Decolonising your writing

By kate harriden

i2s-logo
kate harriden’s biography

As an Indigenous person, it is draining, infuriating and tedious to consistently encounter recently written academic material that invokes, seemingly uncritically, colonial tropes. Paired with these tropes is usually a mix of arrogance, condescension and ignorance on which notions of ‘western’ superiority are based. I am Totally. Over. It. Not only are these tropes inaccurate and offensive, they allow the colonized researcher to avoid critiquing the impacts of colonization and (un)conscious biases in their work.

If you don’t understand ‘the problem’, chances are you are part of it, so sit down and open your mind as we go through this together. Hopefully the tips provided on how to decolonize your academic writing will start your journey into decolonizing writing.

Learning to recognize colonial writing

Undoubtedly you have read substantially more academic material imbued with colonial values and assumptions than decolonial academic material.

Read more

Five core competency areas for participatory modeling

By Sondoss Elsawah, Elena Bakhanova, Raimo P. Hämäläinen and Alexey Voinov

mosaic_authors_sondoss-elsawah_elena-bakhanova_raimo-hamalainen_alexey-voinov
1. Sondoss Elsawah (biography)
2. Elena Bakhanova (biography)
3. Raimo P. Hämäläinen (biography)
4. Alexey Voinov (biography)

What knowledge and skills do individuals and teams need to be effective at participatory modeling?

We suggest that five core competency areas are essential for participatory modeling:

  1. systems thinking
  2. modeling
  3. group facilitation
  4. project management and leadership
  5. operating in the virtual space.

These are illustrated in the figure below.

These competency areas have naturally overlapping elements and should therefore be seen as a holistic and interdependent set. Further, while certain competencies such as modeling skills can be addressed by individual members of a participatory modeling team, the entire process is a team effort and it is necessary to also consider the competencies as a group skill.

Read more

Wisely navigating knowledge co-production: Towards an ethics that builds capacities

By Guido Caniglia and Rebecca Freeth

authors_guido-caniglia_rebecca-freeth
1. Guido Caniglia (biography)
2. Rebecca Freeth (biography)

How can I ensure that marginalized voices are heard in this project? Whom do I call on to offer the next perspective in this workshop and why? How can I intervene in this particular disagreement in a productive way? These are typical questions that researchers and practitioners involved in knowledge co-production processes ask themselves. They express deep ethical concerns, which also have epistemological and political implications, as they address the question: What should I do in this situation? What is right and wrong for me to do here?

We suggest that a perspective based on the ancient virtue of practical wisdom may help researchers and practitioners alike working in knowledge co-production to navigate the complexities of these questions.

Practical wisdom: An ancient virtue for wise navigation

Our answers to the deep ethical questions that emerge in collaborative and participatory research will vary depending on the specifics of the situation we are in, who is involved, as well as our own positionality and role in research projects or academic institutions. There is no formula to follow. 

Read more

Three lessons for community engagement in international research

By Aysha Fleming

aysha-fleming
Aysha Fleming (biography)

What’s required for researchers to effectively engage with local communities in international research tackling complex socio-ecological problems?

In a project involving Indonesian and Australian researchers working with local communities to restore peatlands in Indonesia, we identified three key elements for international collaboration with stakeholders:

  1. project design
  2. individual and collective skills and competencies
  3. processes to support knowledge integration.

Project design

Read more

Understanding diversity primer: 9. Team roles

By Gabriele Bammer

primer_diversity_9_team-roles

What is the range of roles that members of a team need to cover in order for the team to be effective? What strengths and weaknesses are associated with each role?

Teamwork is common in research on complex societal and environmental problems. The Belbin team roles identify nine clusters of skills that need to be included within a team for it to be most effective. An individual can bring more than one cluster of skills to the team, with most people having two or three Belbin team roles that they are comfortable with.

Read more

Stakeholder engagement primer: 10. Advanced skills

By Gabriele Bammer

primer_stakeholder-engagement_10

Once researchers understand the basics of stakeholder engagement, what else is it useful for them to know? What additional concepts, methods and processes are helpful additions to their skill set so that they can engage more effectively?

Two areas for building additional skills are considered here:

  • Understanding and managing power and control
  • Working effectively with multiple stakeholders.

These areas are ripe for consolidation of existing knowledge and experience, as well as of useful tools. Here only some considerations are sketched out, drawing predominantly on key contributions to the i2Insights blog.

