voluntary Service (regarding women migrants who did not speak English) and had previously worked with young women caught up in the criminal justice system. The social psychology course addressed none of the issues arising from these experiences. The Tavistock Institute advertised a post for a ‘community psychologist’ and, as chair of our Psychology Society, I invited the contact person to come and speak – the post was really about clinical work in the community – but got a group of us thinking about what a community psychology could be. To my delight in 1976, Mike Bender published a book (Community Psychology, Methuen) which, although somewhat clinical, in which I had no interest, revealed further possibilities for a community psychology. I was a social psychology post graduate (1974-76) during the ‘crisis’ in social psychology and the relevance (or not) of social psychology was being called. Nigel Armistead’s reconstructing Social Psychology (1974) was an important influence as were Hare and Secord’s Explanation of Social Behaviour. In 1979 I spent a year at University New South Wales where I met Sidney Engleberg (a USA-trained, mostly quantitative community psychologist); worked with Alez Carey (a political and industrial psychologist) and gave a public lecture on Psychology of Women (which was in its infancy) – from an all-male department. These factors combined with a growing interest in Latin American politics and encounters with community psychologists from that continent shaped my interest in community psychology.

What makes community psychology special?

A number of things. A concern with social justice; a concern with social change which inevitably means taking a political stance to social issues like inequality, migration, patriarchy, and the economy; working with people about issue that concern them (beyond mental health) and that are not prescribed by service organisations; a systems perspective that throws up the possibilities of understanding and working with complexities; possibilities for interdisciplinary perspectives and for working collaboratively through progressive alliances; an action research orientation; possibilities for incorporating non-professional knowledges into theory and practice. I worked in academia in UK and we had the opportunity to develop a particular approach to community psychology, untrammeled by the pressures and priorities of service or other organizations.

An event that was formative for your interest in or engagement with community psychology?

Meeting and working with Alex Carey who was doing some work in partnership with the Australian Telecomms Union. Nothing in my training had ever raised the possibilities (and actualities) of working politically, or of partnering with a trade union.

What is the future of community psychology in Europe?

There is a strong network across national boundaries, which has done some great work in networking; academic developments; cross-national research. For many years European community psychology suffered from the perception of a strong in-group, making it difficult for others to permeate. This group is now beginning to expand to include younger community psychologists or those interested in community psychology. There is still a lot of work to convince active people (in the UK) of the benefits of working at a European – or indeed international – level and the major challenge is processes of communication between those interested at a European level and those working in the different countries. The zeitgeist is in favour of better collaborative links – at least in academia, possibly not amongst practitioners.

One piece of advice for aspiring community psychologists?

Be thick skinned and keep a sense of humour: never take the ire you might be confronted with as people’s power is challenged personally. Always work collaboratively.

How about a song? One that symbolizes what community psychology is about for you?

Phil Ochs, “When I’m Gone,” 1966.

Special Issues Call for Papers JCASP

The Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology is calling for submissions for two special issues.

Multicultural Identities in Context: The influence of social, community, environmental and historical factors

Special Issue Editors: Elena Trifiletti, Katarina Pettersson, Verónica Benet-Martínez, Seth Schwartz, Alan Meca, and Yasin Koc

Deadline for Abstract Submission: 31st January 2023.

Sport for the Community: Psychological and sociomoral benefits of sport participation in youth and adult communities

Special Issue Editors:  Elisa Bisagno, Marianna Alesi, Francesca Vitali, Alessia Cadamuro, Veronica Margherita Cocco, Loris Vezzali, and Maria Kavussanu

Deadline for Manuscript Submission: 1st May 2023

Solidarity with People on the Move in Ireland: Formal and Informal Approaches

Webinar with Megan Vine, 13 October 2022. Discussant: Dora Rebelo

About the webinar

Globally, there are more people displaced or ‘on the move’ than ever before – as political instability and climate destruction continue to drive people from their homes in search of safety. People on the move are subjected to direct and slow forms of border violence, and racialised categorisations that shape their access to resources and justice. Drawing on my PhD research and independent research work, this webinar will offer a comparative analysis of informal and formal solidarity initiatives for different groups of people on the move in Ireland.

