We are happy to inform you about a new exciting project that has started on 1 February, 2012 bearing the name
Foresee is one of the 7 partners in this 4-year project, funded by the European Union's 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7), dealing with
"Developing alternative understandings of security and justice through restorative justice approaches in intercultural settings within democratic societies".
The project aims to provide an alternative and deepened understanding based on empirical evidence of how to handle conflicts within intercultural contexts in democratic societies in order to set up security solutions for citizens and communities.
In its methodology, in the frame of a comparative analysis it will combine theoretical research on three large topics: (1) alternative epistemologies of justice and security, (2) conflict intervention in intercultural contexts and (3) existing methods of restorative justice and their relevance in intercultural conflicts with action research carried out in 4 different countries with different types, levels and settings of conflicts:
- local and migrant residents in social housing neighborhood in Austria;
- community conflicts in an intercultural village in Hungary;
- 3 different kinds of conflicts involving gangs, immigrants and different religious groups in Northern Ireland;
- and conflicts between Serbs, Albanians, Muslims and Croats in Serbia.
The role of Foresse Research Group in ALTERNATIVE
Foresee is involved in most of the different work packages of the project, but mainly responsible for work package 5: action research on intercultural conflicts.
The research done by Foresee consists of 2 main areas:
1) Studying existing RJ models in Hungary and map their potential application to conflicts in an intercultural context, ie. in communities where Romas and non-Romas coexist. This work aims at identifying and analysing existing RJ models, such as mediation, conferencing, peace circles and other restorative encounters/dialogues based on existing literature and analysing their potential application to conflicts in an intercultural context. Through a document analysis and literature study, the dealing with conflicts in an intercultural setting and the potential role of restorative justice will be analysed in order to estimate its potential impact.
2) Analysing the relevance of RJ in one selected rural settlement.
The main objective of the action research component is to create added value to the theoretical conclusions of the project and to similar European practices.
It is also an aim to test whether a dominant change can be achieved in the social life, social cohesion, conflict resolution processes in the selected community by applying restorative intervention. On a more general level, the main issue is in what ways the restorative intervention influences the understanding of security, justice, intercultural conflicts in the selected community.
The action research consists of the following 4 main components:
1) Preparing the research and problem analysis: the phase of ‘look’ and ‘think’ of action research. The objective of the activity is to select the community that is most suitable in terms of research questions and objectives:
a. The number of petty crimes (theft, criminal damage etc.) is high
b. Most of the crimes can be associated with local Roma residents
c. Ethnic and cultural conflicts are typical in the town.
The problem analysing phase is the preparation of the intervention. It focuses on collecting and organising the information required for the selection of the intervention methods, and on getting an insight into the town and the target groups. The problem analysing phase seeks to collect information on: the types of conflict in the studied town; the escalation areas of conflicts in the community; types of prejudices that affect life in the community; its existing legal and institutional system and the related actors; the communication patterns they use; Conflict and crime prevention mechanisms applied and their effectiveness; social activity of the community in the town; explore the ways in which the community cohesion can be strengthened and sustained.
The problem-analysis will be carried out focusing on various factors like communication, conflict management, criminological aspects, sociological aspects and social psychology (the same factors will be measured in the final evaluation after the intervention took place).
2) The applied intervention techniques and procedures can be defined after the problem analysing phase has been completed. Some example of the possible applied methods: mutual consultancies, mediation, restorative conferences and circles, trainings, supervisions, focus groups meetings, community-building interventions.
3) Process analysis, evaluation and follow-up. Process analysis constitutes an integral part of the implementation phase since it follows the whole project by applying scientific methodology and will allow our team to ensure accurate documentation throughout the project. Based on the restorative approach, process analysis will be focused on aspects primarily related to restorative justice, such as impartiality, neutrality, voluntary participation, articulation of interests, turning points, social psychology dynamics, changes in attitudes, etc.
4) Theoretical summarising: the research and intervention results (as empirical experiences) will be summarised, synthesised and systematised on more general levels and will be framed by theoretical conclusions. Its main goal is to gain more insight into the theory of the restorative approach’s applicability in interethnic communities. Furthermore, this work will give feedback and input to the theoretical considerations that were drafted in the beginning of the whole research project and action research (e.g. to hypothesises, research questions, etc.).
In this project dissemination activities are considered as part of the research, not only as publication of results at the end of the project. Therefore ongoing dissemination activities will help the action research and the feedback from the partners, professionals and citizens involved in the action research.
