The Alliance of Knowledge: one step further in qualitative research
INVOLVE replaces the traditional distinction and distance between the academic participants, and ‘the researched’ (members of vulnerable groups) by a committed partnership. The ‘researched’ become active ‘co-researchers’ that bring in their experiences, practical knowledge and critical capacity in order to co-create knowledge that holds relevance to their everyday struggles.
And INVOLVE goes further: we bring all participants in a process of dialogue (an Alliance of Knowledge) which is oriented towards action, transformation and impact. We invite all participants to engage in an experiment of democracy, relying on the new knowledge collected. This results in an informed knowledge of all participants (the ‘researched’, the researchers, NGOs and social services).
INVOLVE creates thus spaces, practices, and processes where citizens can express themselves freely, and where their capacity to aspire and capability for voice can effectively result in a ‘democratic participation’.
The project participants will be able to name their needs, develop their aspirations, claim their rights and ultimately, to participate in the democratic society.
The Citizenlab is an externalization of this main principles of Involve.
During a Citizen lab, Involve gives space to external experts, to NGOs, to representatives of public services and to governments, and to vulnerable people. Their comments, suggestions, ideas should enrich Involve. The first Citizen lab was during the kick-off with Philippe Van Parijs (UCL Belgium), Patrick De Bucquois (Social Services Europe) and Dora Kostakopoulou (KUL/HIVA Belgium).