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.


Mario Ardón Mejía Mon 1 May 2017 7:01AM

La transducción desde el propio Tomas R. Villasante en donde expresa como la TRADUCCION de Santos se acerca mucho a la TRANSSDUCCIÓN tal como aquí la planteamos: " pues:sin quedarse pegadas a la experiencia misma, tratan de dar un salto hacia nuevas dimensiones, no quedándose en la inducción ni en la deducción. No solo se trata de aprender de algunos aspectos superficiales de tales o cuales experiencias o planteamientos, sino de cambiar de plano, enfocar desde otras ópticas el conjunto de los procesos".(Villasante, 2006. p.35-36 del Libro DC).


Robyn Pound Mon 1 May 2017 7:48AM

Reply to Rachael Burgess,
Thank you Rachael for introducing those who attended the CARN pre conference study day in Bath in February this year, to this forum. Thank you Jack for awakening us to the importance of Living Theory and Adlerian Psychology to discussions in the Global Assembly about the democratisation of knowledge. This is a matter dear to my heart and I shall try to explain why.

Knowing myself as a grass roots community public health practitioner in the UK means my interest and activities are in being alongside people in their families and communities as they work out how to live their lives for the better. ‘For the better,’ vitalises people to lift their heads and look beyond themselves and their families to seek better for their communities. Together our gaze can be drawn to wider influences on our lives, the lives of others and our wider world. My interest is in encouraging people to decide for themselves how life should be in relationships spanning our uniquely personal horizons. To this end, I see as individuals collaboratively forming tentative, emergent knowledge motivating how we act together, while noticing influences on ourselves, our group and the world around us. I call it an alongside epistemology.

As a theory of knowledge, alongside epistemology for me is a process of collaboratively generating and testing personal knowledge for understanding, improving and explaining relationships in the endeavour of achieving goals of well-being. Practical alongsideness, and as an epistemology, is influenced by the philosophy of Alfred Adler, whose psychology of personal development recognises layers of socially interested functioning towards deeper feelings of community and harmony in belonging in the world. I find coherence between Living Theory educational research and the thoughtful educational processes of both Adlerian psychology and Health Visiting community practice in the UK. All three are about thoughtful and practical development of individuals in communities who are capable of positively influencing social change.

I am hopeful about the Dialogues Across Participatory Workshops promoting democratic ways of knowing. My lack of language other than English is a regret. Robyn


César Osorio Sánchez Mon 8 May 2017 1:35AM

Estimados colegas, reciban un calido saludo. Con este mensaje adjunto el reporte del taller peparatorio que se llevo a la cabo en la Universidad Pedagogica Nacional con la coordinacion y convocatoria de la Licenciatura en Educacion Comunitaria.


El día 25 de Abril, en la Universidad Pedagógica Nacional de Colombia se llevó a cabo el evento Taller participativo: Legado y vigencia del pensamiento de Fals Borda. Este evento conto con la participación de alrededor de 120 personas entre estudiantes, docentes de la Licenciatura en Educación Comunitaria con énfasis en Derechos Humanos y del Departamento de Educacion de la Universidad. El objetivo de este espacio era reconocer la actualidad y los caminos de la IAP como apuesta política y epistémica, en el trabajo académico y comunitario.

I. Sobre la vigencia de la IAP. En primer lugar, se debatió en torno a la actualidad de la IAP, y especialmente de las propuestas teóricas y metodológicas formuladas por Orlando Fals Borda. En este punto cabe destacar que en los tiempos actuales cobra pertinencia recuperar algunas ideas y preocupaciones expresadas en el I Simposio Mundial de IAP tales como: a) Darle centralidad a las ideas de Crisis y Conflicto, para abordar realidades que afectan los contextos institucionales y comunitarios tales como las implicaciones sociales y políticas del neoliberalismo, la destrucción de la naturaleza y de los proyectos de vida de las comunidades, los cuales hablan de una crisis del modelo civilizatorio extendido con la Modernidad Capitalista.

