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Capacity-building projects in African higher education

Issues of coloniality in international academic collaboration

Hanne Kirstine Adriansen and Lene Møller Madsen

This article studies issues of coloniality in so-called capacity-building projects between universities in Africa and Scandinavia. Even fifty years after independence, the African higher education landscape is a product of the colonial powers and subsequent uneven power relations, as argued by a number of researchers. The uneven geography and power of knowledge exist also between countries that were not in a direct colonial relationship, which the word coloniality implies. Based on interviews with stakeholders and on our own experiences of capacity-building projects, this article examines how such projects affect teaching, learning, curriculum, research methodology and issues of quality enhancement. We analyse the dilemmas and paradoxes involved in this type of international collaboration and conclude by offering ways to decolonise capacity-building projects.

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'Those Twins of Learning'

Cognitive and Affective Learning in an Inclusive Shakespearean Curriculum

Sheila T. Cavanagh and Steve Rowland

Sheila T. Cavanagh and Steve Rowland link Shakespeare classrooms in distinctive venues: Cavanagh is a professor at Emory University in Atlanta, whose students are enrolled in undergraduate degree programmes; Rowland teaches at Monroe Correctional Facility in Washington State, under the auspices of University Beyond Bars. This article describes some of the practical and theoretical challenges emerging through this collaboration, many of which result from the instructors’ desires to construct their classes with pedagogic goals and assignments drawn from both cognitive and affective learning principles. Geography precludes the students meeting in person and they are not currently able to employ videoconferencing in this endeavour, but regular exchanges of essays and responses to each other’s writing allows these disparate groups of Shakespeareans to expand their knowledge of the drama while sharpening their critical and writing skills and learning to develop their affective understandings of the subject.

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Social Innovation, Local Governance and Social Quality

The Case of Intersectoral Collaboration in Hangzhou City

Yong Li, Ying Sun and Ka Lin

In contemporary European policy discussion, “innovation“ is a term popularly used for finding responses to the pressure of global competition. In various forms of innovation, the accent is mainly given to technical and business innovation but less to social innovation. This article studies the issue of social innovation with reference to the local practice in Hangzhou city, which aims to strengthen the life quality of citizens in this city. These practices develop various forms of inter-sectoral collaboration, resulting in numerous "common denominator subject" (CDS) groups that are promoted by the local government. These practices follow the principles of cooperation and partnership, and thus develop a corporatist mechanism for urban development. Through discussion of these practices this article explores the nature and the features of these CDS groups, and evaluates its meaning for social innovation, local administration, life quality and social quality.

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Marie-Ève Thérenty

This article describes the results developed in the recently published La Civilisation du journal, histoire culturelle et littéraire de la presse (ed. Dominique Kalifa, Philippe Régnier, Marie-Ève Thérenty, and Alain Vaillant), a collaboration between historians and literary scholars working together for eight years to write a synthesis about the history of the French press during the nineteenth century. It offers a comprehensive encyclopedia of journalism, the genres and forms of the periodical press, the principal figures of nineteenth-century French journalism, and the modern culture of the press. The article describes the different projects between history and literature that could be developed after this project. This kind of methodology should be extended to the relations between press and literature during the twentieth century, to women's journalism and to the globalization of the media during the nineteenth century. These projects could be developed with the help of the website Médias19.

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Learning in Collaborative Moments

Practising Relating Differently with Dementia in Dialogue Meetings

Silke Hoppe, Laura Vermeulen, Annelieke Driessen, Els Roding, Marije de Groot and Kristine Krause

In this article, we describe experiences with dialogue evenings within a research collaboration on long-term care and dementia in the Netherlands. What started as a conventional process of ‘reporting back’ to interlocutors transformed over the course of two years into learning and knowing together. We argue that learning took place in three different articulations. First, participants learnt to expand their notion of knowledge. Second, they learnt to relate differently to each other and, therewith, to dementia. And third, participants learnt how to generate knowledge with each other. We further argue that these processes did not happen continuously, but in moments. We suggest that a framework of collaborative moments can be helpful for research projects that are not set up collaboratively from the start. Furthermore, we point to the work required to facilitate these moments.

