Ms Kit Slatford

Research project: Building Community: Storytelling in Libraries


The legacy of austerity in the UK has necessitated a rethinking of the role of public libraries and their scope and purpose within our communities. This project will investigate storytelling as a tool for community development and well-being, focusing on how storytelling can be used by Library Services to bring together diverse local communities.

This research will take a participatory action approach to collaborate with communities from the outset to co-design storytelling. It will use an Asset-Based approach that identifies and mobilizes the micro-skills of individuals and macro-assets of existing associations and institutions towards collaborative development (Nurture Development, 2018). The thesis will also include an adaptable and scalable storytelling toolkit that can be used as a blueprint to roll out across other libraries or contexts in future.

Partnering with Camden Borough Library Services, the CDA will result in a deeper understanding of how to strengthen community cohesion and engagement with libraries through storytelling by providing a series of test cases with groups across Camden in order to identify best practice for how libraries and stories can be used as community assets to engender social transformation.

  • Research degree: PhD
  • Title of project: Building Community: Storytelling in Libraries
  • Research supervisor: Dr Meg Jensen


As part of the ‘Born in Bradford' project at the University of Leeds, I conducted research into the reading and writing skills of disadvantaged children for my undergraduate thesis. Following this, I assessed public acceptability of renewable energy sources in a region in the Netherlands as part of my Master's degree. Previously, I have taught English as a second language in the UK and abroad and was a teacher at a primary school. I am interested in community development and working with underserved groups in the community. I began my PhD in 2023 and am working in collaboration with Camden Library Services.      

Areas of research interest

  • Community Development
  • Storytelling
  • Participatory Action Research
  • Libraries
  • Community Spaces
  • Asset-based Community Development
  • Community cohesion
  • Wellbeing


  • BSc Psychology (International), University of Leeds with year abroad at McMaster University Canada (2015)
  • MSc Environmental Psychology, University of Groningen, the Netherlands (2018)
  • PGCE Education, Kingston University (2020)

Funding or awards received

  • Techne AHRC fully funded studentship (2023-2027)