The Action Research Summer Camp 2022 - Basic Training

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The Action Research Summer Camp 2022 - Basic Training

19.06.2022, 12:00
25.06.2022 - 22:00:00
Innsbruck, Austria

Interactive and engaged training for early-stage researchers and practitioners

Note: We have already closed the application process for the Action Research Summer Camp 2022. We will start the Basic Training course in June with about 20 participants from all over the world. Among them are researchers and practitioners from the Global South, whose participation will be partly sponsored for the first time  through a "transnational grant” for enhanced participation from the Global South.

Are you interested in developing your knowledge of, and skills in, participatory research methods? Do you want to expand your capacity for collaborative action research? We invite you to join the 2nd International Action Research Summer Camp 2022 – Basic Training. Stay with a group of up to 20 people in a unique social project, the Waldhüttl in Innsbruck.

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Community-based research in action

The Camp 2022 is hosted by the Bertha von Suttner Private University in Austria and the Basic Training is offered as a Certificate Course with 6 ECTS credits, equivalent to a workload of 150 hours. Participation from the Global South is especially encouraged. Learn on our transnational grant in the section PRACTICAL.


Program and application deadline

We start in late April 2022 with virtual meetings. We actively involve you in identifying expectations and planning activities for the Camp. Once at the Waldhüttl, we will engage with residents (European Roma) and local members of the progressive project in this stunning natural environment.

Get on board: The course is in principle open to anyone interested who self-defines as an early-stage researcher or practitioner in the social sciences, social work, or community-based service or organizing.


The Action Research Summer Camp 2022 – Basic Training invites people with basic experience in participatory processes and community work or hopes to conduct and apply community-based research (CBR) and organization in their work. Camp members are based across different countries, i.e. in Europe and beyond.


Suitable for you: summer school or workforce training

As an extra-curricular course, it is open to researchers and practitioners alike. Advanced and doctoral students, as well as early-stage researchers can attend the Camp as a summer school. Activists, community workers and members of governmental entities and non-profit organizations can use it as a workforce training or professional development.

Our goals – your gain: Our teaching and learning activities center around your personal and professional development interests, previous experience and project ideas.


Why you should participate:

  • You will have hands-on opportunities to explore Participatory Action Research (PAR) and Community Development methods of inquiry.
  • You will create plans for your own community and action-based research, either implementing PAR with ongoing efforts or beginning newly designed research projects.
  • You will help build a community of practice and networks for solidarity and career support.
  • We will help you bridge the gap between your research and social action.
  • We get to know first-hand experience from invited guests in an inspiring location.
Our practical methods and pedagogy

Active learning: During the Camp, we will use a broad range of experiential methods and pedagogical means to transcend traditional didactics.


The Waldhüttl provides an energizing environment for developing life-long relationships and new ideas.


Practical methods and pedagogy

  • Introduction to tools of community-based research (e.g. interview techniques, photo-voicing, creative arts).
  • Introduction to the history and practice of community-based research.
  • Walking conversations and reflections in an alpine environment.
  • Sharing everyday life with the Waldhüttl community: making music, sitting at the camp fire, organizing a party etc.
  • Journaling: writing research and reflection diaries.
  • Alternative walking tour through Innsbruck, together with local activists.
  • Solidarity activities: group and community building, Theater of the Oppressed and other artistic exercises.
  • Case-study units and plenary sessions with joint reflections.
  • One-on-one and workshop development for individual work plans.


Active engagement and follow-up

Participants in this Basic Training course are encouraged to contribute to program preparation, by offering cases from their own work for group analysis. In addition, everybody takes over small duties and daily services to support our daily self-organizing (e.g. catering crew, cleaning public spaces, collecting firewood etc.).

After the Camp, we invite you to become part of our community of practice. You can join a group of people scattered all over the world working with PAR. We exchange ideas and organize virtual sessions on a regular basis, according to the activities and needs of our members. No charge except for the effort it takes to participate.

