Strong presence at co-production conference in London

Cape Town and Greater Manchester Platform raise the profile of Mistra Urban Futures at the Royal Geographical Society Annual Conference, London 26th – 29th August 2014.

The theme of this year’s Royal Geographical Society Conference was Geographies of co-production. Given the direct resonance of the theme with the central modality of Mistra Urban Futures, both the Cape Town and Greater Manchester Platform submitted abstracts to participate in the conference.

1800 participants

The conference attracted close to 1800 international participants who contributed to over 380 individual panels and sessions. Together, the both platforms presented 5 papers on their Mistra Urban Futures related work.

In the opening plenary, ‘Co-Producing Public Geographies’, the Conference Chair, from the University of Bristol, urged participants to ‘reflect on the challenges and new opportunities that arise when geographers reflect what we think we know against the ‘other’, those who start from a different entry point and bring different perspectives to our field of knowledge’. This objective lies at the very core of Mistra Urban Futures endeavors to positively influence urban transitions.

Drew upon Governance and Policy for Sustainability (GAPS) project

The Cape Town and Greater Manchester platforms participated alongside one another in a session viz. ‘Towards a critical geography of sustainability, or what does sustainability do?’ The papers were presented by Saskia Greyling and Beth Perry respectively. Both papers drew from their contributions to the Governance and Policy for Sustainability (GAPS) project - work that has been ongoing over the past two years as a common process initiative at the Centre.

Art of Co-:

Zarina Patel presented collaborative work done in Cape Town in a session on ‘Co-production of environmental knowledges’; and Beth Perry (Greater Manchester) presented a paper on the Art of Co-: in a session on ‘Mobilising expert knowledge in sustainability research’. A further contribution from the Greater Manchester platform demonstrated co-production in action in a co-presented paper by Alex Wharton, University of Salford and Nathalie Long, Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisations in a session on ‘Connected Communities and the ‘Impact’ of Co-production’.

Significant impact on debates

The Royal Geographical Society provided a convivial opportunity to showcase the researchers work at the respective Mistra Urban Futures platforms, as well as to network with other scholars working on similar issues. The contributions from the Mistra Urban Futures platforms made a significant impact on debates and discussions that are increasingly shaping funding agendas, institutional practices and academic and practitioner identities.

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Governance and Policy for Sustainability (GAPS) project
Royal Geographical Society Annual Conference


Photo: Saskia Greyling