On 23rd November, Sarita Malik (PI) along with her colleague Monica Degen, from Brunel University London’s Department of Social and Political Science, led a workshop titled ‘Co-Designing Research: Opportunities and Challenges for Collaborative Projects’ at the University of Barcelona.

As academics that have used co-creation processes in their research, Malik and Degen were invited by the University to bring together academics and non-University collaborators to discuss the opportunities and challenges of working together. One of the key questions of the workshop was, ‘how can research projects be designed and developed in mutually beneficial ways, and with outputs and legacies that are useful for academic and wider knowledge?’

The workshop was attended by students, activists, academics and local cultural organisations interested in engaging in an open dialogue in order to exchange experiences and learn from each other about how to co-produce meaningful research for both the non-academic and academic sector.

Malik focused her keynote on how she is attempting to apply Sivanandan’s idea of ‘lived theory’ within her research by taking the perspectives and actual experiences of diverse research collaborators and participants as a starting point. She suggested in her presentation that this has the potential to link with the ambition of devising a decolonised methodology that, as Linda Tuhiwai Smith (2012) explains, centres the concerns of those who have been colonised in order to understand theory and research from their perspective.

The focus of Malik’s paper was a reflection of the Creative Interruptions Research Development project that took place in 2014-15 in partnership with Greenwich Inclusion Project and which involved a theatre project by a young refugee group in London. Malik presented some of the work around the opportunities and challenges posed by co-created research that Malik, along with Creative Interruptions Co-Investigator Michael Pierse and Co-Creation Consultant, Jasber Singh, have been doing together.

Degen’s keynote explored how academics, community groups and urban professionals (from museum curators to urban planners or branding experts) can work together to capture, mediate and research the particularities of place through sensory and digital engagements. Degen explored the issue of what happens when sensations of place, memory and the sense of community are mediated for local and global digital audience through a digital device? What are the possibilities for interconnectedness and empowerment on the one side but also of exclusion and invisibility when we try and mediate sensory experiences of place through research, digital devices or curation?

Those who attended the workshop have set up an on line group with the aim to continue these important discussions around collaborative research.

The videos of the collaborative workshop can be found here: