Strategy document for SPARC - Swedish Participatory Action Research Community

“We make the road by walking” (Freire & Horton)


Members can be individual persons as well as research groups, universities, communes and organisations outside the academic world that are interested in the community’s issues.

A basic concern is PAR (participatory action research) that we intend to strengthen in the Swedish society.

SPARC is a Swedish community for participatory action research with strong international support from similar activities that exist in various parts of the world.

We consider PAR as a means for

  • promoting a view of knowledge that takes care of and develops the practical knowledge people have and their common daily knowledge
  • increasing the quality of research by making more people participate in the research process
  • enhancing openness and exchange between different knowledge traditions in society
  • contributing to a sustainable society with increased welfare for the whole population.

We strive for democracy in the deepest sense – on individual, group and societal level.

Our work is founded on two important conditions: (1) a critical social perspective and (2) the research tradition PAR where research is conducted by and together with those who are concerned by the research.

Researchers within SPARC are responsible for research that contains critical social and relevant theories for practice, research that is also characterised by high quality and a part of the international development within the area of research.

The aim and vision of SPARC

An important goal for SPARC is to establish a national platform for bildung, education and research which includes a doctoral education with the label democratic knowledge and change processes.

The aim of SPARC is to transgress borders between different societal fields of activity in order to strengthen knowledge production and research,

  • that is relevant and useful for the development of primarily the welfare sector, popular education, trade unions and NGO’s
  • that is developed and strengthened in cooperation with actors from the surrounding society
  • that increases the number of PAR competent persons
  • that demonstrates different ways for cooperation concerning research, evaluation and follow-up work
  • that stimulates dialogue between different knowledge traditions.

Our vision is that through transgression the traditional science will be enlarged with research that is close to practice and conducted by and together with co-workers and citizens.

(Translated from the original SPARC document in Swedish dated 2010-02-12 by Lars Holmstrand and slightly revised 2015-02-17)