At Bournemouth University on 25th April 2019, a community meeting brought together people from BU PIER and volunteers from Hope for Food to talk about major societal challenges. The meeting was a demonstration of community involvement for a European network funding bid meeting to the COST Action stream. The application is based around renewing how major societal challenges are framed by using a different way of seeing and thinking about them with care. That application is a partnership between members of CERC: BU Dr Tula Brannelly, and Professor Carlo Leget at Utrecht University of Humanistic Studies and Professor Petr Urban from Prague. Bournemouth University Pump Prime funding supported the community meeting.

Present at the meeting were Tula Brannelly, Professor Marian Barnes, Deb Curtis from BU PIER who helped organise the event and the excellent graphic illustrator, Emma Paxton who drew these fabulous accounts of the day. Marian explained how care approaches can change thinking. Critical care approaches encourage people to see the world differently – through the eyes of people who experience it, for example to find out what life is like in particular circumstances. It also sees people as interdependent – we both give and need care, and care for people and other things in our lives. We are human and live in complex relationships with each other and the world, and the ethics of care asks what does this mean.

Marian used Tronto and Fisher’s definition of care: ‘On the most general level, we suggest that caring be viewed as a species activity that includes everything that we do to maintain, continue, and repair our ‘world’ so that we can live in it as well as possible. That world includes our bodies, our selves, and our environment, all of which we seek to interweave in a complex, life-sustaining web.’

The ethics of care is a feminist philosophy that has been used by many disciplines including international relations, business management, law, health and social care and social geography to name a few. The group talked about issued they cared about such as access to health and social care, equality, safe environments and green futures.

We asked people to think about the three societal challenges included in the application. The first was health and social care for families. This is what the group offered about health and social care…

The second was about immigration –

And the third was about democracy –

These responses reinforced that the societal challenges that form the application were valid and that people had concerns about them. This site will form part of the COST Action application to demonstrate how we want to work with people affected by these kinds of issues and gave us great ideas about how to progress this in the network. Thanks to everyone who participated on the day.

If you would like more information about this project or community involvement please contact Tula Brannelly at