Dialogues Across Participatory Workshops: Knowledge Contributions to an Ecology of Knowledges

LR Lonnie Rowell Public Seen by 478

As participatory workshops are held around the world, many participants have expressed an interest in sharing thoughts, ideas, suggestions, and proposals in regards to the upcoming Global Assembly for Knowledge Democracy. We hope that this conversation thread will generate much discussion of the important ideas coming out of the participatory workshops.


Jack Whitehead Fri 14 Apr 2017 6:40PM

The report on the Participatory Workshop of the 4th February 2017 is at (https://knowledgedemocracy.org/2017/02/15/report-on-the-carn-study-daypre-conference-workshop/)
Many participants in the workshop have already shared their knowledge contributions to an ecology of knowledges in the current issue and archive of the Educational Journal of Living Theories at EJOLTS . We are hoping to share your knowledge contributions to an ecology of knowledges that are emerging from your participatory workshop. Looking forward to your response and to any questions that you would like to raise or ideas you would like to share.


Lesley Wood Sat 15 Apr 2017 1:12PM

There is no doubt that the Decolonisation and Africanisation of our system ultimately works with the university structures and the interactive learning spaces, the classroom where the curriculum is enacted between the students and the facilitator. The importance of Action Research within communities cannot be denied. The observation of the student learning about themselves and the needs of communities – how these play out in communities, the student’s perception of what they and the community could do to enhance the constructive developments within the communities…etc…all this opens another life for students….who they are, what can be achieved and the understanding of the possibilities thinking and action in this regard, not wait let someone else do or tell us what needs to be done, these aspects are so pertinent to the education mission. It is like students releasing themselves from themselves….with the opportunities (spaces) for this to be enabled.

I am not sure that the university structures are geared for this. We may have to work with how the policies and the systems in place are enabling and not constraining the forward student actions, especially in communities. The issue of Ethics and Ethical applications for projects is one that constrains – module time frames (12 weeks) ; turnaround for applications, the control on what and what cannot be worked with and the lack of a listing of areas/topics that should not be worked with especially when working with undergraduate student teachers.

I would appreciate an input from colleagues on research conducted with undergraduate students – possibilities and challenges.

All the best



Lonnie Rowell Sun 16 Apr 2017 5:52PM

I think traditional universities will continue to struggle with "control" of knowledge production and dissemination for the foreseeable future. A co-author and I addressed this in the chapter on Knowledge Democracy in Palgrave International Handbook of Action Research. (http://www.palgrave.com/us/book/9781137441089). In my view the effort to build an alternative globalization needs a grounding in BOTH traditional sources of formal scholarship and the alternative ecology of knowledges available through action research, participatory action research, and indigenous knowledge shared through varied and challenging access to alternative epistemologies.

We need to be clear: The risks in the space in-between formal scholarship and the ebb and flow of knowledge democracy can be great. Just visit the history associated with the work of Carlos Castaneda, right up to the present-day shenanigans of his corporate legacy, Cleargreen, and you will grasp what I am pointing towards. If we want to avoid knowledge democracy and its advocates being placed in the position of a denigrated "pseudo-scientific" mumbo-jumbo, we will have to work hard on the ethics of explorations of other ways of knowing and will need to practice a rigorous knowledge mobilization that bridges traditional, university-based knowledge production and the risky realms of blurred visions between conventional and unconventional wisdom. We need large doses of courage as well as rigorous practice of what de Sousa Santos calls "intercultural translation."

Lonnie Rowell
La Mesa, CA


Mario Ardón Mejía Sat 29 Apr 2017 11:03AM

Y lo que Tomas Villasante enuncia como Transducción en su libro: Desbordes Creativos.


Lonnie Rowell Sat 29 Apr 2017 2:08PM

Interesting. Can you summarize what Villasante means by this term? Thank you.