En relación con lo anterior, vuelve a ser pertinente la tarea de reconocer los aportes de distintas tendencias del pensamiento crítico que fueron decisivas para el desarrollo de la IAP. Precisamente, la conmemoración de los 40 años del I simposio mundial de IAP permite reconocer que, en América Latina, esta apuesta teórica y política es fruto de la convergencia de los aportes de las teorías de la dependencia, la educación popular, la teología de la liberación, el marxismo, las pedagogías críticas. Frente a las problemáticas del mundo contemporáneo, es importante reivindicar esta apertura y pluralismo en el plano epistemológico para seguir enriqueciendo la IAP con los aportes provenientes de las teorías decoloniales, el ecologismo, los feminismos, los aportes de los estudios de la subalternidad y poscoloniales, entre otras posturas que contribuyen a problematizar los modelos institucionales dominantes.

En igual sentido, en este espacio se presentó un recorrido biográfico-intelectual de la trayectoria de Orlando Fals Borda a los largo de sus más 50 años de producción académica. Este ejercicio permitió reconocer sus principales aportes en campos como: a) la maduración de la propuesta epistemológica y metodológica de la IAP; b) el estudio de problemas como la Violencia, las formas de vida y de organización campesina; c) sus propuestas en materia de ordenamiento territorial y democratización de las instituciones políticas y d) los aportes de las sociedades del sur en los procesos de descolonización del conocimiento.

II. Sobre las relaciones entre IAP e IA. A partir del balance de las prácticas pedagógicas e investigativas de la Licenciatura en Educacion Comunitaria se abrió un intercambio acerca de las relaciones y convergencias entre Investigación Acción (IA) e Investigación Acción Participativa (IAP). Llama la atención en este campo el interés y necesidad de seguir estableciendo puntos de dialogo entre las apuestas participativas de producción del conocimiento, e igualmente, reconocer los interesantes diálogos entre investigadores, activistas y educadores que dieron lugar al posicionamiento de estas propuestas como puntos de partida para el enriquecimiento y sistematización de las lecciones aprendidas tanto en el trabajo académico como comunitario.

III. Experiencias y polifonías de la IAP en las prácticas pedagógicas e investigativas. Finalmente, uno de los aspectos centrales de la jornada fue el intercambio de avances de Investigación por parte de estudiantes y maestros. En este espacio fueron presentados los aportes en temas como: 1) la importancia de la IAP en el análisis y en el desarrollo de procesos pedagógicos con mujeres campesinas de las regiones de Colombia; 2) el lugar de la IAP en el acompañamiento de proyectos educativos con jóvenes de comunidades urbanas-populares en Bogotá; c) el análisis del concepto de corporalidad en los trabajos de la IAP; d) los aportes de la IAP en el trabajo con víctimas del conflicto armado interno en regiones del país que han vivido intensos niveles de violencia y e) contribuciones de la IAP en la construcción y puesta en marcha de proyectos educativos con comunidades indígenas.

Este ejercicio de dialogo permite observar que la propuesta de la IAP sigue actualizándose, tomando nuevos sentidos y recursos metodológicos, tanto en el plano de la reflexión académica como desde el trabajo colaborativo entre comunidades e instituciones educativas. Aspectos como la lectura crítica de los contextos, la incorporación de metodologías investigativas y educativas basadas en el dialogo de saberes, el reconocimiento de nuevas identidades y de necesidades para transformar las visiones dominantes de la educación, siguen presentes como principios que orientan las prácticas de comunidades, estudiantes y maestros.

Entre los grandes retos en el momento actual se destacan, en primer lugar, profundizar los procesos de sistematización de los aprendizajes y de los desarrollos conceptuales fruto de los procesos reales de IAP, en segundo lugar, cultivar y enriquecer los diálogos interdisciplinares que alimentan estas experiencias, y en tercer lugar, avanzar en procesos de dialogo con otras experiencias internacionales para consolidar comunidades y redes académicas colaborativas. La IAP es una apuesta epistemológica critica que cobra vida en procesos académicos que propenden por la construcción democrática del conocimiento, así como en las vidas de las comunidades que construyen otras formas de comprender y transformar la realidad.


Jose Ramos Mon 8 May 2017 3:24AM

Estimado César

Aqui he usado google translate para traducir tu visión de conjunto.

Hi everyone,

I have used google translate to provide a quick translation of Cesar's post. It is not perfect, but may at least provide some english language reference. César and others, you are all welcome to elaborate any nuances that need to be added.


