Jam and Justice in Sheffield-Manchester

Co-Producing Urban Governance for Social Innovation 


Cities are sites of crisis and opportunity. In a context of rapid social change and austerity, the effectiveness of traditional systems of urban governance is in doubt. Jam and Justice: Co-Producing Urban Governance for Social Innovation aims to create a unique space for social innovation to co-produce, test and learn from new ways of governing cities.‘Jam’ is about bringing together different partners in the city to experiment and innovate to address shared problems. ‘Justice’ is about re-connecting with those who have been disenfranchised and excluded from the search for solutions.

Jam and Justice’s first innovation was the formation of an Action Research Collective (ARC) in Greater Manchester. The ARC brings academics, civil society organisations, citizens, community activists, policy makers and organisers together for two main purposes:

•    To test and learn about the theory and practice of coproducing research
•    To test and learn about the effectiveness of different mechanisms to increase citizen participation in urban decision-making.

In addition to the ARC’s codesigned action research projects (detailed below), Jam and Justice has programmes of work to support cultural change within urban governance institutions (Developing Co-Productive Capacities) and create an engaged coalition of citizens committed to greater participatory cities (Coalitions for Change).

The research is largely funded by the ESRC’s Urban Transformations programme with co-funding from Mistra Urban Futures, particularly for comparative work and public engagement. 

Jam and Justice has developed as follows:

2016: Establishment of the Action Research Collective.
2017: Codesign process to select action research projects to test and learn about participatory urban governance; followed by identification of action research teams to enable delivery.

Projects on the way to fruition are:
•    Citizen participation in energy governance
      The People’s Republic of Energy with partners Carbon Coop
•    Citizen participation in procurement policy
      People’s Procurement with partners CLES
•    Citizen participation in spatial planning frameworks
      Space in Common with partners DemSoc
•    Citizen participation in health and social care
      Inverted Citizens’ Inquiry: Care at Home with Shared Future CIC
•    Testing technology for citizen participation 
      GM Decides with Amity HCD
•    Non-formal pathways to participation with young people
      Young People Missing from Decisions with partners The Children’s Society
•    From non-voting to participation beyond the ballot box
      The System Doesn’t Work with partners Community Pride CIC
•    Local councillors and grassroots democracy
     Testing the 21st Century Councillor Framework with North West Employers
•    Mapping solidarity and the social economy
     Transform GM with Ben Lear

2018: 4 action research projects completed, with 4 others nearing completion. A ninth gets underway, and the ARC reallocate funds from one that did not initiate to support successes elsewhere. Publications appear in Nature and Social Policy & Administration.
2019: Data analysis and coalition-building processes underway. Findings to be shared in venues including through a learning exchange with Gothenburg (March), during National Co-Production Week in Greater Manchester (July), and at the Realising Just Cities conference (Sheffield, October). 

Photo of brochure Jam and Justice
"Co‐Producing the City: preview of the new Jam & Justice brochure"

NEW: A three and a half year report (three and a half year work) about the ten projects within Jam & Justice is now completed: A brief run-down of the report contents can be found here. A copy of the main presentation can be downloaded here, and the report and a wider set of Jam and Justice’s publications are all available to download from the Jam and Justice publications page. Read on to discover how guest speakers respond to the report.
A summary of Jam and Justice’s motivation, design and emerging lessons has been produced in a the form of a Co-Producing the City brochure (PDF, pictured above). Featuring interviews with Action Research Collective members and a showcase of our projects, the brochure gives a first impression of our findings and insights whilst data analysis and reflection is ongoing. Download a copy. 

For further information please visit: jamandjustice-rjc.org
For the wider ESRC Urban Transformations programme, visit: urbantransformations.ox.ac.uk
Prof Beth Perry, LIP Director in Sheffield-Manchester is the Principal Investigator of the project.

The Jam and Justice team also includes:
Catherine Durose, Liz Richardson and Alex Whinnom as co-investigators, Vicky Simpson as project manager; Bertie Russell, Susanne Martikke and Daniel Silver as research associates, and Iona Hine as impact officer. 

Non-academic members of the Action Research Collective include Adrian Ball, Amanda Bickerton, Andrew Burridge, Alice Toomer-McAlpine, Jez Hall, Julie Asumu, Katie Finney, Laura Williams, and Paul Maher.
Prof Tim May, Sheffield Methods Institute, is methodological advisor.





Perry, B., Diprose, K., King, S., Habermehl, V., Hine, I., May, T., Russell, B., Simpson, V., Spring, C. and Taylor Buck, N., with Bellinson, R., McVicar-Payling, A. and Patient, J. (2019) .Realising Just Cities: An Overview of Activity 2016–2019, Sheffield
Type: Report/Paper/Working paper/Brief