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2022 - The Living Knowledge Conference Groningen

From 29 June to 1 July 2022 we were the happy hosts of the 9th International Conference of the Living Knowledge Network, the international Science Shop network. This brought no less than 280 participants from 25 countries to Groningen! All of them are involved in doing or supporting research with and for communities, like us.

In the year 2000, the Science Shops of the University of Groningen were one of the founding members of the Living Knowledge Network. As both a social movement and a community of practice, members of the network organize an international conference every two years. We were proud that after conferences in e.g. Copenhagen, Dublin and Budapest, we could now organize it in our beautiful city of Groningen (even with having to postpone it twice due to Covid).

During the plenary session
During the plenary session

We had many presentations and workshops to see what can we learn from each other’s approaches and look for options to collaborate. It was interesting to see how over the years, a myriad of approaches have been developed to do collaborative research with and for communities. Different names, different (ideological) histories, and (sometimes slightly) different objectives, which in the end should not obscure what we all have in common: an urge to co-create and share new knowledge for an inclusive, equitable, healthy and sustainable society.

Thus, people spoke about science shops, research shops, living labs, citizen science, public engagement, participatory action research, community-based research, community service learning, user driven innovation and much more.

A special session was held on “failures”. Because we can learn so much from things that went wrong, but we hardly speak about learning from our mistakes.

Another important element of these conferences is of course the social programme, which had the participants visit the A-Kerk church, for a reception and a visit to the Bittersweet Heritage exhibition on the abolition of slavery, and a dinner and boat trip at Lake Paterswolde. Together with the coffee breaks and lunches this added to everyone feeling part of a warm ‘community of practice’, in which old and new friends meet and learn from each other. All to foster the work they do in their own region, with and for their own communities!

The next Living Knowledge Conference will be in 2024. Please check the Living Knowledge Website for updates and for the full report:

In front of the Academy building
In front of the Academy building
Last modified:23 November 2023 2.08 p.m.
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