Break-out session: Co-creating knowledge in fragile settings. The power of interactive research

People engaged in policy and practice are not just knowledge consumers but also knowledge actors. Research projects are forms of collaboration where the researcher retains his/her independence, yet interacts with stakeholders throughout the projects in ways that recognise their complementarity. Does it really work in practice? What do partners learn from the interaction and can it be improved?

Moderator: Ulrich Mans (Centre for Innovation, Leiden University). Break-out round 1.

This session aimed to collaboratively draw up a manifesto on interactive research in fragile settings.

To begin, Dorothea Hilhorst (WUR/IS Academy) offered two insights based on the 5 years of University-Ministry interaction during the IS Academy Human Security in Fragile States. (i) Learning requires an enabling and systematic infrastructure in an organisation. (ii) Learning can be enhanced by making use of ad-hoc opportunities when the demand for learning pops up. 

Moderator Ulrich Mans then divided the audience into groups of three to four people who were instructed to write on post-its: single words, then brief statements, then full sentences, about how they think co-creation of knowledge in a fragile world should happen. These words and statements were grouped around the three themes of vision, risks, and opportunities.

Gathering the contributions of all groups, people were asked to vote for five of their favourite elements. The three statements receiving the most votes were:

  • "we need honesty about agendas"
  • "transparency without honesty is a lie"
  • "all starts with local knowledge"

The results were shaped into a manifesto to be shared with all participants of the conference.

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