Professional knowledge formation and organisational capacity-building in ACE: Lessons from the Victorian Research Circles

John McIntyre

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

2 Citations (Scopus)


The national reform agenda of the Council of Australian Governments challenges community education agencies to contribute to its goals and raises questions about their capacity to do so. It is crucial to define the conditions that are necessary to develop the capability of adult and community education (ACE) organisations to play a broader social and economic role. These include not only policy frameworks underwritten by strategic research, but the engagement of practitioners and organisations. The recent development in Victoria of Circles of Professional Research Practice, a form of participatory action research designed to promote such an engagement by ACE organisations, is analysed, drawing on material from an evaluation of the Circles intended to capture the experience, document its outcomes and recommend on its future applications. The article reviews the rationale of the 214 John McIntyre Professional knowledge formation and organisational capacity-building in ACE 215 Research Circles, describes aspects of their operation and analyses the factors creating conditions favourable to professional knowledge formation and organisational capacity building. In doing so, the Research Circles are theorised as a ‘negotiable space’ constructed at the intersection of policy, research and practice, drawing out implications for capacity-building in Australian community education and training organisations
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-234
Number of pages22
JournalAustralian Journal of Adult Learning
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


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