One tool for this will be a so called “participatory” film making, ie. local people at action research venues and citizens affected in intercultural conflicts will be actively involved. As part of the dissemination, Foresee will organise a Regional Workshop in Budapest in 2014, in cooperation with the Austrian project partner IRKS, for sharing the experiences gained during local project activities and action research. Different kinds of written and online publications, as well as an interational project website will also help to share experiences gained during this 4-year work.
The ALTERNATIVE kick-off meeting took place in Leuven on 15, 16 and 17 February 2012.
Our report on the training held as part of the 2013 Summer School can be reached here.
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (K.U. Leuven) - Belgium (representing: prof. dr. Ivo Aersten, Brunilda Pali, dr Inge Vanvraechem)
Coordinator of the whole project; Leader of WP10 Management; Leader of WP1 Alternative Epistemologies; Leader of WP8 Comparative Analysis; Task leader in WP9 Dissemination; and involved in all the other WPs.
K.U.Leuven is ranked as 6th and 7th university in the competitive European Framework Programmes for research and technological development, FP6 and FP7 respectively, managing over 430 FP contracts in the recent past (2003-2009) for a budget of nearly 150 million euro.
Launched in January 2007, the Leuven Institute of Criminology (LINC) is composed of about seventy professors and assistants involved in criminological research and education within the Department of Criminal Law and Criminology of the K.U.Leuven Faculty of Law. LINC is the most recent institutional incarnation of the criminological tradition in Leuven that started with the establishment of the "School for Criminology" in 1929. LINC intends to continue the Leuven tradition of combining solid research with a deep commitment to society.
Norwegian Social Research Institute (NOVA) - Norway (representing:prof dr Ida Hydle, Espen Marius Foss, Bettina Uhrig)
Leader of WP2 Conflict Transformation Analysis; Task leader in WP1 Alternative Epistemologies; Responsible for tasks in WP8 Comparative Research.
NOVA is a social policy research institute under the auspices of the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research. The aim of the institute is to develop knowledge and understanding of social conditions and processes of change. NOVA’s Strategic Plan 2010-13 defines the institute’s prioritised research areas to be ageing and life courses, comparative welfare, child protection, youth and international migration and transnationality. NOVA has a highly qualified and multidisciplinary staff of nearly 90 researchers. More than 140 research projects are currently in progress, of which a substantial number is in cooperation with international partners.
European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ) - Belgium (representing: Karolien Mariën, Edit Törzs)
Leader of WP3 Restorative Justice Models; Leader of WP9 Dissemination; Responsible for tasks in WP1 Alternative Epistemologies; and Responsible for tasks in WP2 Conflict Resolution Analysis.
The EFRJ has been founded in the year 2000. The general aim of the Forum is to help establish and develop victim-offender mediation and other restorative justice practices throughout Europe. To further this general aim, the Forum promotes international exchange of information and the development of effective restorative justice policies, services and legislation, and develops the theoretical basis of restorative justice through stimulation of research. In the realization of the above-mentioned general aim and objectives, the Forum is entitled to make representation to and/or liaise with European and international institutions or organisations, including the Council of Europe, the European Union and relevant non-governmental organisations.
Institute for the Sociology of Law and Criminology (IRKS) - Austria (representing:dr.in Christa Pelikan, Katrien Kremmel)
Leader of WP4 Activating Civil Society; Responsible for tasks in WP1 Alternative Epistemologies, WP5 Practicing Encounters, WP6 Fostering Victim-oriented Dialogue, WP7 Activating Community through a Multi-agency Approach, and WP8 Comparative Research.
IRKS is Austria's outstanding research institution in the field of criminology, sociology of law and policing. Founded in 1972 it can draw on a remarkable experience in scientific research that has repeatedly shaped Austrian legislation. The Institute has an excellent reputation for its capacity in planning and designing legal or organisational reforms as well as in analysing its implementation. In consultancies the institute's objective is to ally practice and science, data and theory along with contributions from different disciplines in order to advance research and law.
Foresee Research Group (Foresee) - Hungary
Leader of WP5 Practicing Encounters; Responsible for tasks in WP1 Alternative Epistemologies, WP4 Activating Civil Society, WP6 Fostering Victim-oriented Dialogue, WP7 Activating Community through a Multi-agency Approach, WP8 Comparative Research, and WP9 Dissemination.
Foresee Research Group is an interdisciplinary think tank of young social scientists. Its research and project activities focus on promoting the principles and practices of alternative dispute resolution and helping the integration of marginalised groups in the society. The organisation, with its training, programme development, advisory, research and network building, aims to contribute to the prevention and reduction of social inequalities. In addition, the group also aims to spread the view and methodology of alternative techniques of conflict management and conflict resolution, to improve the objective survey of forms and measures of social exclusion, to aid the reduction and prevention of prejudices arising in society and to facilitate integration and equal opportunities for social groups in marginalised or challenging situations. In the course of planning and executing projects, Foresee always supports building extensive partnerships with its clients and cooperating organisations. They believe that effective answers to the problems of our society require unity and continuous network building between multiple professions and institutions.
