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Applied Sociology

Co-design and co-production: Challenges and opportunities for sociologists

Wednesday 17 November, 11am – 12.30pm AEST (Qld time)


‘Jayne’s frank and fearless presentation will challenge everything you’ve ever thought about “co-design”- it is not to be missed! With great excitement, we invite sociologists, researchers, peers, consumer representatives, advocacy groups, people with lived experiences involved or interested in research across any topic or discipline to engage in this important discussion about the future of partnership-based research.’
- Dr Sophie Hickey, TASA Applied Sociology convenor

Co-design is becoming increasingly trendy in social research, and evidence of involving end users in research design is becoming required by certain funding bodies. We ask the curly question of is all co-design equal? What are the indicators that tell us this has been done "right"? Who gets to decide and how? Are there irreconcilable differences between the needs of the neoliberal academic research enterprise and community or can we use our diverse strengths to achieve a common goal? We investigate some of the real-life issues and rewards of undertaking participatory research methods for applied social change.

Guest Speaker -  Jayne Malenfant

The Commodification of Lived Experience in Co-design and Participatory Research: Fostering Conditions for Real Transformation

While there are increasing calls for participation, inclusion, and engagement of those with lived experiences of social issues in research, these exist within institutionalized structures of knowledge that have long tokenized, objectified, and brought violence to diverse communities. Drawing from their own experiences undertaking participatory research on homelessness in Canada, Malenfant outlines how current approaches to integrating lived voices maintain knowledge and power hierarchies in research while requiring significant invisible labour on the part of "participants." With a focus on making visible the ways that sociological work attempts to foster inclusion of those most impacted by issues like homelessness, this presentation will explore how our current approaches can move past inclusion--instead building structures of collaboration and solidarity for not only greater research impacts, but radical transformation and socially-just change.

Jayne Malenfant (pictured left) (they/she) is from Kapuskasing, Ontario and currently lives in Tio'tia:ke/Montréal, Québec, Canada where they are an Assistant Professor in the Department of Education at Concordia University. They are co-founder of the Making the Shift Scholars with Lived Experience Network and work on issues of institutional access for individuals navigating homelessness and housing precarity, with a focus on lived experience, participatory research, and community-led housing justice.


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Sophie Hickey
Sophie Hickey
Charles Darwin University

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