Decolonizing participatory methods with children and young people in international research collaborations: Reflections from a participatory arts-based project with Afrocolombian and indigenous young people in Colombia

Marlies Kustatscher*, Edwar Calderon, E Kay M Tisdall, Tony Evanko, Juan Manuel Gomez Serna

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

In projects with children and young people globally, participatory methodologies have received much critical attention. They have been celebrated for their potential to centre the agendas and resources of children and young people themselves and to produce knowledge collaboratively. They are often seen to remedy some of the intergenerational power imbalances between young people and adults, as well as the broader power imbalances of social research. In this chapter, we reflect on our experiences of working on a collaborative project involving Afrocolombian and indigenous young people in Chocó, Colombia, and a team of artists, educators and researchers located in different cities in Colombia and the United Kingdom. We address questions around the place of participatory methodologies in such projects: What happens to participatory methodologies as they become subsumed into global knowledge politics and research relations? How do these structural issues translate into relationships and methods ‘on the ground’? How are they shaped by the positionality of those involved? How can we preserve their emancipatory potential as we work within these particular structures of power? We suggest that ongoing efforts to decolonise participatory methodologies need to be at the heart of international research collaborations, to avoid the co-optation of participatory methodologies into processes of neoliberal knowledge production and neo-colonisation. We conclude that participatory methodologies have the potential to decolonise knowledges, yet particular knowledges and approaches are also needed to decolonise participatory methodologies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDecolonising Curriculum Knowledge
Subtitle of host publicationInternational Perspectives, Interdisciplinary Approaches
EditorsMarlon Lee Moncrieffe
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Chapter2
Pages15-34
ISBN (Electronic)9783031136238
ISBN (Print)9783031136221
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Nov 2022

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