Edith Cowan University, Western Australia in association with Khon Kaen University, Thailand and Bansomdejchaopraya Rajabhat University, Thailand.
The study aimed to probe the characteristics of community, and community businesses and their development through a co-learning process between researchers, communities, and their alliances. The Participatory Action Research (PAR) was used as a tool to analyse response from 80 members of 10 community business groups in Amphoe Sansai, Chiangmai. Participants included professors, students, communities and alliance organizations to participate in identifying issues and their underlying cause in addition to developing and implementing an action plan based on the experience of the participants. The results indicated there was a disconnect between the local wisdom and technology which led to the establishment of the ―Harn Nam‖ project, the local handcraft conservation street. The collaboration between different organizations (e.g., local administrative organizations, Department of Community Development, Sansai community, Poverty resolving group, government agencies, private organizations) resulted in an exchange of ideas, and a willingness and commitment to participate in a collaborative process with benefits to educators and students. This accumulated knowledge could then be used to further develop a model for community development based on the appropriate context. The use of PAR as a research framework facilitates the development theory appropriate to community phenomena by applying system analysis and thinking system appropriate for the implementation and the development of the important role players, which were leaders and members of the groups. Furthermore, this framework has the potential to increase future participation of local people within the community for better adaptation within the Thai society.