RT117 - Partnership, participation and power in academia
Convened by Shreya Sinha and Katarzyna Cieslik (from University of Cambridge, UK)

Academic work is necessarily collaborative. However, ‘partnership’ and ‘collaboration’ have gained particular currency in recent years with grants requiring researchers to have collaborators in the global South and to demonstrate ‘social impact’. While such relationships should build intellectual and political solidarities, this may be undermined by the power-laden context within which such projects are set. This roundtable discusses how such collaborations are installed and maintained during and beyond a project’s lifetime. We will explore questions such as: Are the terms of collaboration equitable? What are its power dynamics? How can academic solidarities be built and maintained through these collaborations?

Speakers:

Dr Nivedita Narain has over three decades of experience in the development sector while working with PRADAN, an India-based NGO that works at grassroots level to remove mass poverty and challenge inequalities. She is also an active researcher and has been part of several national and international collaborative projects in the fields of rural development and organisational behaviour.

Dr Tania Martinez is a scholar and practitioner specializing in water management, agriculture and livelihoods, currently affiliated with the Natural Resource Institute, University of Greenwich. Throughout her career she has been involved in numerous international multistakeholder research projects, ranging from sustainable modernization to gender studies.

Professor Cees Leeuwis is an international scholar currently affiliated with the University of Wageningen. His work focusses on the processes of socio-technical innovation and transformation in network. He has been involved in numerous international research projects, ranging from sustainable agriculture and natural resources management to inclusive value chains.

Professor Bhaskar Vira is a Head of Geography Department at the University of Cambridge whose research focuses on the political economy of environment and development. He has led numerous large scale intellectual and policy-oriented projects that involve interdisciplinary conversations across the natural and social sciences.