Co-production of knowledge with plants, animals, materialities ...

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Are you tired of life?  Are you jaded by its materialist urgings?   Do you feel yourself helpless in a neo-liberal embrace?  Have you lost sight of what it is to be inter-human?  Do you no longer know who you really are and what you're for?   Do you feel as if your spiralling into that existential black hole of inconsequence?  If so, this could be the conference for you.

The blurb says:

The co-production of research with(in) communities is a welcome effort to democratize, de-centre and reenergize knowledge production (Durose et al ).  Inspired by a variety of feminist epistemologies, as well as emancipatory movements from South America and Africa (e.g. Freire), the central components of the co-production agenda have been the desire to support the inclusion of marginalised voices in the research process, to make research accountable to those it affects, and, in the process, to transform the practices of research and knowledge production. However co-production often remains in the human/social realm consisting of partnerships, collaborations, conflict management, development plans, etc. between individual and collective social agencies. We are concerned that co-produced research which stays within the (narrowly prescribed) social (human)  realm becomes ‘part of the problem’ rather than ‘part of the solution’ in terms of  long term flourishing of diverse life.

One of the foremost proponents of participatory research - Peter Reason – has argued that the ethical and political imperatives implicit within the co-production paradigm need to be extended to non-humans. Claiming that we need to re-conceive ourselves as embedded within biotic systems, Reason characterises the notion of the more-than-human as an emergent edge within participatory research. Durose et al have also drawn attention to how long-standing epistemological debates about the nature of knowledge and expertise lie at the heart of debate about the impact of co-producing research.

Engagement with a whole range of work that identifies human exceptionalism as a fundamental impediment to knowledge, has been recognized as key to effectively addressing socio-ecological challenges. The (neglected)  interdependencies between the social and the ecological are writ large in the current era of ‘ecocide’, and realigning them from toxic to therapeutic forms is essential. However, transformative dialogues between co-production practitioners and those working on the more-than-human, which promise so much for both approaches, have yet to take place.

Thus we are specifically interested to explore how co-produced research can be inclusive of a wider set of actors than just the human. And in how to meet the challenges and opportunities offered by exploring methods and philosophies of co-production and how it might be transformed by the recognition of experiences, desires and knowledges of more-than-human agencies. And, in turn, how more-than-human approaches might learn from the attentiveness to community, voice, participation and methodology which have been developed within the field of co-production.  The session draws inspiration from a variety of recent projects and writings which have sought to bring non-humans of one kind or another (plants, animals, technologies, and wider materialised processes) into knowledge co-production. These have variously engaged with ideas of empathy, agency, witnessing, experimental partnering, data sonification, narrative theory, conversation and voice to explore possibilities of co-working with non-humans.

Contributions (using tradition or non-tradition formats) might: -

  • report upon work that has sought to co-produce knowledge with non-humans.
  • speculate (plan) conceptually and methodologically on how co-productions with non-humans of differing stripe might be done.
  • Stages dialogues between specialists in co-production and those specialising in the more-than-human (broadly conceived).
  • Methods for more-than-human participatory research.
  • Explores what areas like animal-geographies could learn from participatory geographies?
  • Working with non-humans as agents? Including the place of scientific, craft and art expertise, learning from ethology and from those who work with and know particular non-humans.
  • De-centring the human? Moving from Cartesian knowing self to a more ecological form of self as collective/network.
  • Theriomorphism and projections of the human.

It's in London in August.  Can't wait.  Shall I see you there!

Posted in: News and Updates


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