Understanding and managing power and control

Read more

Developing facilitation capacities in graduate students

By Gemma Jiang and Robert Hacku

authors_gemma-jiang_robert-hacku
1. Gemma Jiang (biography)
2. Robert Hacku (biography)

What does it take for graduate students to become good at facilitation? What skills do they need to learn and how can such skills best be imparted?

A facilitator is someone trained in the skill of shaping group dynamics and collective conversations. In cross-disciplinary research, thoughtful facilitation is necessary to enable effective interaction across disciplines and sectors.

We describe an apprentice facilitator program developed in a cross-disciplinary research team comprised of nine faculty and 15 graduate students from four academic institutes, representing six disciplines.

Five apprentices were selected from the graduate students on the team. The program was one semester long and took on average one hour per week.

Read more

Stakeholder engagement primer: 1a. Why a primer? 1b. Defining stakeholders

By Gabriele Bammer

primer_stakeholder-engagement_1a_1b

1a. Why a primer?

Do researchers who want to engage with stakeholders need a basic set of skills? Can we define a skillset that will work for many problems and in a variety of contexts?

My starting point for this primer is that the answer to both questions is “yes” and I have set out to provide those basics in nine easy-to-read blog posts. The tenth blog post in the series sketches out selected additional “advanced” skills; these need more interpersonal competences, experience, and knowledge.

The advantages of using a blog over other forms of communication are that it provides a vehicle for input and feedback, as well as being widely accessible. Comments on each blog post are therefore very welcome, particularly examples and lessons from your own work, things you wish you had known when you were starting out, and general feedback and critique.

Read more

Core competencies for implementation practice

By Sobia Khan and Julia E. Moore

authors_sobia-khan_julia-moore
1. Sobia Khan (biography)
2. Julia E. Moore (biography)

How can implementation practitioners – those who are implementing in practice rather than for research – become more effective? How can the pragmatism required to apply implementation science principles to practice be taught and fostered? What are the core competencies of implementation practice?

We conducted a scan of the literature and grey literature and then consolidated six existing core competency documents, covering implementation practice, knowledge translation, and knowledge mobilization. The core competencies outlined across these six documents required some synthesis and re-framing in order to really make sense and resonate with practitioners, particularly to address differences across settings.

Read more

What is 3-dimensional team leadership?

By Bradley L. Kirkman

authro_bradley-kirkman
Bradley L. Kirkman (biography)

It is useful to think about teams as having three dimensions:

  1. the team as a whole
  2. the individuals in the team
  3. the subteams within the overall team, or the smaller subsets of team members who cluster together to work on specific tasks. With teams taking on more and more complex tasks, it is not uncommon for members with similar skills to tackle various assignments over a period of time and then integrate their outputs into the larger, overall team.

How does a leader know when to focus on which dimension?

The secret lies in knowing how a particular team best carries out its tasks, specifically a concept known as interdependence. Team interdependence refers to the extent to which a team requires members to communicate, collaborate, integrate, and coordinate their efforts to get their jobs done.

Read more

Interdisciplinary competencies and innovation

By Colleen Knechtel

author_colleen-knechtel
Colleen Knechtel (biography)

What interdisciplinary competencies are required for innovation? How can such interdisciplinary competencies be implemented to foster innovation?

Keys to stimulating innovation are cultivating interdisciplinary mindsets and skillsets. Interdisciplinary mindsets involve recognizing diverse knowledge to enable collaboration to enhance collective creativity, whereas interdisciplinary skillsets embrace relational competencies, work experiences, the sciences, humanities, trades and technologies. Integrating such diverse knowledge and skills is key to innovation.

Strategies for implementing interdisciplinary competencies

1. Recognizing prior knowledge and skills

Read more

Practical actions for fostering cross-disciplinary research

By Yan Ding, Justin Pulford, Susie Crossman and Imelda Bates

author_mosaic-images_ding_pulford_crossman_bates
1. Yan Ding (biography)
2. Justin Pulford (biography)
3. Susie Crossman (biography)
4. Imelda Bates (biography)

How can we facilitate cross-disciplinary research in practice? What practical actions are considered important for participating in cross-disciplinary research? How do these actions change at the individual, research team/programme and institutional/funder level?

Cross-disciplinary research approaches allow for the interchange of knowledge and experience to stimulate innovative responses to complex research challenges.

Individual researchers

The individual researcher requires certain personal attributes for effective participation in cross-disciplinary research.

Read more