Dear colleagues, a warm greeting.

With this message I attach the report of the preparatory workshop that was carried out in the National Pedagogical University with the coordination and call of the Program in Community Education.


On April 25, at the National Pedagogical University of Colombia, we held the event Participatory Workshop: Legacy and Validity of Fals Borda's thinking. This event included the participation of about 120 people among them students, teachers of the Degree in Community Education with an emphasis on Human Rights and the Department of Education of the University. The objective of this space was to recognize the current approach of the IAP as a political and epistemic commitment in academic and community work.

About the validity of the IPA - Investigación-Acción Participativa / Participatory Action Research (IAP/PAR). In the first place, it was discussed around the current position of the IPA (PAR), and especially of the theoretical and methodological proposals formulated by Orlando Fals Borda. At this point it is important to emphasize that in current times it is pertinent to recover some ideas and concerns expressed in the First IAP / PAR World Symposium, such as:

a) Give a centrality to the ideas of Crisis and Conflict, to address realities that affect the institutional and community contexts such as the social and political implications of neoliberalism, the destruction of nature and the life projects of communities, which speak of a crisis of the civilizing model extended with Capitalist Modernity.

In relation to the above, the task of recognizing the contributions of different tendencies of critical thinking that were decisive for the development of IPA/PAR is again relevant. It is precisely the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the First World Symposium of IAP/PAR that recognizes that in Latin America this theoretical and political commitment is the result of the convergence of the contributions of dependency theories, popular education, theology of Liberation, Marxism, and critical pedagogies. Faced with the problems of the contemporary world, it is important to vindicate this openness and pluralism at the epistemological level in order to continue enriching the IAP with the contributions coming from decolonial theories, ecologism, feminisms, contributions from studies of subalternity and postcolonial, among other positions which contribute to problematizing dominant institutional models.

In the same sense, in this space, a biographical-intellectual tour of the career of Orlando Fals Borda was presented along its more than 50 years of academic production. This exercise allowed the recognition of its main contributions in fields such as: a) the maturation of the epistemological and methodological proposal of the IPA/PAR;

B) the study of problems such as violence, forms of life and peasant organization;

C) their proposals on territorial organization and democratization of political institutions and

D) the contributions of southern societies in the processes of decolonization of knowledge.

On the relations between IAP/PAR and IA / Action Research. From the balance of pedagogical and investigative practices of the Program in Community Education, an exchange was opened about the relations and convergences between Action Research (IA) and Participatory Action Research (IAP). In this field, attention is drawn to the interest and need to continue establishing dialogues between participative bets on knowledge production, and to recognize the interesting dialogues between researchers, activists and educators that led to the positioning of these proposals as starting points for the enrichment and systematization of the lessons learned in both academic and community work.

Experiences and polyphonies of the IAP/PAR in pedagogical and investigative practices. Finally, one of the central aspects of the day was the exchange of research advances by students and teachers. In this space the contributions were presented on topics such as:

1) the importance of IPA/PAR in the analysis and development of pedagogical processes with peasant women in the regions of Colombia;

2) the place of the IAP/PAR in the accompaniment of educational projects with young people from urban-popular communities in Bogota;

3) the analysis of the concept of corporality in the works of IPA/PAR;

4) IPA/PAR contributions to work with victims of the internal armed conflict in regions of the country that have experienced intense levels of violence; and

5) contributions from IPA in the construction and implementation of educational projects with indigenous communities.

This exercise of dialogue allows us to observe that the IAP/PAR proposal continues to be updated, taking new meanings and methodological resources, both in terms of academic reflection and collaborative work between communities and educational institutions. Aspects such as critical reading of contexts, the incorporation of investigative and educational methodologies based on the dialogue of knowledge, the recognition of new identities and needs to transform the dominant views of education, are still present as principles that guide the practices of communities, students and teachers.

Among the major challenges at the present time, it is important to first deepen the processes of systematization of learning and of conceptual developments resulting from the actual IAP/PAR processes. Secondly, to cultivate and enrich the interdisciplinary dialogues that feed these experiences , And third, to advance in processes of dialogue with other international experiences to consolidate collaborative academic communities and networks. The IAP/PAR is a critical epistemological commitment that comes to life in academic processes that tend to the democratic construction of knowledge, as well as in the lives of communities that build other ways of understanding and transforming reality.