Victimology Society of Serbia (VDS) - Szerbia (representing: Sanja Copic, dr Vesna Nicolic)
Leader of WP6 Fostering Victim-oriented Dialogue; Responsible for tasks in WP1 Alternative Epistemologies, WP4 Activating Civil Society, WP5 Practicing Encounters, WP7 Activating Community through a Multi-agency Approach, and WP8 Comparative Research.
VDS is a non-for-profit, non-governmental organisation, founded in 1997. Its aim is to unite as many academics and professionals as possible who are interested in the development of victimology and protection of victims of crime, human rights violations and war, and this regardless of their gender, religion, ethnicity and other features. The main fields of research, expert work and education of VDS are: Domestic violence; Trafficking in human beings; Women‟s crime (especially its connection with domestic violence); Women in prison; Violence against women in war; War victimization; Truth and reconciliation; and victim support services and rehabilitation.
VDS carried out two surveys on the prevalence, structure and characteristics of domestic violence against women in Serbia. Results of the first survey, presented in the book Domestic violence in Serbia (2002, edited by Vesna Nikolic-Ristanovic), contributed significantly to raising awareness of professionals and the public in Serbia on the consequences of domestic violence on women. It was also used as a basis for advocacy activities of VDS that resulted in important legal changes: entering of domestic violence as a separate criminal offence in the Criminal Code (in 2002) and the protection orders in the Family Code (in 2005), as well as a restraining order in the Law on Misdemeanors (in 2005).
University of Ulster (UU) – Northern Ireland (representing: Hugh Campbell, Tim Chapman, dr Derick Wilson)
Leader of WP7 Activating Community through Multi-agency Approach; Responsible for tasks in WP1 Alternative Epistemologies, WP4 Activating Civil Society, WP5 Practicing Encounters, WP6 Fostering Victim-oriented Dialogue, and WP8 Comparative Research.
The University of Ulster is a multi campus university with 4 main sites across Northern Ireland. The university is committed to contribute to society in a region dealing with the legacy of conflict and the establishment of a new devolved legislature. Since 2003 a group of University of Ulster staff have worked to support the development of restorative justice work across Northern Ireland. This has been characterised by:
- The production of the Youth Conference Service manual, „A Practitioners Guide to Restorative Justice Conferences‟
- The establishment of Postgraduate training to Masters Degree level in Restorative Practices and of an undergraduate programme to Certificate level
- Engagement and training with police officers, prison staff, social workers, and politically motivated prisoners.
The university team has therefore built up a significant amount of experience around training and the development of practices in the area of restorative justice. These practices are focused on restorative responses to harm on a continuum that ranges from the impact of breakdown in neighbouring relationships to the impact of petty crime, the damage caused by serious offences as well as the harm caused by the armed conflict that society in Northern Ireland endured. The University team sees restorative justice as a key contribution to building a more equitable, just and inclusive society.
Gabriella Benedek : Project Leader
Gabriella Benedek, social development practitioner, trained in The Development School, postgraduate diploma in London Metropolitan University, has developped and lead several of Foresee Research Group’s strategic projects in the filed of community development, research, extra-curricular education and program evaluation. Gabriella's main fields of interests are civil society and active citizenship, community conflicts, network development and local philantropy, hence her career and work has been grounded on empowerment and participatory approaches to conflict resolution, dialogue, research and management and
dr. Éva Győrfi : Action Research Task Leader
dr Eva Győrfi is a lawyer, professional of communication, mediator, and real justice practitioner. Her special fields of interest are mediation, dialog building, child welfare, community-based conflict resolution, and other ADR methods. Her works and main professional experiences are collected from the area of mediation and restorative justice projects as of Partners for ADR Culture at schools (Institute of Educational Research and Innovation), the Small village mediation project (Family Child Youth Association), the EU-AGIS2006 project called Multidimensional restorative justice for everyone. Beside these, Győrfi has extended practice as project leader, facilitator and trainer.
dr. Borbála Fellegi : ADR consultant
Borbala Fellegi, PhD did her studies in social policy (ELTE) and criminology (Cambridge) and works as researcher, mediator/facilitator and university lecturer. From 2008 on, as founder and executive director of the Foresee Research Group. She is the author of the book 'Towards restoration and peace', one of the first comprehensive studies on the implementation of restorative justice in Hungary
Koppány Kelemen as associate.
You can watch our short introductory film here.