People seeking asylum in Ireland are predominantly from African countries and must stay within the Direct Provision (DP) system while their applications are being processed to receive government supports. DP is a privately-run network of hostels and hotels that segregates residents from the wider community and aims to deter asylum-seeking through disempowering regulations, long stays, and poor conditions. Across Ireland, people in DP and the wider community have collaborated to create informal community solidarity initiatives (CSI), to build relational solidarity through shared activities such as cooking, sport, and cultural celebration. Although they do not impact the lived experience of DP, CSI offer a space where people on the move can resist negative social representations of their group and forge friendships with people in the wider community. Cross-group friendships, in turn, mobilise the wider community to stand in solidarity with people on the move, for example by supporting the campaign to abolish Direct Provision.

The Irish government has demonstrated selective solidarity with people on the move through the Community Sponsorship programme for Syrian refugees. Established in 2018, Community Sponsorship provides a community-based alternative to traditional resettlement, where groups of local volunteers collaborate with Regional Support Organisations to offer housing and supports to selected families for two years. Community Sponsorship has positive outcomes for sponsored families in general; however, Covid-19 and world events have negatively impacted the implementation of the programme. Furthermore, a lack of meaningful engagement with sponsored people has impeded their active participation in the programme, with disempowering effects. 

Both informal and formal community solidarity initiatives offer fruitful examples of how meaningful solidarity with people on the move can be enacted. Nevertheless, arbitrary categorisation of people on the move impacts their access to rights, entitlements, and supports, and systemic changes such as the abolition of Direct Provision are needed for equity to be achieved. Furthermore, programmes like Community Sponsorship could be adapted to accommodate people from other nationalities, to expand the benefits of this kind of community support beyond a select few.


About the presenter

Megan Vine is a final year PhD student at the Department of Psychology, University of Limerick, and is based in Galway city in the West of Ireland. Megan has been actively involved with a community solidarity group called The Melting Pot Luck in Galway since 2017, supports the campaign to end Direct Provision in Ireland, and is a member of the international Community Psychology and Migrant Justice research network, and the Migration and Diversity research group at UL. Megan’s PhD research uses qualitative, participatory, and quantitative methodologies to investigate experiences and outcomes of community solidarity initiatives with people on the move and host communities. The project is supervised by Dr Ronni Greenwood and Dr Anca Minescu and is funded through the Government of Ireland’s Postgraduate Scholarship programme. In 2022, Megan also collaborated with the Irish Refugee Council and the SHARE network as an independent researcher to evaluate Community Sponsorship in Ireland, as part of a multi-country study.


About the discussant

Dora Rebelo, Ph.D. is a systemic psychologist, recently awarded a PhD in Anthropology. She works as a consultant for humanitarian NGO across the globe and as a researcher and invited lecturer at ISCTE-Lisbon University Institute. She is also an activist for refugee rights and migrant justice at “Fórum Refúgio Portugal” (a refugee-led association) and “Europe Must Act” (a citizen-led advocacy group struggling for refugee rights). Her main professional interests are directed towards community-based solidarity, migrant justice and activist initiatives with communities on the move. 

9 ICCP 2022

Community Regeneration

Bonds and bridges among people and environments

ECPA is partner of the 9 ICCP Conference that will take place this year in Naples from September 21 to September 24

The call for papers is still open (June 10, the final deadline) as well as the opportunity to benefit from reduced fees.

Don’t stall, take a look at the Conference website and organize your trip to Naples. And yes, you can also attend online, but if we may make a suggestion….take the opportunity to benefit from a conference of great scientific and applied interest and enjoy the beauty of a unique city in the world. Why not take advantage of all the benefits? Naples, Italian and European community psychology are waiting for you.

