14 November 2022

Why should urbanists care about co-production – available on the UI YouTube channel

On 2nd November 2022 Urban Institute Director Professor Beth Perry launched the third Sheffield Urbanism lecture series “Co-production and the Future of Urban Epistemics”.

Why should urbanists care about co-production

You can now watch the full lecture on our YouTube channel

The lecture provided an overview of Beth’s work over the past 20 years, starting with the critique of the knowledge-based economy that had motivated her interest in co-production and a tour through a series of projects within the Realising Just Cities programme. Beth advanced five propositions to respond to the initial question:

  1. Co-production describes how cities are being continuously made and unmade
  2. Co-production is being claimed as participatory urban governance and demanded as the right to the city
  3. Co-production is a strategy to realise urban epistemic justice, requiring different tactics and practices of knowledge mobilisation.
  4. Co-production is one response to the need for new epistemologies of the urban through the co-production of critique
  5. Co-production is a refusal to bracket how we do our research from the institutional conditions required to do it.

She concluded by turning to the limits of coproduction - including its contradictory epistemic myopia, conceptual muddiness, consensus fallacy, and necessity but insufficiency when dealing with powerful groups and vested interests, global funding regimes and obdurate institutions – which point the way towards a broader agenda on urban epistemics.

The lecture was followed by a Q&A session, with those in the room and online.

Questions related to the outcomes of co-production in terms of the production of agency within co-researchers and communities; the necessary changes in universities to support co-productive research; the spaces for dialogue that are required; how to address the trap of raised expectations; and the roles and limits of local government.

Contact b.perry@sheffield.ac.uk if you would like to discuss the lecture or receive underpinning articles and reports.

The next lecture will be delivered online by Professor Kavita Philip from the University of British Columbia on Wednesday 23 November 2022. The title of the lecture is “The Pirate Function: Developmental Lag & Illegitimate Generation”. You can register for free using this link.

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