Christine Edwards-Groves Mon 8 May 2017 10:35PM

In a recent participatory workshop with a group of Australian Aboriginal scholars working in Teacher Education we discussed ideas around knowledge, democracy and knowledge democracy and what these ideas mean to contemporary indigenous peoples. In particular we discussed what this means for the Australian context where an unevenness in preparedness and capacity for predominant "anglo-structured" universities to shift processes because of an enduring grasp on ways of knowing and the cemented business-management of the sector.

One of the key messages from the "collaborative conversation" was that in many cases indigenous people are encouraged to "live and work in two worlds". This relates to young people at school, those living and working in community, and those in the professions. However, the view among the scholars present was that this view itself in fact may "other" their people even more greatly with this doubleness creating further walls and barriers as they move between these worlds. It raised the question for them, "How does one live in two worlds?"For them, it is about "living differently - all of us - in this one world", that "indeed, that is all we have is this one world".

There is something to be said for us to be thinking about knowledge and democracy and the ideas we discuss in this place - how can we all as individuals and a collective "live well, in a worlds worth living in".

Watch this space :)


Karin Rönnerman Sun 14 May 2017 1:30PM

In the dialogues held among a group of researchers from Norway and Sweden the concept of bildung (in Swedish bildning) was discussed as the way to see knowledge not just being tested but also as a way to live your life. Bildung is hard to translate into English but a good methafor is travelling. When you begin your travel you are lookiing for new things and learn on the way, when you come back you are not the same person, new scills are added as knowledge. How do we keep this in mind in Education?
Bildung is for fostering democratic citizens, not just an elit, to take part in a community, it is a lifelong process knowing how to act in democratic ways.


Christine Edwards-Groves Tue 16 May 2017 6:53AM

Pedagogy Education and Praxis International Research Network

Knowledge Democracy: Considerations, understandings and challenges for
intercultural empathy and action

The following comments and questions summarise discussions between network members from Sweden, Norway, Finland, The Netherlands, New Zealand and Australia. Discussions took place as part of the 11th annual network meeting in December, at Brisbane, Australia, 2016. Points raised are presented in no particular order, but represent a summary of group dialogues around the national and international meanings brought to and taken from the concept.

Democracy is neither a possession nor a guaranteed achievement. It is forever in the main; it might be through of as a possibility – moral and imaginative possibly. For surely it has to do with the way persons attends to one another, care for one another, and interact with one another. It has to do with choice and alternatives, with the capacity to look at things as though they could be others. (Maxine Green, 1985, p. 3)

Citizens in a democracy have the convictions and enthusiasms of their own responses, yet they are willing to keep an open mine about literate points of view, and finally are able to negotiate meanings and actions that respect both individual diversity and community needs.
To overcome our tendency to follow authority blindly, we need to devel9op confident in our own ability to interpret and judge what we observe around us in the world. But confidence and outspoken individuals must be complemented by a tradition of conduct for reconciling difference among their responses. (G. Pradl, 1996, pp. 11-12)

In our initial discussions, three broad questions were considered – what does one consider knowledge to be? What does one consider democracy to be? How do these two concepts relate?

