Research for Civil Society, Environment and Social Action (REACT)

About the REACT Cluster

The REACT research cluster brings together researchers with interests in civil society, from disciplines such as Applied Social Studies, Cooperative Studies, Geography and Law. Cluster researchers are members of the Irish Civil Society Research Network.

Aims and Objectives:

  • To bring together researchers from different disciplines with an interest in civil society research
  • To undertake interdisciplinary research and activity in the broad area of civil society
  • To encourage engagement and dissemination of knowledge between researchers and civil society and
  • To facilitate and enable civil society engagement with research and with the University.

Cluster Events

The REACT cluster hosts seminars and other events at which ISS21 members and invited speakers can share their research. Highlights from recent years include:

Leaving No One Behind: Health Inequalities on the Island of Ireland27 April 2023

This full-day online symposium was hosted by the ISS21 SHAPE & REACT Research Clusters.

Qualitative Research in Cross-cultural & Non-Western Settings22 March 2023

In this webinar Prof. Divya Sharma discussed ethical and methodological approaches and challenges in conducting qualitative research in cross-cultural and non-Western settings. Co-hosted by the REACT cluster, the UCC Ethics Committee and the School of Applied Social Studies Research Committee. A recording of the webinar is available here

Young People's Inclusion in Public Policy-making in Portugal, the UK and Ireland18 Oct. 2022

The seminar was co-hosted by the REACT and the Children and Young People research clusters.

Environmental Policy Making and the Circular Economy, 13 October 2022

This webinar featured a presentation on the circular economy from Cillian Lohan, VP for Communications of the European Economic and Social Committee, and a response from Dr Barbara Doyle-Prestwich, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences UCC. A recording is available here

Adapting Social Work and Health Practice Following COVID 19 and Other Disasters, 23 February 2022. 

The REACT Cluster, in partnership with colleagues from the School of Applied Social Studies (MSW Programme), hosted an online seminar with Margaret Alston, Professor of Social Work at Newcastle University, Australia. Details available here

ENERGISE: Enhancing the Transition to Energy Citizenship, 27 January 2022.

In this seminar Dr. Olive McCarthy, Centre for Co-operative Studies, UCC & Gwen Harris, North Dublin Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) reported the findings of the IRC-funded ENERGISE project. Further details and a recording of the seminar are available here

The University in the Era of Climate Change and the Responsibility of the Civic University, 13 October 2021.

As part of UCC Community Week 2021, the REACT Cluster hosted a seminar on the role of the university in the era of climate change with speaker Professor Keri Facer (University of Bristol) and discussant Professor John O’Halloran (President, UCC). Further details available here

Sustainability and the Environment: Developing New Disciplinary Norms in the Social Professions, November 2020 & March 2021

Two well-attended webinars with national and international speakers were held to explore the connections between environmental issues and the social professions, and to build the capacity of educators and practitioners to develop innovative environmental education practices. Further details and recordings are available at the following links: 10 March6 November

Exploring Men’s Sheds in South Kerry: Spaces of Social Inclusion, February 2020

In this seminar Dr Ray O’Connor (Dept. Geography, UCC) and Dr Richard Scriven (Geography) explored the different social features of Men's Sheds as distinct spaces that foster engagement, activity, and community purpose for (older) men living in rural areas.

REACT Cluster Research Slam, April 2019

On 18 April 2019, the REACT cluster organised a research slam, at which six cluster members gave short presentations on their current, completed or new research, followed by a lively Q&A session. Further details are available at the following link: research slam

Spaces for Change? The Practice and Policy of Community Participation in Local Governance in Ireland, November 2018

In November 2018 the Civil Society Cluster hosted a half-day seminar on the practice and policy of community participation in local governance in Ireland. Speakers at the event included: Dr Mary Murphy, Department of Sociology, National University of Ireland, Maynooth; Dr Aodh Quinlivan, Department of Government, University College Cork; Aiden Lloyd, Chair of the Rights Platform and member of South Dublin PPN Secretariat and LCDC; and Dr Catherine Forde, School of Applied Social Studies, University College Cork. The initial findings of an IRC-funded project on Irish local participatory governance was presented as part of the seminar. Details available at the following link: spaces for change

New Perspectives on Youth Political Participation, February 2018

At this half-day seminary in February 2018 Dr Nathan Manning (University of York), Dr Emily Rainsford (Newcastle University) and Rebecca Jeffers (UCC) presented papers based on their research on different aspects of youth participation. Following the presentations, Dr. Theresa Reidy chaired a roundtable discussion with James Doorley (National Youth Council of Ireland), Donnchadh O’Laoghaire TD (Sinn Féin), Laura Harmon (National Women’s Council of Ireland) and Thomas Atcha (UCC). For further details are available at the following link: youth participation

Transformation of the Community, Voluntary and Co-operative Sectors?  March 2017

This seminar explored the changing character of the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) and community co-operatives in England, and what we in Ireland can learn from recent developments. Speakers included Dr Mike Aiken, Visiting Research Fellow, Open University, UK, Deirdre O’Byrne, Centre for Adult Continuing Education, UCC and Noreen Byrne, Centre for Co-operative Studies, UCC. Further details available here

The Changing Landscape of Local and Community Development in Ireland: Policy and Practice, October 2015

On the 21 October 2015 the Civil Society Cluster hosted a conference which explored the changing nature of local and community development, with contributors from the university and the community sector. Further details available here

Research Projects

ISS21 research projects linked to the themes of the cluster include: 

INSPIRE Intersectional Spaces of Participation: Inclusive, Resilient, Embedded (2024-2027)

EUROBORDERWALKS Walking Borders, Risk and Belonging: Advances in ethno-mimetic research in the making and re-making of three European borders (2023-2026)

Youth Volunteering: building capacity for the future (2022-2023)

Volunteer Recognition: developing questions for the Irish Census (2023-2024)

CO-AGE - Exploring the Potential for the Development of Care Co-operatives to Support Older People to Age Well at Home (2021-2023)

Building Transnational Research Synergies: Participatory Governance for Inclusive Societies (2020-2021)

Strengthening Rural and Urban Volunteering (2019-2020)

A Critical Evaluation of the Implications of Participatory Governance (2017-2019)

Impact of Local Government Reform (2014-2015)

Changing Landscape of Local and Community Development (2014-2015)

Cluster Membership

For a list of cluster members, please click here Cluster Members

If you are interested in joining the REACT cluster, please contact the cluster leader, Dr Catherine Forde ( 


Cluster members at the REACT Cluster Research Slam, 2019

Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century (ISS21)

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