Our background: The Camp is an activity developed and offered by The PAR Initiative – Transnational Trainings in Participatory Action Research.



Dr. Dolgon is Professor of Sociology at Stonehill College near Boston, MA, USA, and also a labor activist and singer and songwriter. He has a long history of teaching and training students in applied and collaborative research methods. He has written widely on various forms of public sociology and the politics of engaged research and teaching. He also has extensive experience in Austria (Fulbright 2018 and 2021) and understands the regional history and issues of poverty, ethnicity, and efforts at community development. Dr. Dolgon’s CV also lists numerous institutions in the United States, Ireland, Austria, Australia and elsewhere which have sought his expertise in course design, methods workshops and training, as well as various aspects of public research and the integration of theory and practice.
Dr. Dolgon is Past President of the Society for the Study of Social Problems and the Association for Humanist Sociology.



Dr. Raithelhuber is Professor for Social Intervention and Transformation at Bertha von Suttner Private University in Austria where he teaches in the Social Work study program. He has conducted research on people living in marginalized conditions. In particular, he studied social practices of “transnational begging” and related policies, as well as a youth mentoring project for “unaccompanied refugees”. Dr. Raithelhuber has lived in Germany, Italy, Mexico and Austria. As a transnational activist, he has more than ten years’ experience in human rights work with indigenous communities in Mexico. Training early-stage researchers and allowing students to gain international and practical experiences are among his primary concerns.
Dr. Raithelhuber is member of the Transnational Virtual Initiatives Committee within the 
Society for the Study of Social Problems. Since 2015, he has been acting as Secretary of the Social Pedagogy Section within the Austrian Association of Research and Development in Education (ÖFEB-Sektion Sozialpädagogik).


Academic host

The Certificate Course “The Action Research Summer Camp 2022 – Basic Training” is organized and supported by the Bertha von Suttner Private University in Austria. This emerging university sees itself as a laboratory for a new style of teaching and research. It understands the current challenges of global change as a responsibility and an opportunity to make our society open, inclusive, cooperative and prepared for the future.


Social partner and local co-hosts

For the second time, the Action Research Summer Camp week takes place in the Waldhüttl project, a grassroots community center in Innsbruck, Tyrol. It welcomes people from all walks of life and gives shelter to those in need, independent of their origin, ethnicity/nationality or religion. 



The new Transnational grant for enhanced participation from the Global South in 2022 is sponsored by:

The pilot “The Action Research Summer Camp 2021” was developed and implemented in the context of a Fulbright Specialist Program (project ID: FSP-P004697) of Fulbright Austria, funded by the U.S. Department of State. At the time, Dr. Corey Dolgon served as the US-Specialist at the former host institution, the Paris Lodron University of Salzburg, Austria, where Dr. Eberhard Raithelhuber was his primary contact.

Many thanks to all our sponsors and partners for making this incredible program possible!


A glance into your future: "Who knew I would find such kindred spirits who are committed to collaborative knowledge production and generating collective capacity for justice to be realized?"


A motivating, self-organized, therapeutical, inspirational summer school of one week about Participatory Action Research!
Social worker and PhD student

Lovely experience! Listening to someone else's research while interacting with children and a community that constantly reminds you of why you are doing this - and being next to permaculture, spiritual and music-filled spaces was the most ‘wholesome’ or integrated experience I've had.
Doctoral student in political science

The Action Research Summer Camp / school is an intense week of exchange between (more) experienced researchers that are really committed to society and thrive for transformations. It is a week of reflection, becoming more aware of what you stand for and what you actually can do.
Social work student

It is a liberatory experience. It is a well-designed training where you learn methods, tools, processes and principles of PAR by using, experiencing and reflecting upon them individually and collectively at any moment of the day, also when you do not expect it.
Post-doc and social anthropologist

It is not just about meeting people you like but more about a collective process which transformed my understanding of politics, instruments, science and struggle.
PhD student in geography and union activist

