IKM Emergent: How Wide Are the Ripples?

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IKM Emergent (http://www.ikmemergent.net) is a research programme based on a network of academics and practitioners who share a general concern with how development sector organisations select, handle and use knowledges in their work. It is organised through three working groups, one of which, ‘Dialogue, Discourse and Translation’ is concerned with illustrating the problems of and the opportunities for articulating, receiving and using knowledges produced in the global South to inform development thought and action. As part of this agenda, it seeks to understand better how the output of participatory processes with local populations is used in the development sector.

As far as we know, most study of participatory work focuses either on the work itself or on how it connects to the specific development research or programme to which it is connected. What role participatory work does have or could or should have in influencing wider development knowledge and decision making is seldom explored. IKM Emergent, in collaboration with PLA Notes, is therefore looking to stimulate a series for case studies which will illustrate good or bad examples of such processes. It is also looking for someone interested in conducting further research and producing on overview of the issue.

Case studies - prizes

IKM Emergent is offering one prize of €1,000 and up to five of €500 for the most interesting and relevant entries which cover any of the following

  • examples of the wider use – either within development organisations or in the public domain - of material produced through development related participatory processes outside the immediate research or programme context in which they had been conducted
  • examples of the distortion of messages or of significant failures to use or learn from output produced through such processes
  • examples of the subsequent use within the ‘participating community’ of lessons learned through engagement in participatory processes or from feedback to the community of the research findings to which such processes had contributed

It is envisaged that each case study be of between 2000-4000 words long. They may be presented in English, French, Spanish or Portuguese. The winners will be selected by editors of PLA Notes in collaboration with participants in the IKM programme. The winning case studies will be published in English in PLA Notes and through other channels by IKM Emergent under a creative commons license.

Researcher / Analyst Wanted

IKM is also looking for a researcher/analyst who would be interested in

  • conducting a survey of existing literature and grey literature to see to what extent the issue of the wider use of participatory material and in particular its use within information/knowledge management and learning processes within development organisations has already been addressed
  • conducting a survey of a small sample of development organisations to see if and how they publicised the results of participatory processes internally and if and how resulting material is stored, described and retrieved within their information systems
  • considering the broader lessons of the case studies
  • producing a paper which would analyse the issues involved, identify and describe good practice, identify areas of concern or of continuing ignorance, suggest further actions which IKM, participation communities of practice or development organisations might take

The researcher could be independent or part of an organisation. A grant in the region of €5000 would be paid to support this work. IKM Emergent would wish to publish a version of the final paper, again under a creative commons license.

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