Last week, Tehseen Noorani was invited by the Creating Publics team at the Open University's Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance to help them connect with McGill University's Making Publics project in snowy Montreal.
'Making Publics' (MaPs) ran from 2005-2010, as an international collaboration of academics from Canada, USA and the UK who identified the emergence of various kinds of publics in early modern Europe. 'Creating Publics' runs from 2011-2014 and looks at public-formation and participatory experiments today.
The work of the ARN offers insights for the issues raised by MaPs and Creating Publics. Firstly, at a conceptual level, MaPs and Creating Publics both suggest that publics have particular modalities of attention and openness, and these can be understood in terms of the ARN's approach to emerging forms of authority that structure social relations through specific forms of attention and appeals to an 'outside', or grounding, of knowledge. Secondly, at the level of practice, the ARN's writing retreats provide an interesting - if provocative - example of a participatory experiment within academia itself. And thirdly, the ARN's recent Participatory Practice project culminated in a collection of short essays on contemporary problems of participation that can be used to inform current debates around participatory experiments.
ARN to produce scoping study on 'co-production', to kick-start multi-disciplinary research collaboration between Bristol and Cardiff Universities
Tehseen has begun a short research fellowship looking at the histories, forms and possibilities of 'co-production' in academic-community collaboration, to help orient Productive Margins, a £2.4 million, 5-year programme housed at the University of Bristol and Cardiff University and funded through the UK cross-research council Connected Communities programme.
The term 'co-production' has been used in different ways in different contexts. It also overlaps with terms such as 'participation', 'publics-making' and 'co-creation'. Establishing clear meanings, understanding the dangers and obstacles of the term, and highlighting the successful approaches to co-production is an important first step for the Productive Margins programme. This scoping study is due to be completed by the end of June 2013.