The politics of co-production

Following on from the RURU meeting in May 2013, which considered current understandings of research use, priorities for future research and practice development, the RURU meeting on 25 November focused on the co-production of research knowledge.

Our two speakers on the day drew from their experiences in practitioner and academic settings and both have a commitment to co-producing research: Kevin Orr, Professor of Management at the University of St Andrews, presented his reflections on co-production based on work he and Mike Bennett, Director of Public Intelligence and formerly Director General of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives have conducted in the last few years; Dr Neil Lunt, Reader in Social Policy and Public Sector Management at York University, also shared his experiences engaging in co-produced research. The day was facilitated by Sandra Nutley and Kevin Orr of RURU/ School of Management.

Themes and issues explored on the day included:

  • The potential impact of co-production on research and policy making and the challenges and opportunities that may arise;
  • The politics of co-production, e.g. to what extent do practitioners and academics hold distinctive perspectives and motivations?
  • How does the relationship between researchers develop and how do co-producers manage their loyalties to each other and to their respective organisations?
  • How do the multiplicity of voices and interests within the one ‘research team’ come to be represented in research accounts?
  • Does co-production privilege academics by involving practitioners only on academics’ terms, or does the price of access and influence – and future commissions! – dilute academic independence?
  • What are the reflexive dynamics of academic-practitioner co-produced research and how do these impact upon the work?

A summary report of the event is available here.