...Onwards and upwards as we launch the new interdisciplinary applied research centre – the Institute of Community Cohesion has become the Centre for Social Relations... We are growing and changing – building on our successes, but very reflective of changing times and developing research agendas.
The Centre for Social Relations is a new interdisciplinary applied research centre; our work explores the multiple drivers for the most pressing problems for pluralist diverse societies today through the multiple lenses of ethnicity, belief, socio-economic factors, inter-generational or cross-community relations. The Centre’s work takes a local, regional, national and global approach to these issues with a special interest in young people. The research team includes experts in participation and employment, skills development, participatory public engagement, community relations and tension monitoring, inter-cultural dialogue, sectarian conflict, and interfaith relations.
The Institute of Community Cohesion began its life as a joint venture between three universities and a local authority. It operated within a significant area of work, focused as it was on the practical and policy consequences of contemporary and multi-cultural communities, and a history of engagement with this issue in English cities for almost a decade. It became a part of Coventry University’s Business, Environment and Society Faculty in 2009.
iCoCo had been a campaigning resource to set agendas for local government policy approaches to help diverse and changing communities to live more harmoniously with the differences that characterise their demographics. Its mission was as a not-for-profit yet self-funding applied policy research centre that met needs (for technical assistance and training) defined by commercial contract opportunities. Over the past period, iCoCo created and nurtured revenue opportunities, and delivered reports and consultancies to a significant number of clients. It became a one-stop shop in England for work and interest in community cohesion.
In our development we have retained our essentially practical approach, but placed a new emphasis on evidence-led research and extended our remit to the global economy. We have moved to focus on enquiry over campaigning by effectively moving to develop practitioner supportive applied research that is strongly linked into humanities and social science traditions.