Visit the conference website https://9iccpnaples.com/

Housing First: a solution for eradicating homelessness in Europe

Webinar with Branagh R. O’Shaughnessy and Marta Gaboardi, June 30, 2022

https://youtu.be/CoBZw5IYL9I

Housing First: Europe’s Capabilities-Enhancing Homeless Service Model (Branagh R. O’Shaughnessy, Ronni Michelle Greenwood, & Rachel Manning)

Abstract:

Being able to control your living space or having enough food to sustain yourself are basic personal freedoms that we often taken for granted. These basic freedoms form part of Nussbaum’s Central Capabilities which refer to the essential elements of a well-lived life. However, many capabilities dimensions are absent in the lives of adults experiencing homelessness, who often do not have control over their living space or enough food to sustain themselves. As part of a Horizon 2020 project on homelessness as unfairness across eight European countries, two studies were carried out to examine homeless adults’ capabilities. The first study quantitatively examined the relationship between homeless service type (Housing First (HF) or treatment as usual (TAU)) (N = 565) and capabilities at two timepoints. Findings showed that HF service users had heightened capabilities compared to TAU, and that this relationship was mediated by choice and housing quality. The second study qualitatively examined the capabilities, including internal and external affordances and constraints, of homeless services users in HF and TAU (N = 77). Three themes were identified: autonomy and dependency, the relational impact of living arrangements, and community interaction and stigma. Overall compared to TAU, HF is progressing to reverse many of the inequalities experienced by homeless adults. HF service users have much greater opportunities to maximise their capabilities and sustain a life of dignity and well-being compared to those in TAU. Thus, policies aligned with a HF model in Europe are recommended as a solution for persistent and prevailing homelessness in Europe.

Working with people experiencing homelessness (Marta Gaboardi)

Social service providers in homeless services may experience burnout and stress caused by helping people with multiple problems in complex working environments. Moreover, professionals’ well-being and their working conditions can strongly influence client outcomes. Nevertheless, few studies have been conducted on factors affecting social service providers’ work that may increase the risk of work-related stress and then affect the relationship with people experiencing homelessness.

As part of a Horizon 2020 project HOME_EU: “Homelessness as unfairness”, 17 photovoice projects involving 81 social service providers were carried out across eight European countries. This cross-national research examined social service providers’ perspectives in Housing First and Traditional Staircase models regarding factors that facilitate or hinder their work.  

This study proposes an innovative use of photovoice for cross‐national research that allows participants to express their experiences about a topic through photographic language. In particular, this study showed five main advantages of using photovoice in cross‐national research: visual language, methodological flexibility, participatory data analysis, the bottom‐up process, and the promotion of social change.

The results show factors affecting social service providers’ work at three levels: systemic, organizational, and individual. Some challenges are common to the two types of service: the difficulty with the broader community (such as citizens’ opinions and in influencing policy), the importance of the support among colleagues, and the difficulty in balancing the relationship with clients. Nevertheless, in Housing First social service providers seem to have the best conditions to work since they identified more facilitators than obstacles.


Dr Branagh R. O’Shaughnessy is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Health and Human Performance, Dublin City University. Branagh’s doctoral research examined empowerment-orientated homeless service provision, part of which was aligned with the international Horizon 2020 study, Homelessness as Unfairness (HOME_EU). HOME_EU incorporated multiple perspectives, including that of citizens, service providers, and service users, to examine the issue of chronic homelessness in Europe. Branagh’s research interests lie in empowering interventions for marginalised individuals experiencing mental health and substance use challenges.


Dr Marta Gaboardi is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Developmental Psychology and Socialisation, University of Padova. She achieved her Ph.D. in Psychological Sciences at the University of Padova in 2020. She is a community psychologist and her research activities focus mainly on: homelessness, social service providers’ well-being and community integration. During her Ph.D. she collaborated at the European project HOME_EU: “Homelessness as Unfairness” (H2020 research project) to examine the issue of homelessness in Europe with an ecological and multilevel perspective.

Modern local communities as ubiquitous social ecosystems: Disentangling the contribution of social media to community experiences and interactions

Webinar with Flora Gatti, May 12, 2022 | Discussant: Alexander P. Schouten

About the webinar

In modern times, citizens’ experience of their local communities of belonging (that is, neighborhoods and cities) has complexified. On the one hand, such communities have become increasingly spatially and socially closed (Gatti & Procentese, 2020), with consequences in terms of opportunities for citizens to experience their social dimensions. On the other hand, the widespread use of location-based social media as integral parts of everyone’s daily life has made them more complex social ecosystems which include social interactions, dynamics, and opportunities related to both online and physical environments (Tonkiss, 2014).

Thanks to their features, these technologies can make the boundaries between online and offline social dynamics, relationships, and interactions permeable, favoring their integration (Gatti & Procentese, 2020a, 2021; Van De Wiele & Tong, 2014). In this vein, their affordances make them suitable for answering individuals’ social and community-related needs (Gatti & Procentese, 2020b; Van De Wiele & Tong, 2014) and enriching citizens’ local community experience (Gatti & Procentese, 2020a, 2021; Hsiao & Dillahunt, 2017).

Within this framework and by relying on the results from four studies, I will address how modern local community experience is shaped by the interplay of (a) citizens’ self-in-community (Pretty et al., 2003), (b) the physical and social features of their neighborhoods and cities, and (c) their use of ubiquitous, locative, social media with community-related aims. The community-related uses of two mainstream platforms (Instagram and dating People-Nearby Applications) will be deepened as to (a) the needs underlying them and (b) the paths through which they can enhance users’ tie to their local community.

Overall, the complexities related to modern local community experience clearly emerge, suggesting that social media could provide citizens with new opportunities and resources to be activated within the local communities of belonging. Becoming aware of these complexities and of their implications allows opening new perspectives for further research as well as for innovative practices and interventions to be implemented.


About the presenter

Flora Gatti is a post-doc research fellow at the Department of Humanities of the University of Naples Federico II. She achieved her Ph.D. in June 2021 at the University of Naples Federico II. Her research interests revolve around the interplay of online and offline social environments in shaping citizens’ local community experience, the impact of social media use on interpersonal and community relationships, and collaborative social and urban regeneration processes. Currently, she is involved in the development of the Italian local case in the EU-funded project “YouCount – Empowering Youth and Cocreating Social Innovations and Policymaking Through Youth-Focused Citizen Social Science” (Horizon 2020).


About the discussant

Alexander P. Schouten is an associate professor of Business Communication & Digital Media at the Department of Communication and Cognition, Tilburg University. His research and teaching interests include social media use, online collaboration, and online impression management. Within these areas, he is specifically interested in how different media capabilities affect the way in which people and organizations can effectively use new media technologies to communicate, to market, to work together, and to present themselves. Specific topics of study include the social psychology of online communication technology, social and digital media, identity management, social influencers, online dating, IT & organizations, virtual & augmented reality, qualitative and quantitative research methodology.

Applying the capabilities approach to the mental health field: a contribution to the evaluation and innovation of community mental health program

Webinar with Beatrice Sacchetto, 28 April 2022 | Discussant. Prof. José Ornelas

About the webinar

The capabilities approach emerged as an alternative framework for evaluating quality of life, considering broader dimensions of well-being and pointing out the role of the social and political arena that may hinder or foster individuals’ potential. In this sense, it seems to share the same underlying ecological perspective as community psychology, encompassing an understanding of people as social beings within interpersonal, social, institutional, and political networks. The capabilities account is also consistent with community mental health models based on empowerment, recovery and community integration; in fact, the capabilities focus on individual agency and choice converges with decision-making power, self-determination and social participation.

The capabilities framework is particularly relevant for groups that suffer discrimination and social exclusion, as they may need more institutional and social support than other socially advantaged groups to access social opportunities and achieve their potential. Throughout the history people with mental health problems have suffered social exclusion and lack of power in the mental health system. Moreover, the involvement of people with mental health challenges in research and service evaluation has traditionally been scarce, especially in the construction of outcome measures.

The current webinar will present a research with the main aim of contributing to the evaluation and innovation of community mental health programs, presenting a new measure – the Achieved Capabilities Questionnaire for Community Mental Health (ACQ-CMH) – based on the capabilities framework and developed through collaboration with people with lived experience of mental illness.