Mario Ardón Mejía Mon 1 May 2017 6:36AM

Para Tomas R. Villasante en su libro Desbordes Creativos: Estilos y estrategias para la transformación social. La transducción va más allá de la simple y literal traducción e incluye los aportes a la comprensión más amplia de lo que el autor quiso decir. Otro ejemplo de transducción en otra dimensión es el realizado por Sam Colop (linguista indígena de Guatemala), cuando realiza con el apoyo de su padre y de su abuelo ambos indígenas quiche, la reescritura del texto antiguo del Popol Wuj al quiche moderno. Luego se dedica a traducirlo al español moderno y luego realiza un estudio para “estirar” el Popol Wuj. En donde por ejemplo en la lengua quiché la palabra TRANSPARENTE además de transparente como el vidrio, también significa ETERNO.


Florence Piron Sat 6 May 2017 7:58PM

Hi Lonnie
This book looks wonderful but the price!! It is a first world price. This book should be in open access so as to be accessible to the Global South... I am a professor at Université Laval in Canada and I am leading a research-action project on cognitive justice and open science in Haiti and Francophone Africa. Budd Hall introduced me recently to your movement and I'll be in Cartagena - alas without with my 2 colleagues from Cameroon and from Haiti : no travel money and complicated visa procedures for them...
By the way, I think that this persisting invisibility of these countries, the "Global Deep South", within science and knowledge democracy discussions is a fundamental problem. Epistemology is deeply linked to material conditions, not only during colonization, but nowadays and in this very Assembly! I hope we'll be able to discuss that matter and I'll try to find a way to make them present (through skype ou Facebook).
I attach a paper, written with 21 co-authors from Africa and Haiti, called Another science is possible, in which we describe our research-action and our way of inhabiting a fair ecology of knowledges. I'd be happy if someone woudl help me translate this text in English or Spanish or Portuguese!


Lesley Wood Wed 19 Apr 2017 7:35AM

We would like to take this conversation further through a special themed issue of Educational Research for Social Change. The call is attached:


Jose Ramos Sat 29 Apr 2017 3:09PM

I am merging the thread set up by Marie Huxtable here.

Jack Whitehead
Comment by Jack Whitehead
Hi Marie - I'm working with Budd Hall's and Rajesh Tandon's understanding of knowledge democracy:

"Knowledge democracy refers to an interrelationship of phenomena. First, it acknowledges the importance of the existence of multiple epistemologies or ways of knowing such as organic, spiritual and land-based systems, frameworks arising from our social movements, and the knowledge of the marginalized or excluded everywhere, or what is sometimes referred to as subaltern knowledge. Secondly it affirms that knowledge is both created and represented in multiple forms including text, image, numbers, story, music, drama, poetry, ceremony, meditation and more. Third, and fundamental to our thinking about knowledge democracy is understanding that knowledge is a powerful tool for taking action to deepen democracy and to struggle for a fairer and healthier world. Knowledge democracy is about intentionally linking values of democracy and action to the process of using knowledge."

I'm also responding to their request that we focus on:

"...what constitutes knowledge in the academy (whose knowledge counts), re-establish the centrality of attention to transformation in a world that everyday grows more unequal, more un-loving and less sustainable and create structures and processes for the co-creation of knowledge with social movements and civil society partners."

You ask:

"Please have a look at the current issue of EJOLTs at ejolts.net or browse through the archive to let me know if you think that the contributions to EJOLTS are also a contribution to an ecology of knowledges."

I'm working with de Sousa Santos' idea of an ecology of knowledges:

"The ecology of knowledges focuses on the concrete relations among knowledges and on the hierarchies and powers generated among them. Actually, no concrete practice would be possible without such hierarchies. The ecology of knowledges challenges universal and abstract hierarchies and the powers that, through them, have been naturalized by history."

