Current Projects

SARF works on research and projects that provide a deeper understanding of the different dimensions of poverty and marginalisation. SARF conducts action research alongside delivering practical changes that can help address social challenges at a local, regional and national level.

Here you will find a brief summary of our current projects.

White Working Class Communities

The Social Action & Research Foundation has conducted research for the Open Society Foundation’s ‘At Home in Europe Project’. This explores the political, social, cultural and economic participation of marginalised groups in Western Europe through an in-depth study of Higher Blackley. This project is part of a comparative research series that examines local level approaches to engaging with, and addressing the needs of, marginalised majority populations.

This report has been described by Simon Kuper in the Financial Times as a “portrait [that] should change our understanding of this class.”

Sustainable Urban Development

SARF is working with the Salford University’s Centre for Sustainable Urban and Regional Futures, as part of their MISTRA Urban Futures programme. This includes the co-production of Fair, Green and Dense cities across five cities – Cape Town, Gothenburg, Greater Manchester, Kisumu, and Shanghai. SARF has worked with local communities across Greater Manchester to develop a grass-roots approach to sustainable urban development that explores issues of governance, knowledge and policy. In the coming months, we will be working with a team exploring how food policy at a city level can produce more equitable and sustainable approach.


Does ‘Poverty Porn’ undermine the Welfare State?

This event, co-hosted by Social Action & Research Foundation (SARF) and Dr Kim Allen, Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), focused on the relationship between welfare policy and media representations of poverty, informed by recent debates about so-called ‘poverty porn’. Presented as ‘documentary’ and referenced by coalition politicians as evidence for the need for welfare reform, these programmes raise questions on the impact of stigmatising media portrayals of poverty on government policy and public attitudes towards welfare.

For more information, please see