What works?

Sharing best practices in how civil society organisations use the internet in organising and building for socio-economic rights and Trust

This project is looking at how organisations built trust and resolved conflicts in this age of social media. We are doing research on what lessons can be learnt from the success of the Repeal movement. Our aim is to figure out what worked and to share our findings with other progressive movements in Ireland. We were both involved in the campaign and were especially impressed with how social media was used to organise and build up the campaign, develop coalitions and connections, and deal with the inevitable conflict that all movements have to handle.
Our project will look at how the Repeal campaign used digital technologies (eg whatapp). We will then be working with Housing campaign groups to share the information we have learned. This is the chief aim of the project: to share useful information about how to successfully run campaigns. In particular we are interested in learning how campaigns deal with conflict since this has always been a problem for progressive movements in Ireland – especially now with the advent of social media.
There are two parts to the project – information gathering and information dissemination.
On the first part, we will interview 24 activists who worked on the Repeal campaign. We will ask them questions about campaign organisation and  digital technologies. We will ask how people dealt with conflicts, especially online conflicts, within the campaign, how they built coalitions, relationships and trust. We want to document campaign experiences around the country, not just in Dublin.
In the next stage we will share this information with housing activist groups. We intend to use interviews to co-produce stories for training materials. From these we will create training resources and run a workshop on using digital technologies in organizing. We will archive our interviews (subject to consent).
In creating these resources, we’ll be directed by what the activists groups themselves want – we are setting up an advisory board to guide us in this.  In all of this, we are guided by our experience as both academics and activists – we want to produce truthful, honest knowledge – but also knowledge that is useful to our fellow activists.
Our research project is funded by the Irish Research Council and sponsored by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission. The funding enables us to employ a postdoctoral researcher and a postgraduate research assistant to work with us on the project. 
Principal Investigator:  Dr Aileen O’Carroll, Maynooth University
Co-Principal Investigator: Dr David Landy, Trinity College Dublin