The Politics of Evidence and Knowledge in a Polarised World
COMPAS seminar series: Beyond Impact? Using, Exchanging, and Communicating Migration Knowledge and Research
Hilary Term 2018
Thursdays at 2pm, Pauling Centre, 58a Banbury Road
Convened by Jacqueline Broadhead and William Allen
Migration and related issues including integration continue to be highly salient on public and policy agendas around the world. Across policymaking, media, business, and civil society, from the international to neighbourhood level: researchers are often asked, and increasingly required, to engage with a range of public and private organisations. This engagement potentially takes different forms and directions, from conventional public communication, to collaborative knowledge exchange, to participatory research. Increasingly, users not only demand research, data, and knowledge on these topics, but also opportunities for peer-to-peer exchange of expertise and ideas.
But, these new forms of engagement in the academy are subject to social, political, and ethical constraints—not least of all public distrust in expertise and experts. They also raise questions about the appropriate role of researchers in contributing to processes of social change. As the political economy of universities is changing in the UK to emphasise impact activities, there is a need to think critically about what is precisely meant by impact, the processes involved in generating it, and how it relates to broader questions about how migration research is and should be designed and executed. This seminar series aims to contribute to discussions about the ongoing and evolving roles of researchers in public life, a question that is relevant both within migration studies and in other humanities and social science fields. Through interventions that feature contributions from both theory and practice, it examines the promises, pitfalls, and possibilities associated with thinking about research that goes beyond limited conceptions of impact.