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Open Letter by Drs Hall & Tandon: Knowledge Democracy on the Move


What we are calling a knowledge democracy movement has clearly reached a new stage of maturity. Whether it is the community-based participatory research and engaged scholarship we see now in many university-community partnerships, the growth of open science and citizen’s science initiatives, the recognition of multiple subaltern epistemologies, the Indigenous resurgence or the citizen-led and movement-led networked learning within global civil society, the role of citizen-led, knowledge has escaped the confines of the academy and is being understood as key to transformation needed when facing the complex and wicked problems in our cities, regions and world. It might be said that a movement springs to life when those who are working in one part of the movement become aware of others who are also sharing many of their values and perhaps some of their ways of working.

Another thought is that a movement becomes such when those outside of it catch a glimpse. Clearly the visibility of multiple sites of knowledge production has been noticed. It has been noticed by those working in our movements for progressive change around the world, by policy workers in higher education and development circles, by funding bodies and of course by academics across virtually all disciplines. This moment presents us with many questions. What are the differences in the knowledge cultures found in our varied contexts? How do we expand networked learning? What are the implications of the knowledge democracy movement for the attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals? We are at a breakthrough point for both of these cases; we see that there are many more of us with many more transformative ideas and networks than we thought. And it is clear that even the academic world is recognising that the academic monopoly on knowledge production is over. We welcome your responses and inputs.

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