About us

CASIC (Community Animation and Social Innovation Centre) is an internationally recognised research centre co-founded in 2014 by Keele University in collaboration with New Vic Borderlines, the outreach department of the award winning New Vic Theatre. The centre has developed a unique and highly effective methodology of community/business engagement and knowledge co-production entitled Cultural Animation - CA. At the heart of Cultural Animation is the creation of democratic research environments where traditional knowledge hierarchies are dissolved in order to facilitate creative dialogues and teamwork between academia and the community.

CA is a participatory art-based and embodied methodology that draws on the everyday experiences of ordinary people and their creative abilities to achieve individual and collective goals. The methodology helps to build trusting relationships between participants by inviting them to work together in a series of workshop activities which start with a picture of the present and proceed with imagining a shared desirable future.

This methodology has been used to co-produce practice centred solutions to local and global problems, in areas such as volunteeringcommunity asset mapping , food poverty, market place exclusion, health in the community, sustainability, social innovation, communities in crisis and post-disaster reconstruction. The approach has been tried and tested in multiple community and business settings in the UK, Canada, Japan, Greece, France and the Philippines. The centre has attracted more than 20 research projects from the AHRC, ESRC, EPSRC, MRC, GRCF, Leverhulme and HEFCE.

  • to foster interdisciplinary community based research using creative and artistic ways of engagement,
  • learning and research
  • to build a strong partnership between Keele University and its wider community based on equity
  • and inclusiveness;
  • to build capacity for community-centered solutions to local and global issues
  • to improve and expand the co-production of knowledge in order to facilitate social innovation and bring
  • about democratic changes in our society
  • to improve the social conditions of individuals and their communities through the application
  • of knowledge that is co-created
  • building a strong partnership between Keele University and its wider community based on equity and inclusiveness;
  • developing interdisciplinary and creative solutions to complex issues based on the recognition that creativity is an equal partner in the scientific pursuit;
  • fostering local and global connections for action, to support social innovation and change.