Boundary Agents in Participative Enquiry

This programme of work is an examination of the boundaries of knowledge and identity in terms of engagement. The work is informed by the following questions:

  • How are the boundaries, in practice, between justification and application in different forms of practice negotiated and understood and what implications does this have for its value?
  • How does the context within which knowledge is produced relate to the content and potential consequence for action, particularly when it comes to recognition of different knowledges?
  • What is the role of various forces in shaping the direction and process of knowledge production, reception and deployment?
  • What issues inform effective knowledge exchange?

Overall, it will focus upon and include not only the producers, but also the funders, co-producers and ‘users’ of research in order to compare the expectation, production, reception and evaluation of knowledges and their implications for research practice. Involving these groups is important given the: need for better understanding of the role of research in the policy process and community development; need for a better understanding of the capacities and capabilities of universities and other institutions and forms of practice to deliver socio-economic benefits and need to develop effective and long-term relationships within the university and between the university and its partners based on an understanding developed through a process of learning.

There is a strong comparative learning element to this work via the NICKEL – the Network for International Comparative Knowledge Exchange and Learning. This is an international enquiry through workshops and collaborative writing to develop comparative understanding of boundary agents in sustainable urban development.

Project members

  • Tim May

    Tim May is Professor in the Methods Institute, University of Sheffield and International Methodological Advisor to the SMLIP, having been involved in MUF from its beginnings. 

    Tim has written and edited sixteen books; edited an international book series, special journal editions and over 180 articles, chapters, reports and policy briefings.

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Beth Perry

Professor Beth Perry is the Director of the Sheffield Manchester Local Interaction Platform for Mistra Urban Futures.

Victoria Habermehl

Victoria is a Research Associate in the Urban Institute and works on the ESRC Whose Knowledge matters?