I think that the contributions to the current issue of EJOLTs at http://ejolts.net/current and the archive at http://ejolts.net/archive are all contributing to an ecology of knowledges and to knowledge democracy. I also believe that creating and sharing the explanations by individuals of their explanations of educational influence with values that carry hope for the flourishing of humanity at http://www.actionresearch.net/living/living.shtml (for which they have received their doctorates from different universities around the world) are also contributing to an ecology of knowledges and knowledge democracy.

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Lesley Wood and Sadruddin Bahadur Qutoshi like this.
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Sadruddin Bahadur Qutoshi
Sadruddin Bahadur Qutoshi
Comment by Sadruddin Bahadur Qutoshi
Dear Jack,
I really like the way you have come up with notions of ecology of knowledge and knowledge democracy. Yes, I agree with you that whatever an individual consciously engages with multiple ways of knowing is a kind of contribution to self, others and beyond that can lead towards transformation. probably it could be a form of knowledge democracy, a knowledge that is used for the people, by the people and of the people.

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Rachael Burgess in reply to Sadruddin Bahadur Qutoshi
Its really good to see Sadruddin’s voice in writing on this forum. Last time we communicated his image was being projected onto a wall in my home via skype on 4th February during the first pre conference workshop/study day. I’m curious, intrigued and not a little excited that our learning together is being brought about in new ways. I like the idea about knowledge democracy being for, by and of the people.

I’d like to express my appreciation for Sadrudidn’s contribution to my personal learning from his Autoethnographical Soulful Inquiry (see http://www.actionresearch.net/living/sadruddin.shtml and http://ejolts.net/node/287). It crystallised a thought that maybe my personal practice enables an inner space for contemplation/reflection, living theory enables an educational space for learning and together can exist in me with others in a physical space in time and where distance is no object. Whilst hosting the day I witnessed a process being shared that allowed our ‘priceless’ values to form a learning platform for a transformative practice and make space for new knowledge.

Liz from the Bluewater Action Research Group in Canada so beautifully summed up at the end of our study day how the feeling of being together would not leave us and I can only assume can be attributed to her theory of being ‘loved into learning’. And Bruce’s perspective, when he joined us from South Africa, on Ubuntu was invaluable and served as a gentle reminder to me to be mindful when using concepts from another culture. Although Rosemarie from the Adlerian Research Group was only able to connect for a short time during the study day, her contribution was nonetheless significant and from her writing I had connected with the significance of the learning space being ‘safe’.

In the video on the Knowledge Democracy website Boaventura shares his idea that we expand the experience of democracy as a culture of conviviality and sociability. I believe every Friday when we meet here in Bath, we have that as a reality and that is in no small part due to Jack’s facilitation of our meetings. This week our Conversation Café was alive with a sense of joyous excitement and knowledges being brought together. It is very much my hope that the pre-conference workshop due to be held on 12th June in Cartagena brings more reality to the concept of an ecology of knowledges and furthermore demonstrates hope for our world by the offering and acceptance of our universal inheritance, the gift of learning together.

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Lonnie Rowell
Lonnie Rowell
Comment by Lonnie Rowell
Thank you for your contribution to the dialogue, Rachael. You have pulled together some important themes here. I appreciate the overview of the workshop's spirit and some of the specific contributions by participants. The Global Assembly Planning Group is hoping that we will have a number of such contributions from people participating in the various participatory workshops in the weeks to come. Regards.

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Mario Ardón Mejía Mon 1 May 2017 7:18AM

Estoy muy agradecido a la vida y poder hacer el esfuerzo de estar por ahí compartiendo sobre el amplio ámbito de Democratización del conocimiento y ecología del conocimiento. Por acá he estado desde hace mas de 30 años he ido pasando de una perspectiva disciplinaria, hacia lo inter disciplinario y lo transdisciplinario y con la suerte de estar recibiendo y construyendo influencias desde la perspectiva una perspectiva de la ciencia posnormal. En donde el pasado no deja de ser útil, pero el presente y el futuro se han abierto a mayores aprendizajes. Espero con alegría el poder estar en Cartagena y compartir. Abrazos y admiraciones fraternas.

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