Thursday, 1 July 2010

We know where you live

Hooking stakeholders is what we are about and when they have filled in their sign-up forms we really will know where they live. But it isn't as threatening as it sounds and they might even find they enjoy it and want to come back for more. The message from Kathryn Monk is that stakeholders need short sharp messages. Most are short of time and resources, particularly in the current economic climate, and it's always good to be reminded of that. Research-speak is all very well but it isn't a good communication tool for non-academics. Claire Waterton's presentation was a timely real-life example of research in action. Loweswater has experienced recurring problems with algal bloom and the accepted orthodoxy was that farmers are too blame because of their fertiliser use. A more inclusive approach, which involved a group of researchers and residents under the banner of the Loweswater Care Project, has looked at the problem in a different way and found that, like most things in life, it's actually much more complicated than that. Claire asks whether institutions are equipped for this kind of bottom-up thinking. In most cases probably not, but politically it seems timely, and perhaps the kinds of projects that stakeholders are "dating" today can help.

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