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Participatory Session: Narrative Spaces - Experimenting with Transdisciplinary Methods

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To challenge predominant paradigms of growth and sustainability requires new ways of cooperation between different actors from science, arts, social movements, and public institutions. Transdisciplinary (Td) sustainability research is developing as a cooperative, problem and solution oriented form of research in which heterogeneous actors are involved. In this emerging field there are a heterogeneity of approaches and different schools of thought stimulating each other, partially at least. A huge potential lies in Td research for socio-ecological transformation, but also for questioning and redefining foundations of research itself, including the relationship between researchers and those being researched. However, we argue for approaches that are process oriented, transformative and sensitive towards power relations between the involved actors so that everyone considers her or himself as researchers and thus protagonists of the research.

We aim to highlight approaches and methods with the following characteristics:
First, that allow for working with differences between those involved. Individual involvement is a prerequisite of socio-ecological transformation. Therefore, not only individual expectations and concerns have to be taken into consideration, but the exploration of the differences of the involved with regard to their motivation of engagement, experiences, knowledges and visions is a fundamental aspect of the research process. Especially the role of experiences is underrepresented in Td sustainability research.
Second, that aim at individual as well as collective changes. Positions of researchers can be reflected by confronting them with other ways of thinking and acting. This allows for individual learning processes as well as relating different position in order to create collective knowledges and practices for socio-ecological transformation.
Third, that are not exclusively directed at specific groups. Being reflexive about power relations is an important aspect in the research process. An exclusion of actors based on abilities, skills, and knowledge should be prevented. Furthermore, a continuous reflection of structural inequalities is important in order to continuously include questions of socially and ecological justice in the research process.

The concept of our workshop is based on the following questions: Which are forms of Td or cooperative sustainability research without preconditions with regard to attitudes, experiences, or belonging to certain groups? How can all kind of experiences be appreciated in a profound way? How does mutual learning depend on mutual listening? Which relations between people are thinkable or desirable? How to work with cultural differences in a transformative manner, and, after all, what would be specifically Td then? Our starting point for the workshop will be – unconditional – storytelling and listening. We are oriented along approaches of self-expression, dialogue, and building relationships, such as mutual listening, Story Telling Salons (Richter & Rohnstock 2016), remembrance work (Haug 1999), and dialogue (Bohm 1996, Freire 2000).

Our target is to invite you as participants of the International Conference on Degrowth to work with other participants on generative themes in a structured experimental space in order to jointly work on the foundations of a mode of doing research that is part of a socio-ecological transformation. Following Freire (2000) generative themes are issues or concepts that describe people’s relatedness to the world and that refer to an obstacle to their development at the same time. We want to approach the experiment not by having answers, but by intuitions among all involved and interested – as participating experimenters, listeners, or discussants.

The workshop runs for 120 minutes and will consist of four parts:
• Introduction: Td research, socio-ecological transformation, difference (10 min)
• Exercise: listening, empathy, generative topics (30 min)
• Narrative space: storytelling, mutual listening, remembrance work (60 min)
• Discussion: experiences, reflection, development of approaches and methods (20 min)

The discussion will focus on a reflection of the experiences during the workshop and on questions of developing and modifying Td methodologies that is addressing socio-ecological transformation. We are convinced that a socio-ecological transformation can develop through practicing human relationships and opening up spaces of experimentation on a small scale.

Bohm, D. (1996): On dialogue. In: Nichol, L. (Ed.). Routledge, London, New York
Freire, P. (2000): Pedagogy of the oppressed. Continuum, New York, London
Haug, F. (1999): Vorlesungen zur Einführung in die Erinnerungsarbeit. Argument-Verlag, Hamburg
Richter, R. & Rohnstock, N. (2016): Der Erzählsalon als Verfahren strategischen Erzählens: Konzeptionelle Voraussetzungen und empirische Gestalt am Beispiel des Projektes Lausitz an einen Tisch. DIEGESIS: Interdisciplinary E-Journal for Narrative Research, Vol. 5 (2): 84-100


Day: 2018-08-22
Start time: 14:00
Duration: 01:30
Room: ABF (210)
Track: Custom (describe on the submission note)




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