The story underlining the international development system does not resonate with us. The narrative is based on a narrow and potentially dangerous view of ‘development’, glorifying economic growth to the detriment of other – often conflicting – aspects. In particular, we object to the fact that ‘youth’ are typically viewed purely as beneficiaries of development programs, and efforts to encourage their participation in development processes tend to be tokenistic.
Recrear: Spanish for ‘to recreate’
To recreate means to give new life to something, to redo, or remake it.
WHAT DEVELOPMENT IS TO US
The name ‘Recrear’ suggests our vision to ‘bring fresh energy’ to research and community development with young and innovative ideas.
Recreate can also mean to play - think of the word recreation.
Our projects aim to be energizing and fun.
About the buzzword ‘Youth’
It’s easy to talk about youth as ‘actors of the future’ or ‘catalysts for change’. Yet none of this says much about who they are. Nor does it recognize young people in all their complexity and wonder.
In our work we have learned that young people are. . . all different.
So we try to be conscious of this in everything we do, from framing conversations to sharing stories.
‘Research’ is a way of making sense of the world around us.
But is there only ONE world? WHO decides what the world looks like?
‘Participatory’ research is about doing research WITH people, rather than ON people. The term ‘research’ makes us think of exploration, reflection, ‘thinking’ – so why ‘action’? ‘Action’ suggests that research findings are meant to be put into motion.
Research is not about shiny publications. Research is not something abstract, to be undertaken purely for academic purposes. It is the launchpad for inspired collective action, action that changes our day-to-day realities.
Like a tree, it has many roots. We have found inspiration from voices and practices in Latin America that place community and values at the heart of learning with others. People like Orlando Fals Borda, Oscar Jara Holiday, Boaventura de Sousa Santos have been critical to making Participatory Action Research something we can practice and not just talk about. At the same time, feminist movements, queer communities, critical race theorists and system thinkers have brought PAR up to speed. Their radical reflections are exactly what is so often missing in mainstream conversations.
In our 10 years, we’ve come to realize that for us and for many others PAR is a process of doing research with others for the purpose of generating collective spaces that can spark deep inner transformation.
PAR A LA RECREAR
Recrear specializes in youth-led Participatory Action Research. For us, ‘Research’ is the process of learning about young people, with the full participation of young people. There is no ‘researcher’ and ‘researched’: we create processes where research is carried out in communion, and all participants are responsible for defining the scope, approach and ‘results’ of the research.
We use PAR (a la Recrear) as a methodology to uncover and deconstruct the deep-rooted values, attitudes and behaviours that underlie the development processes experienced by the communities we work with. PAR allows us to forge spaces to re-create the experience of being together with others, across borders. Our research model provides a space for socializing ideas, making connections, and generating networks.
We believe that challenging our beliefs, attitudes and behaviours is the most powerful way to create more transformative and sustainable change in the long-run. We think that for research to be meaningful, it should be engaging and fun. We work with creative techniques because creativity is magical. We want to spark magic between people so that our relationships and connections can deepen.
Our research creates a space for young people to reflect on their experience, and on their role in the community.
The objectives of our work are to:
- Learn about young people’s inner and outer experiences;
- Connect youth with one another and with change-making organisations in their community;
- Create a space to reflect and have ‘deeper’ conversations, triggering personal transformation;
- Encourage young people to take initiative;
- Support organisations to listen to youth and work with them to co-create impactful and long-lasting community projects.