  1. Knowledge democracy should not simply be considered as a social, civil, political or theoretical concept but as a practice. And if we take it to be a practice then what are the practices and practice architectures that enable and constrain its associated language, work and power in different contexts (national, international, economic, political social, cultural). That is: a) what are the cultural-discursive, material-economic and social-political arrangements that influence the practices that its presence? b) What are the site-based conditions that enable and constrain the practices that make knowledge democracy possible? c) How are the practices of knowledge democracy related to the concept of “praxis” in both/either a neo-Aristotelian and Marxist sense?
  2. Knowledge democracy or knowledge mobilization ought to be understood as issues of justice and suffering/ poverty, not just “epistomological questions”
  3. Knowledge democracy or knowledge mobilization as both ethical conduct and moral action
  4. Inspired by Feld and Basso’s collection “Wisdom sits it places” - then so too does knowledge. Then how is knowledge shared, what is privileged and neglected in broader intercultural conversations?
  5. How can people from all nations “bring knowledge and wisdom to broader conversations about knowledge, about first nations peoples and the perspective that ‘wisdom sits in places’” (“Wisdom Sits in Places: Landscapes and Language Among the Western Apache”, edited by Stephen Feld and Keith Basso).
  6. How can those in education identify knowledge, ways of being and 'acts of engagement' ('wisdom sits in places' type moments???) that have relevance across many educational settings. It is from engagement in such debate and discussion that we might be able to develop the educational practices.
  7. What is the role of AR and participatory approaches for innovation and development for creating spaces for interthinking and intercultural thinking, agency and interagency?
  8. Democracy can be a double-edged sword - internal and external exigencies at play simultaneously -
  9. Mobilisation or colonisation????
  10. How do we avoid knowledge colonisation? What kinds of dialogues avoid this
  11. Advocacy for the silenced? And marginalized? - still remain ‘taken-for-granted’ ideologies - said but still often not understood a) Recognition of subaltern cultures, groups and language is need in the world b) World Back and UNESCO use high flown language about such issues but justice and thriving still wait c) Interestingly even in a PISA climate some research voices are silences, marginalised and ignored
  12. Who are the actors in the mobilization of knowledge? How is their presence enabling and constraining for democratic action? And how does this relate to communicative action (in Habermasian terms)?
  13. Individual and collective action - Who has the power? The Agency? The Solidarity? Where/what are the contestation of ideas?
  14. How do people get stirred into the knowledges of others? What are the practices that lead to reflect accomplish democracy?
  15. In what ways is knowledge “shape” shifting in the contemporary mileu?
  16. Inspired by Friere’s work - reading and literacy connects both to “reading and understanding the world and the world” - where is the access? How is this enabled? And constrained by practices
  17. Relates to Wittgenstein’s work - The limits of my language are the limits of my world”
  18. Need for intercultural thinking through the lens of ethnographies
  19. Economy talks - who are excluded from the world? Education? Discourse?
  20. Bhutan - the happiness - economy factor
  21. OECD, EU, World Bank etc (and even PISA) as powerful (international) and systems for knowledge production - priding themselves on “the importance of being a node” (Castells) in the work system”, BUT there are mechanisms for this production of knowledge that are not visible and in fact neglect many nations - so what does it mean for a nation to be “an education node” that is embedded in a “knowledge production system” that to a large extend is invisible? In terms of production of exclusion/inclusion and inequality?
  22. What knowledge counts as valid knowledge? a) Knowledge related to economics is related to work and power; b) knowledge related to discourses is related to language and power; and c) knowledge related to relationships and ways of relating is related to sociality and power (including solidarity and agency) d) What is the relationship between validation of knowledge and power - Lingard’s point about private companies taking over schools add substance to this issue
  23. In whose interests do we act?
  24. Education knowledge - PISA results do not cover everything - school’s although being both pressured and dis-empowered by such mechanisms for validating nationhood and knowledge might do well to reconsider knowledge and what constitutes it - how do we make implicit and tacit and site-based knowledge count against the regimes of accountability
  25. Knowledge for Education - privilege, dominance, generated by master tools (what theoretical paradigms, western knowledge still prevails in education - shifting the paradigm is the next thing towards true knowledge democracy
  26. Globally and intercultural knowledge; local knowledge
  27. Contemporary knowledge mobilisation - Technology and its influence for knowledge mobilisation - but what does it omit? Hide? Ignore?
  28. Sense that we need to “seek first to understand before we are understood” (after Stephen Covey) - change our Western Habits of Mind
  29. Nell Noddings and the pedagogy of care - a foundation for knowledge democracy
  30. Knowledge is socially constructed, shaped and reshaped in sites - what are the communitarian influences - values, norms and groups; what sites of knowledge
  31. Knowledge forms the “currency” for getting on - who’s knowledge counts when making a contribution to economics?
  32. Knowledge is mobilised in dialogic spaces - what are the practices of these spaces that does indeed mobilise it? Dialogical knowledge - the space that lies between people -
  33. Knowledge for liberation and emancipation
  34. Creating spaces for interlocutors to form intersubjective empathies and agreement towards what counts here and now; that is Agreement about how best to continue
  35. Knowing that, knowledge how, knowing why; and therefore, that a) knowledge is not ‘all in the mind’ b) knowledge is intersubjective c) Knowing that (propositional) and knowing how (pragmatic/tacit)
  36. Principles of AR and CPAR and other participatory approaches to knowledge development, affirmative action and sharing .. so that participants have opportunities to engage in sharing visions for a better future, creating collaborations and concrete plans for participatory research and development projects across national and disciplinary borders…
  37. There is a need to (re)consider how knowledge and knowledge practices are ecologically connected with a range of education practices (leadership, professional development, teaching, learning, professional development, community development and research)
  38. Democracy is
  39. Epistome-techne-praxis: Consider histories of knowledge theoria: a) Episteme - knowing that - theoretical b) Techne - knowing how - technical c) Phronesis - knowing why - moral and ethical
  40. knowing for - critical For Habermas, knowledge constitutes interests and alternative knowledge and perspectives - feminist, indigenous, postcolonial, gay/ sexual minorities etc

