The Action Research Summer Camp: a popular retreat attracting guests from all over the world

< Alle News

The Action Research Summer Camp: a popular retreat attracting guests from all over the world

The English-language summer school for students, practitioners and researchers was once again very well received.

We enjoyed a one-week retreat with 20 people from 10 countries and 5 continents. A range of dedicated individuals came together in Innsbruck, from students on bachelor’s courses in inclusive education to professors; from professional social workers and foreign aid workers to psychotherapists.

Guests travelled to the Tyrol especially for the retreat, from Vietnam, Uganda, Moldova, Serbia, Turkey, Italy, Austria, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, the USA and Canada. The praise bestowed on us by our oldest guest to date, a professor, was particularly gratifying: “After forty years of various summer programmes and academic conferences, I can say without a doubt that this was the best in many ways”. For many, the highlight of the programme was the diverse international group. One guest spoke of “intense, multilayered, diverse processes of reflection, thought and learning that are not possible in a conventional format”.

The distinctive venue, the Waldhüttl (a project by and for Roma, run by VGen Tirol: the Tyrolean Societies of Saint Vincent de Paul), contributed to the unique atmosphere conducive to intense processes of reflection, thought and learning. “The Waldhüttl created a safe space to explore the subject of the camp and also offered us a practical experience of how people can come together and organise themselves in a community.” With the support of Professor Dolgon from the USA and Professor Raithelhuber from the Bertha von Suttner Private University, St. Pölten (BSU), work was carried out on ideas that will be further refined in cooperation with members of the target groups.

Inspiring ideas and comments from participants: results of the Action Research Summer Camp

One master’s student from the USA developed some initial steps she can take in her anti-racism work with single mothers in the health sector. One dedicated researcher from Ireland now plans to enlist villagers’ help to convert the shop once run by her family into a social centre tackling the challenges of social change in rural settings. In Tanzania, a project is taking shape that involves local women organising a sustainable supply of water. During the camp, another inspiring participant from Turkey came up with plans for making child protection there more democratic by getting minors involved. What all the proposed projects have in common is that they combine research with concrete action to promote social justice. They use the methods and principles of participatory action research to achieve that transformation. 

Expansion and cooperation: the 2024 camp’s new partners and European funding

The camp is over. Long live the camp! We are delighted to report that the next Summer School in June 2024 will be organised by the BSU in cooperation with associates from Poland, Ireland, Germany and Sweden. This exciting development was made possible thanks to the efforts of our specialist Professor Dolgon from the USA and to the Fulbright Commission supporting the BBSU development project “Capacity Building in Participatory Action Research”. Starting next year, the BSU will now be able to run the camp as an ERASMUS+ Blended Intensive Programme. Thanks to the financial support from the European Commission, the students and teaching staff from our partner universities will be able to take part free of charge. There is already a buzz of anticipation about the upcoming camp, and we are excited at the insights, inspiring ideas and valuable interaction we hope will come out of it. The Action Research Summer Camp remains an important milestone for the BSU when it comes to sharing knowledge, promoting social justice and encouraging collaboration among dedicated people from different countries and disciplines.

We look forward to creating an unforgettable, all-encompassing camp experience along with our international partners and thus moving another step further towards positive change.

Tip: Click here for information ⋙ International Office


Eine feste Partnerin der BSU – die Vinzigemeinschaft Waldhüttl am Rande von Innsbruck: „Ein Platz für Roma, Pilger, Naturliebhaber…“

Picture description: The picture shows a wooden sign with the following information on it: “Waldhüttl Society of Saint Vincent de Paul: a place for Roma, pilgrims, nature lovers and more”

Die BSU bedankt sich bei den Bewohner*innen des Waldhüttl-Projekts mit einem Abendessen

Picture description: BSU staff treat the Waldhüttl project residents to a thank-you meal together. In the picture, lots of people are sitting close together at a table, looking at the camera with friendly expressions.

v.l.: Prof. Raithelhuber (BSU), Prof. Dolgon (USA), Professorin Sauer (DEU), Programme Officer O’Halloran (IRL) und Professorin Chawrilska (POL) feiern die neue europäische Partnerschaft.

Picture description: The picture shows five people standing in a line. From left to right, they are Professor Raithelhuber from the BSU, Professor Dolgon from the USA, Professor Sauer from Germany, programme manager O’Halloran from Ireland and Professor Chawrilska from Poland. They are standing close together making heart shapes with their hands. This symbolises their happiness and celebration about entering into a new European partnership.

Prof. Corey Dolgon (USA) / Credits: BSU

Picture description: The picture shows Corey Dolgon, our Fulbright specialist, who is a professor of sociology and a singer-songwriter from the USA. He is sitting at a table with his laptop, with wooden walls on every side.

< Alle News