Researching Knowledge Co-production: what do we know and where do we go next?
On Tuesday 8th October 2019 we hosted our latest RURU event with the title “Researching Knowledge Co-production: what do we know and where do we go next?” 28 specially invited guests from a range of organisations, backgrounds and disciplines came together for this informal, interactive seminar exploring the current state of research on knowledge co-production.
After a brief introduction by RURU co-director Huw Davies, participants were challenged to complete the following phrase: “If knowledge co-production were an animal, it would be…” As ever, there were some brilliantly creative and meaningful responses, some of which included animals we’d never heard of!
We were then treated to three diverse presentations on knowledge co-production from our invited speakers.
- Kathryn Oliver from the London School of Hygeine & Tropical Medicine focused on the costs of co-production to researchers and stakeholders drawing on her personal experiences. See her paper on the ‘dark side’ of knowledge co-production here and her powerpoint presentation here.
- Emily St Denny from the University of Stirling invited us to consider co-production in the context of policy and policy learning. See her powerpoint presentation here.
- Benet Reid from the University of St Andrews presented the results of a literature review of knowledge co-production which has led to a conceptual framework for knowledge co-production. See his powerpoint presentation here.
As ever, there was plenty of time and space for discussion and much food for thought. One of our key questions was “Is ‘knowledge co-production’ a bad idea? Or a good idea, badly implemented – one insufficiently unpacked, contextualised, customised and contingently applied?” Discussion was rich with key insights focusing on the tendency towards judgemental rhetoric around co-production (if you don’t do it you’re bad, if you try to do it you’re naive, and if you do it you’re probably not doing it properly!), the power of co-production to uncover (sometimes unwelcome) unknowns and the often hidden assumptions and agendas at play within co-productive endeavours. There was also much discussion about the need to unpick what we mean when we talk about co-production, whether to identify and call out ‘tokenistic’ co-production and to discuss the different purposes and aims of co-production. Thanks to our RURU Twitter account and various Tweeters in the room, we were also able to reach out beyond our St Andrews gathering and gain the insights of others on knowledge co-production. We’ve created a Twitter moment to capture some of these which can be viewed here.
After all that thought, we were glad to end the day with dinner at the British Golf Museum, over which further discussion (not always about knowledge co-production) inevitably took place.
We received some lovely feedback from participants, which, as ever, makes all the hard work worthwhile!
I just wanted to thank you for yet another great RURU event! While the topic was of course a good one to get us all thinking more deeply, the nature and tone of the event underscored the special ‘USP’ of RURU. Once again, you provided the space for people to share uncertainties and even vulnerabilities, while working together to explore something undeniably ‘tough’.