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In October the School of Public Life visited the Vienna Campus of Central Europe University. We held a day-long free workshop on the basics of participatory action research (PAR). Here you can read one of our participant’s testimonial.

Tessza Udvarhelyi and Zóra Molnár are awesome people, and PAR [Participatory Action Research] is a genuinely fascinating topic. It was especially fascinating, how much I had no clue about this idea previously. I’m trained in social science, and have wide range of experience in the non-profit methods of helping people, but this workshop opened up a whole new territory to explore and get involved in, that I didn’t even know it exists. This day was energizing, colourful, and fueled my general optimism about fixing problems of social inequalities. Also made me change my view about the elitism of ‘traditional’ science, and why we should think about it more often. I attended with my husband, and then we couldn’t stop talking about it for days, how and where this way of thinking can be useful. I also was talking about it to all my friends because it felt like telling them some globally applicable good news. As Tessza pointed it out while I was lost in the insignificant details of trying to assemble a definition of PAR: it’s a philosophy. Heck yes, it is! And that kind of that physically feels good, when you start to understand the depth of it. PAR, the philosophy behind it, and the way it challenges the traditional (archaic… I hope… ) idea of ‘helping people’ should be so much more common knowledge! Thank you for the opportunity!

Patricia Lazar

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