The time together, the cooking, cleaning, singing, eating, etc. were really important to relationship building (of course), but also to my learning.
Community worker and post-grad student in sociology

Now I have the feeling that it does not have to be an “either/or” between academia and activism. The experience of the Camp showed me that together with others it is possible to create new relations how to do research and activism as interlinked moments of social change.
PhD student in geography and union activist

I realized, understood and experienced the relevance of relationship building for knowledge production, action and change. PAR - you know it when you feel it!
Educational researcher

It was time in an important space – the Waldhüttl – where we could be connected to a legacy of resistance, inclusivity and joy, and learn about our common connections to see how we can strengthen our personal and shared work.
PhD student in public sociology

An opportunity to reconnect to activism and civic engagement and learn how I can use my skills and resources as a researcher to be part of change, engage with actors outside my occupation.
Post-grad in political science and former student activist

The place to be: The Waldhüttl – literally: the ranger’s hut – is an ancient farmhouse located up a hill at the outskirts of Innsbruck, in the state of Tyrol, amid the Austrian Alps.


The Waldhüttl was a center of Tyrolean resistance to the Nazis during WWII, and now has a small photo exhibition on the key actors who met there. Watch the documentary on the grassroots project here (34min, in German).


From resistance against the Nazis to resistance against racism

Today, Waldhüttl is a sprawling, rustic facility that welcomes people from the economic and social margins: Hungarian and Rumanian speaking Roma who slept for years on the streets before becoming part of this project. Here they help create a unique space for living and learning, run by members of a small progressive local religious congregation. The place and its practices are strongly inspired by the theology and pedagogy of liberation which, in turn, is one core principle for participatory research and community development.


An inspiring place for learning and sharing

The Waldhüttl grassroots community center regularly welcomes locals and others for leisure, cultural or garden activities. This habitat is also a stopping point for pilgrims and couch surfers, and even a wedding venue. Offering basic comforts, this welcoming place is frequently used by groups for international camps, confirmation groups or conferences, as well as by student groups. Besides an old barn with an event stage, the premises consist of an extended garden, a teepee, a fire pit, a pizza oven, several species of animals and many more breathtakingly gorgeous features.


Interaction with community partners

Camp participants will frequently interact with people in place – e.g. Roma from eastern Europe living there temporarily and supporters from the town who frequent the Waldhüttl project. Hence, we will learn various practices of solidarity and experience new forms of collective social support across class, ethnic, and other boundaries, beyond the traditional welfare state models.

The Camp will use English as the main language for communication, but many other languages will be spoken on site (German, Hungarian, Rumanian, Portuguese, Italian etc.).

The Camp will generate income for the project that in turn supports the Camp, compensating them for offering their time, work and space to us.

Get to know the Waldhüttl project facebook page and its official website.

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Our goal is inclusion: Costs are generally kept as low as possible. We work on a sliding scale and manage a fund for participants from the Global South.


Participation fee

The full course is offered for 275 euros (about 40 euros/day). Costs are generally kept as low as possible. Participation fees cover our expenses for food (mainly vegetarian and vegan), lodging and rent, technical support and other services. Thus, The Camp will also generate income for the Waldhüttl project that in turn supports the Camp, compensating them for offering their time, work and space to us.

We work on a sliding scale. Hence, we can offer the program for less for people who cannot afford it but still fit into our target group for participants. This possibility is especially true for participants located in the Global South or from the “South in the North” with little or no funds. Other financial considerations can be made for people from economically disadvantaged countries and nation-states, as well as politically, economically, and culturally subjugated regions of all countries. Please see the section "transnational grant" below get in touch with any questions about affordability and cost flexibility!

Participants will organize their own transport and their own accommodations if they opt for a hostel or hotel in the city. We can provide a list of possible lodgings off site.

The Camp is partly sponsored by the Bertha von Suttner Private University which subsidizes this relatively new and innovative transnational training format.



We have already closed the application process for the Action Research Summer Camp 2022.


