Plural knowledges for AgriFood collectives: Making spaces for new rural-urban connections


Dr. Katerina Psarikidou, Knowledge Exchange Senior Research Fellow, Department of Sociology, N8 AgriFood Resilience Programme,  Lancaster University, UK

Dr. Claire Waterton, Reader in Environment and Society, Dpt. of Sociology, Centre for the Study of Environmental Change, Lancaster University, UK

Dr. Elizabete Carmo Silva, Lecturer in Plant Sciences, Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, UK

Dr. Lisa Norton, Head of Land Use Group, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, UK



This working group (WG) will be aimed to debate and facilitate processes of ‘knowledge exchange’ (KE) between a diversity of academic and non-academic actors with a view to providing space to develop interdisciplinary and cooperative collaborations that span rural-urban topologies in the pursuit of rural change.

Rural change has always been dependent on innovations taking place both within and outside ‘the rural’. Research and practice in agrifood issues currently acknowledges the significance of a wide diversity of stakeholders and their knowledges and skills. The emergence of concepts such as ‘knowledge exchange’ in this domain hints at  the potential for turning a wide diversity of stakeholders into active participants, embracing their voices towards the  creation of more inclusive forms of agrifood innovation for rural change. However, such concepts are multi-faceted and could also be understood as constraining collective participation – placing the emphasis, rather, on a limited number of actors who can contribute to the neoliberalisation of processes of agrifood research and rural development.

The aim of this working group is to approach pluralistic knowledge exchange as: a. an interesting concept that needs to be further unpacked and criticised in the context of democratising processes of innovation; b. an interesting process through which new and novel collaborative research frameworks might emerge.  To this end, we invite academic and non-academic stakeholders that are interested in contributing to either or both of the above aspects. Based on participant contributions, we aim to create space for debate around issues of diversity and justice in relation to existing hierarchies of knowledge production in the agrifood sector. Furthermore, we aim to explore the possibilities of rural change through the establishment of knowledge making and knowledge exchange across complex rural-urban choreographies.


The WG will first focus on ‘Knowledge Exchange as an Object’ and take the form of ‘Speed Talk Sessions’ for sharing experiences of knowledge exchange. This will then help identify ways and topics for putting ‘Knowledge Exchange into Practice’. Based on ‘speed dating & research match-making’ format, participants will choose a ‘working table’ on a topic and participants of matching interests. Each table will present their ideas for agrifood collectives with a potential to make spaces for rural change and/through new rural-urban connections. Participants will be drawn from the open ESRS call and personal invitations to academic and non-academic stakeholders of our existing multi-faceted networks (see also