WS055 - From theory to practice: Improving transnational and transdisciplinary cooperation through reflecting on implicit values and power structures
Convened by Johanna Vogel, Anna Schwachula, Tatjana Reiber (all from German Development Institute, Germany)

In order to promote the goals of the 2030 Agenda, achieve global solidarity and social justice, a transformation of societies in the global North as well as the global South towards these objectives is crucial. Transnational and transdisciplinary networks are key actors for the creation of the kind of transformative knowledge needed. However, working in transnational, transdisciplinary networks may be challenging. Tensions and conflicts may arise which can limit their potential impact. We therefore seek to examine how transnational, transdisciplinary knowledge networks can overcome inherent challenges by discussing the role of power imbalances between participants as well as different normative assumptions of diverse participants.


We propose that discussing power imbalances as well as the underlying values that may cause tensions and conflicts within cooperation is a first step to reach equitable cooperation. Making implicit values and imbalances visible is a precondition for developing collective values and a common vision. In our workshop, we provide a space for mutual learning and exchange of experiences. We aim to a) explore manifestations of structural power imbalances in our research partnerships and develop ideas how to reduce them and b) create awareness for the role that values play in research partnerships.


Workshop Design: World-café


Following an input by Dr Ananya Chakraborty (ICRISAT), the workshop will be organized as a world café.

  1. Which types of power imbalances exist within your partnerships? Are they discussed openly? How do you aim to overcome them? Which (structural) dilemmas are you experiencing in the process?
  2. Which roles do values play in your partnerships? How are individual values made transparent? How do you deal with contradictory values? How do you negotiate and implement joint values?

According to the world café method, the group will be divided into two break out groups to discuss and exchange experiences on power distribution and values in their partnerships. All findings will be recorded on virtual flipcharts and will be presented to the whole group afterwards.


Addressees of the workshop:
Researchers and other stakeholders working in cooperative (research) projects, at all levels of experience, wishing to reflect about cooperation as well as their own role and values.