Written by Mariah Cannon, Robert Chambers and Alice Webb
Here at the Institute of Development Studies, on the second floor of the Octagon, is a hidden treasure trove: the Participation Resource Centre (PRC). Full of useful resources on participatory methods and the theory of power and participation, for many years, it was funded, open to the public and photocopies of materials were posted across the globe to interested parties on request. This legacy is still evidenced by the envelopes and photocopies stacked in the PRC ready to find their way to new and curious hands.
Over the years, as funding dwindled, requests for materials lapsed, and online availability of resources improved, we entered a period of uncertainty about the PRC’s future. Since Robert Chambers decided to reduce his involvement in work at IDS just before the pandemic, he has also been clearing out his office at home, and as his colleagues and friends, many of us have been ferrying in new boxes of literary gold (often handsomely compensated with tea, cake and excellent conversation from Robert and his wife, Jenny), putting it in the PRC until we knew what to do with it.