Opening Up the Black-box of Participatory Approaches

Jan 30, 2019 12:00 PM • GMT
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Webinar session on "Opening Up the Black-box of Participatory Approaches" was delivered on 30 January, 2019 at 1 PM GMT/ 8 PM ICT/ 8 AM EST by Josephine Chambers from the University of Cambridge. Josephine discussed the implications of participatory approaches in addressing environmental issues. She presented the findings of an analysis of 32 case studies to demonstrate some important potential benefits and pitfalls of participatory approaches.

Diverse groups increasingly use participatory approaches to better address environmental issues. These approaches encompass a broad range of terminologies and practices, such as co-production, co-design, adaptive management, collaborative governance, and social learning (etc!) to join competing agendas and perspectives. Yet, there has been little critical examination of the implications of these diverse approaches. In this webinar, Josephine will present the findings of an analysis of 32 case studies of collaborative approaches from around the world that span six continents and operate at multiple scales. The analysis itself was collaboratively produced by engaging with diverse researchers and practitioners through a series of workshops in Mexico, the United States and the United Kingdom. The findings demonstrate some important potential benefits and pitfalls of participatory approaches and ultimately support a wide range of researchers and practitioners to use them more effectively in their efforts to transform socio-ecological systems.


Josie Chambers is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Geography at the University of Cambridge. Her PhD examined approaches to jointly conserve biodiversity and improve community well-being in northern Peru. She is broadly interested in the politics of different intervention forms for more equitable and sustainable outcomes, and the role of collaborative approaches to knowledge production and governance. Prior to her PhD, she obtained an MPhil in Conservation Leadership from the University of Cambridge, an MSc in Integrated Resource Management from the University of Edinburgh and a BSc in Integrative Biology from the University of Illinois.