Oxford Praxis Forum

The Oxford Praxis Forum was made possible by the external funding it secured. This funding was led by a major donation given by the late Sir Douglas Hague, former Honorary Fellow at Green Templeton.

The overall focus of Praxis is on finding ways of facilitating the exchange of ideas between researchers and practitioners to help identify and promote the practical relevance, or impact, of academic research. To anchor its work in a practice perspective, Praxis established an Advisory Group (PAG) that had a majority of experienced, well-educated practitioners who worked alongside several highly experienced researchers.

Following the guidelines established with the PAG, Praxis adopted a rolling, exploratory, and prototyping approach to ensure it had the flexibility required when building on initiatives that members had volunteered to undertake. The approach was two pronged. The first focused on reviewing existing research on establishing practical relevance. The second focused on direct experiential activities involving practitioners.

Praxis has now undertaken over 30 separate activities under this rolling programme. These have ranged from lectures, to retreats, to open workshops, to custom workshops, to working papers, to visits and to pilots of various kinds. These activities included workshops for Green Templeton graduate students (on video capture in fieldwork, and preparation of case studies) and a workshop for 25 college alumni on ‘Theory v Practice’.

All the major activities have been reported as they occurred. Praxis has also published a refereed article ‘Practical Judgment, Narrative Experience and Wicked Problems’ in Theoria (a Journal of Social and Political Theory).

In April 2023 Praxis came to the end of its first rolling programme of exploratory activities, which concluded with an ‘After Action Review’ (following the methodology brought to prominence amongst senior US Military in a project involving a Praxis member). In this, Praxis highlighted the fact that the challenge of developing a frame that could effectively encompass the features of both theory and practice was identified as a major stumbling block in both the research review and the experiential activities. However, it also indicated that Praxis had been able to identify some language, concepts, and exemplars that could potentially help practitioners and researchers develop frames that would meet their needs in the specific, situated, local and action-oriented contexts that practice involves. This material did not pretend to offer a generic model of framing, rather a platform of resources that participants can draw on, and contribute to, as they address their local situations and concerns.

Praxis is working towards launching a second programme in Autumn 2023 that will set up this platform as an open-source resource and trial its efficacy with a small number of interested parties (it already has two under consideration). Anybody who might wish to be kept informed of progress with this launch should register their interest with Naomi Benson.

More general enquiries should be addressed to Emeritus Fellow Dr Marshall Young in the first instance.

Background to the Oxford Praxis Forum

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