It will also be highlighted a) the innovation of the theoretical capabilities approach, considering the historical and current background of the mental health field; b) the linkages with community psychology models and values; c) the relevance of the collaborative approach in research and evaluation in the mental health field; d) the main research results and its implications for transformative change.


About the presenter

Dr. Beatrice Sacchetto completed her PhD in Community Psychology in 2021, at the ISPA-University Institute of Lisbon. She is actually an Integrated Researcher of the Applied Psychology Research Center Capabilities & Inclusion – APPsyCI, and the coordinator of the community center of the Association for the Study and Psychosocial Rehabilitation (AEIPS), an NGO in Lisbon that provides support services for people with experience of mental illness.

She recently coordinated an EEA Grants project on leadership, capabilities and empowerment in mental health, and previously worked in an IC&DT FCT project on community integration and capabilities of people with mental health challenges. Dr. Sacchetto has a large experience in both research and intervention in mental health towards a community psychology perspective, applying collaborative approaches to promote community-centered and empowering processes and results. Particularly, she has widely investigated and published about the adaption of Nussbaum’s capabilities framework to the community mental health field, in order to provide an innovative evaluative framework for community mental health programs.


About the discussant

Prof. José Ornelas is a Clinical and Community Psychologist, specialized in community intervention and integration of people in extremely vulnerable situations. Completed his first doctoral degree in the Boston University (USA) – 1979-1984; and a second doctoral degree in the University of Oporto (1999). He completed his aggregation in the University of the Azores (2009). From 2016 to 2019 Ornelas was the principal investigator of the Horizon 2020 HOME_EU Reversing Homelessness in Europe, GA/726997, and is currently the coordinator of the EEAGRANTS Project (OC4-B11 | ISPA) PEER NETWORK: Gender Violence and Empowerment. He is the scientific adviser of a community-based program on the promotion of educational achievement in 5 Portuguese national counties, in parallel with teaching and research supervision of Master’s and Doctoral theses on Psychology.

In Place of War

Imagine, people put creativity, arts and music in place of war and violence.

Imagine, young people learn by being creative and living their passion.
Imagine, people use their creative skills to develop visions for being artists, professionals and entrepreneurs.

In Place of War is a global network which goes beyond empowerment story-telling. They help people to create and live their stories of community resilience. Since 2004, they enable grassroots change-makers in music, theatre and across the arts to transform a culture of violence and suffering into hope, opportunity and freedom. Up to now, dozens of creative educational and performative projects in more than 26 countries around the world have been launched successfully.

In Place of War supports individuals or communities that have been affected by war, post-war, gang-war and political oppression. They:

  • create safe and technically equipped cultural spaces and art centres (like studios, theatres or galleries) in the most marginalized communities in the world.
  • have developed a creative entrepreneur training (CASE), designed specifically for conflict zones; more than 200 trainers in 18 countries have been trained.
  • curate international artistic collaboration as an antidote to violence, and they share skills, knowledge and hope. Over 1000 artists from 25 countries have been mobilized and created gigs, festivals, tours, collaborations and theater performances.

In Place of War-projects show how art engages people away from violence, enables freedom of expression and helps people develop positive role models. Arts centres create places of safety in conflict zones, offer young people a way to escape from everyday conflict, and provide spaces to develop alternative values and norms. Artistic collaboration breaks down barriers and give voice to the voiceless.
Art is a tool for engagement in communities, for reconciliation and intercultural dialogue, and imagining worlds different from the one you are in. It is creating fun, joy and beauty — in places where this is in short supply.

Story submitted by, Ruth Daniel, founder and CEO of In Place of War

For more information, please contact: ruth.daniel@manchester.co.uk

General Assembly

The General Assembly will take place online on November 30, at 4 PM (CET time) during the Community Psychology Conference in Slovakia. During the G.A. the election of the President for the next mandate (22-23) and the President-Elect for the following mandate (24-25) will be elected. To join the General Assembly please use the following Teams link

The Agenda will be the following

  1. Welcome
  2. Approval of the last GA minutes
  3. Report of the activities
  4. Elections
  5. future plans

The General Assembly is open. Notice however those only members who paid membership fees can vote.