This year’s Annual International Conference Chair, Professor Wendy Larner, was delighted by the response to the call for papers on this year’s theme of ‘geographies of co-production’. The programme includes dozens of sessions looking at co-production; here are just a few examples.
With an increase in the adoption of participatory and co-productive research practices, there is an attendant rise in tensions as organisations are put under increasing pressure to collaborate. Co-producing Enabling and Empowering Research: Power, Politics and Practice is a workshop session which brings together academics and individuals from disability and advocacy organisations and voluntary groups to discuss key questions related to co-production, including: ‘What, practically, is the co-production of knowledge’, ‘What stages of research should and can be co-produced?’ and ‘What are the limits of co-produced research?’. Professor Melanie Nind, author of ‘What is inclusive research?’ will connect the discussions during the workshop to the wider debates around inclusive and co-produced research.
In the cities of both industrialised and developing countries, co-production of basic services is increasingly seen as a possible way to secure sustainable access to essential services, but this relies on substantial contributions from both citizens and service providers. The session on Geographies of networked services co-production uses five case studies from across the globe to illustrate the many ways in which public services, such as water and energy supplies, can and are co-produced.
Historically, maps have often been portrayed as objective representatives of nature and viewed as the very embodiment of scientific fact. However, this dogma has been firmly challenged with the contemporary view that maps are expressions of power that create rather than reveal knowledge. Mapping Coproduction: Unsettling Mapping Practices explores this view further, and includes several examples of how non-experts can co-produce maps that help us to understand landscapes more fully.
Another important element of co-production of geographical research is that between academics and students. The conference includes a series of papers on innovations in teaching styles and which are presented during the Coproducing Geographical Research: Practical and Theoretical Approaches to Working with Student Researchers sessions. The co-creation of studies between scholars and students can provide insight and inspiration in teaching as well as learning. However, with growing student participation there are questions to be addressed with respect to the opportunities for fieldwork, degrees of power, and outcomes of co-productive student research practice.
Professor Michael Batty and Paul Theroux have both been awarded Royal Medals as part of a series of awards that recognise extraordinary achievement in geographical research, fieldwork and teaching, photography and public engagement.
30 April 2015
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