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CARN Conference at NCI: 28-30 October, 2022

Community Action Research Network group in discussion

by Dr Josephine Bleach, Director, Early Learning Initiative

National College of Ireland (NCI) is delighted to be hosting the CARN (Collaborative Action Research Network) Conference 2022 from Friday 28 to Saturday 30 October. We are thrilled to be welcoming our colleagues from all over the world to discuss how we, collectively and individually, change lives through action research.

For many years we have told the story of NCI’s Early Learning Initiative (ELI) at CARN conferences – how we have used action research to grow from 400 to 14,000 participants, and the impact ELI has had on thousands of children and families across Ireland. We have also listened and learned about the positively impactful work being done across Europe, Africa, America, Asia and Australia.

Action research is about change – changing your thinking, doing, and relationships with others. It is about taking responsibility for the ethical change you want to be in the world.

The CARN Conference is a meeting of independent-minded individuals who respect each other’s cultures, views, and work. It is an enjoyable, constructive, practical, inclusive experience, where diverse perspectives are tested respectfully. You are listened to, questioned, and given space to think, discuss and work through your theories and thoughts. There are no right answers, no perfect methods nor easy conclusions. The messiness of action research and life is acknowledged and celebrated as an exciting journey of exploring possibilities, examining realities, discovering connections and potential next steps.

One of my first memories of CARN, as a novice action researcher, is accidentally sitting beside Richard Winter at lunch and having the most wonderful conversation. A decade later, I still remember the joy, enthusiasm, belief, respect, safety, challenge, and positive encouragement evoked in that exchange. I have had similar conversations with colleagues, over the years; this amazing CARN culture of parity of esteem, respect and safety enables me to return afresh from every CARN conference to the joys and challenges of action research and working with others to ensure children across Ireland thrive.

To learn more about the CARN 2022 Conference, please visit our website:

We look forward to welcoming you all to CARN 2022, and to hearing how you are changing lives through action research.