Climate Change, Action Research: A talk given at U. Oslo

Hilary Bradbury, Ph.D.I (Hilary Bradbury) share here a slide set from a talk I gave at U. Oslo in December 2018.  The talk was hosted at the Department of Geography, led by Karen O’ Brien, a Professor who is committed to Climate Change issues (she is also a  Nobel Prize recipient for her work with the  IPCC panel). We are interested in what moves people to informed action together in response to our crisis.

I start by inviting people to think about the purpose of knowledge. What is knowledge for? Whom do knowledge creators serve?  The action oriented knowledge creation I talk about is particularly useful for addressing our sustainability crises. It is useful because it allows us to blend personal/subjective, interpersonal and impersonal/objective knowledge. Fundamental in weaving these knowledge forms together is the idea that action research provides for a methodology in which stakeholders develop as people.

This development, through collective learning, can be directed  to advance collaborative experiments for better ways of living. The developmental and relational orientation in this way of action researching is, I suggest, an advance over purely objective orientations to science (though they remain very important). I locate the action paradigm, as an elaboration of Pragmatism, which comes from William James’ insight that personal experience is the starting point for all good knowledge creation. 

I give a few examples of good action research.  I linger on the case of transformative healthcare action research in Sweden that has now made a difference in the lives of 100,000 people. This is on my mind because I visited Oslo while spending time at Chalmers University where these healthcare researchers are located. 

And its success is a potential model for larger efforts with Climate Change. Toward the end end of my talk I invite participants to look more keenly at their own experience. I do this because I find we rarely examine our experience, yet it is so important for what we can know and do. We discuss different dimensions of experience. I lead a practice informed by Bill Torbert’s “four territories of experience.”

We end by discussing how this more relational, developmental action orientation fits into efforts in support of Climate Change transitions. Please note this is a voice over of my talk, not a recording of the presentation.  I find our work with action research really takes off the we have a robust  – and confidential – relational space. Offering a voice over rather than a recording preserves confidentiality of those present.

I welcome comments/feedback/reflections as I consider sharing more talks.

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