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Résistance Oblige?

Historiography, Memory, and the Evolution of Le Silence de la mer, 1942-2012

Brett Bowles

Among the best-selling French literary works of the twentieth century, Vercors' novella has enjoyed an exceptionally rich afterlife thanks to numerous print editions as well as several influential stage and screen adaptations: Jean-Pierre Melville's 1947 feature film, Jean Mercure's 1949 play, Vercors' own 1978 theatrical rendering, and a 2004 television movie written by Anne Giafferi and directed by Pierre Boutron. Taking a comparative approach that weighs the aesthetic and ideological priorities of these authors and directors alongside shifts in historiography and French political culture, this article traces the evolution of Le Silence de la mer as a contested site of national memory and a means of negotiating the ethically-charged concepts of collaboration and resistance.

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The Inheritance of Activism

Does Social Capital Shape Women’s Lives?

Supriya Baily, Gloria Wang and Elisabeth Scotto-Lavino

In the call for proposals for this special issue, activist networks were defined as virtual or in person communities devoted to social change. The impact for girls active in these networks has been shown to promote identity development and de-marginalization/empowerment/reclamation of political spaces where girls are marginalized, intergenerational collaboration among women, and community building among feminists. In this study, we seek to explore how women at different generational points reflect on and remember their engagement in social activism. Understanding how these generational shifts affect the impact of social capital on the lives of these women and the changes we might see as they mature into leaders will provide a platform to better understand the influence of belonging to such networks during girlhood.

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Joseph J. Long

Situated practice research offers rich possibilities for recognising and developing practitioner knowledge in social care. In this article, I document the application of anthropological methods and thinking within a research programme in autism services. Drawing on Donald Schön’s model of the reflective practitioner, I argue that participant observation, aimed at the holistic documentation of autism services, provides a means to systematic reflection, comparison and learning in order to inform practice. This approach stands to broaden the field of autism research from unidirectional models of knowledge ‘translation’ to include research and insights generated from services. I also advocate the relational nature of anthropology as a means to meaningfully engage autistic people with intellectual disabilities in research through collaboration with practitioner researchers.

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Emily Bent

Stories about girl activism circulate as exceptional narratives of individual girl power causing intergenerational partnerships and community collaborations to become invisible and apparently unnecessary to girl activist efforts. At the same time, practitioner-scholars attest that sharing authentic stories about intergenerational feminist praxis is difficult to do since it requires us to write with intentional vulnerability exposing the failures and tensions inherent to girl activism networks. In this article, I provide an autoethnographic exploration of the intergenerational processes involved with organizing Girls Speak Out for the International Day of the Girl at the United Nations. I draw inspiration from Lauren J. Silver’s methodological remix of youth-centered activism, and in doing so, reassess the impact and experience of leveraging girls’ political voices in spaces of normative power.

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Decolonial Approaches to Refugee Migration

Nof Nasser-Eddin and Nour Abu-Assab in Conversation

Nof Nasser-Eddin and Nour Abu-Assab

In this conversation, Nof Nasser Eddin and Nour Abu-Assab—the founders and directors of the Centre for Transnational Development and Collaboration (CTDC)—discuss the importance of decolonial approaches to studying refugee migration. In so doing, they draw on their research, consultancy, and advocacy work at CTDC, a London-based intersectional multidisciplinary Feminist Consultancy that focuses in particular on dynamics in Arabic-speaking countries and that has a goal to build communities and movements, through an approach that is both academic and grassroots-centred. CTDC attempts to bridge the gap between theory and practice through its innovative-ly transformative programmes, which include mentorship, educational programmes, trainings, and research.

Nof and Nour’s conversation took place in November 2019 and was structured by questions sent to them in advance by Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh. What follows is a transcript of the conversation edited by Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh and Mette L. Berg.