Lonnie Rowell Tue 16 May 2017 4:51PM

I see much exciting and creative work now taking place in the loomio space for the Global Assembly. I will share some thoughts on all this in the coming days. As most will understand, my days are now filled with countless details related to final preparations for Cartagena. For today, however, I do want to share something that came to me through email just recently. See the note below from scholar Gabriele Bammer. If you can, take a few minutes to follow the link she provides: https://i2insights.org/2017/05/16/social-learning-impacts/. This is some fascinating work. I only wish that the researchers involved were able to be with us on June 16. Most action researchers will recognize, of course that "Knowledge co-production is a social learning process with cognitive, relational, normative & emotional dimensions." What I find so interesting in their work
addressing the question "How can science truly support sustainability transformations?" is the assertion of the researchers that "In our research projects we often find that the very process of co-producing knowledge with stakeholders has transformative impacts. This requires careful design and implementation. Knowledge co-production in transdisciplinary and other research leads to social learning and can make a difference in the lives of those involved." The examples they examine are from Laos and Myanmar.

In my view, this is an important element in the potential of knowledge democracy as a social movement (action) as well as a vantage point from which to deeply examine the impact of transformative work in an intercultural context (theory). In other words, an explicit commitment to co-producing knowledge (i.e. democratizing knowledge), if and when enacted in actual projects, can result in transformative experiences that impact participants, including researchers, on multiple levels of being. This is an exciting prospect and points the way towards an orientation towards research, and indeed towards science in general, that has the potential for strengthening solidarity with people and with communities. It is, that is, a way out of the anti-science orientation of many people at this time.

Just to share -

Lonnie Rowell

Gabriele Bammer Gabriele.Bammer@anu.edu.au via jiscmail.ac.uk
12:49 PM (20 hours ago)


Examples from Laos & Myanmar. Includes stakeholder participation & social learning by walking the land together. Knowledge co-production is a social learning process with cognitive, relational, normative & emotional dimensions. See great new blog post by Flurina Schneider, Lara M. Lundsgaard-Hansen, Thoumthone Vongvisouk, and Julie G. Zähringer at https://i2insights.org/2017/05/16/social-learning-impacts/

Professor Gabriele Bammer
National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health
Research School of Population Health
ANU College of Medicine, Biology and Environment
The Australian National University
62 Mills Road
Acton ACT 2601
Theme leader, National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), University of Maryland
ANU Public Policy Fellow

+61 2 6125 0716
CRICOS Provider # 00120C


Nina Wallerstein Thu 8 Jun 2017 8:20PM

I will be excited to join in on the first international conference on Knowledge Democracy. In our new book, coming out this Fall, Community Based Participatory Research for Health: Advancing Social and Health Equity, in the theory chapter, Bonnie Duran and I have tried to incorporate the dialogues coming our of the Global South for cognitive justice and have been working with the ideas of CBPR as a social movement. In the U.S., we do struggle with the contradiction of not wanting to be driven only by the positivist science of NIH, yet also seeking opportunities of support from NIH for very important and also liberatory partnered research. I look forward to this conversation throughout the whole week. Here's a flyer for the next book. Best and Abrazos, Nina Wallerstein, University of New Mexico.