Transnational grant for enhanced participation from the Global South

For the first time, we are able to offer financial support to enhance participation of researchers and practitioners from the Global South or the Global South in the Global North. We manage a small fund to subsidize both travel costs and the participation fee, thanks to the support of three donor organizations:

You are eligible, in principle:

  • if you are committed to trade unions or movement unionism or other forms of progressive socio-political action and organization, in particular in social movements, workers’ struggles, community building, democratic participation, or self-determination, you are eligible, in principle;
  • if you are actively committed to promoting peace, international understanding and international cooperation, in particular if you collaborate with disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, marginalized communities and progressive social movements;
  • if you advocate for the human rights of ethnic and religious minorities, nationalities and ethnic groups, whose security, right to life, property and development, right to freedom of religion, and linguistic and cultural identity are threatened.

Applicants must be from the Global South, including scholars from economically disadvantaged countries and nation-states, as well as politically, economically, and culturally subjugated regions of all countries who without this support could not attend the meeting.

If you apply, please explain your practitioner or scholar activist background and connection to the struggles and forms of organizing mentioned above in an extended letter of interest. Provide a realistic and rough calculation of your cost in order to be able to attend The Camp:

  • Costs for travel and participation.
  • Amount that you can raise (including funding sources you can apply for).
  • Subsidies that you would need from the “transnational fund”.

We want to make sure that as many people as possible who otherwise would be unable to participate can join the training. Hence, given our limited resources, a full reimbursement of costs cannot be the general rule, but is possible, in principle. We will inform you of the decision shortly after the deadline for the application process on March 31, 2022.


Special needs

We want to build a learning space that is as inclusive as possible. If you have received your confirmation and have special needs, please let us know. If you want to or need to bring your children along, we will do our best to make it possible. There may be added childcare costs if we can provide or if you find suitable services privately.


Covid-19 protective measures

To protect the safety of the Waldhüttl community and their siblings in eastern Europe’s marginalizes Roma settlements, our host in Innsbruck has installed Covid-19 hygiene measures which match the official requirements. All Camp participants have to adhere to the respective rules in place in early summer 2022.

As of early 2022, every person frequenting the Waldhüttl premises, guest and inhabitants alike, needs to comply with the so-called 2G-Rule (from the German “geimpft oder genesen”; i.e. you must be either vaccinated or count as recovered from a Covid-infection). Our training requires close contact and interpersonal interaction. We highly recommend members to have the currently highest vaccination status.



Participants of the Action Research Summer Camp 2022 – Basic Training will start on Sunday June 19, 2022 around midday. Participants are expected to arrive in the morning, or by noon at the latest. Early arrival on the day before, i.e. Saturday, is possible. The course ends with the Waldhüttl party on Saturday night, June 25, which we will co-organize. The day of departure is Sunday June 26.

The Basic Training at the Waldhüttl will be followed by an Advanced Training course, largely consisting of past participants from the 1st Camp in 2021 who will arrive on Saturday June 25.


Travel and accommodation

The Waldhüttl project, an ancient farmhouse with basic services, is only a 15-minutes drive away from the historical center and main station of Innsbruck. The barn, the teepee and the garden will serve as our major event spaces.

Workshop participants are eligible for basic sleeping arrangements in the barn or other spaces in the main house, in the huge teepee near the Farmhouse, or may set up tents elsewhere on the grounds. If possible, please bring along your own matts and sleeping bag.

Those seeking more comfort will find accommodation in the nearby beautiful center of Innsbruck, down the hill, e.g. in a pension or hotel. If needed, we can assist you to find a place for you to stay.



We will offer a range of introductory texts that will allow us to get to know some bases of participatory action research and community development. Participants are asked to read some basic compulsory texts and prepare some preliminary thoughts, questions, journal entries, etc. to begin early conversations once we arrive in Innsbruck. For example, participants will select a small key passage from the compulsory literature, connecting it to their own previous experience or goals for future work.


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