Exploring Co-production

At the centre of Know Your Bristol on the Move is the desire to create knowledge with and for the various community groups who are involved in the project. Whereas academics often occupy the position of ‘expert’ in university-community relationships, we aim to acknowledge and utilise the multiple forms of expertise that communities and academics bring to the table. If we are all experts of different kinds, then the challenge is not for one to create knowledge about another, but to create knowledge together for mutually defined ends and using collectively designed tools and practices. We call this process ‘co-production’.

The nine projects listed in the drop-down menu above explore co-production in different ways. They deploy different tools and approaches in a variety of contexts and are overseen by different characters who influence them in different ways. While the techniques differ, the broad aim is to facilitate the co-production and dissemination place-based historical research. This is research that is co-designed with, led by and specifically tailored to the different communities that engage with these projects and which is linked to a place on the map. We understand ‘community’ quite broadly as a group of people that come together around a place, political claim, interest or shared experience.  Research/Knowledge co-produced with communities will be ‘disseminated’ – or placed in the public domain – via this blog, and the online digital mapping tools, Map Your Bristol and Know Your Place.

Facilitating co-production and participatory management of resources raises important questions about cultural heritage and intellectual property: who gets to define ‘culture’ and ‘heritage’ and to what end? How might the re-writing or enrichment of particular historical geographies transform contemporary understandings of identity, place and the power relations bound up with these ideas? These are some of the questions we are exploring through this work.