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Reflections on KMb Knowledge Mobilisation Forum 2019

by Ruth Jolly and Silvia Capezzuoli

For the second year running, Ruth Jolly and Silvia Capezzuoli took part in the UK-based KMbForum, an annual event for those with a passion for ensuring that knowledge makes a positive difference to society. This year the theme was ‘Crafting our Knowledge Stories’ and the Forum took place in the amazing Seven Stories - the National Children’s centre in Newcastle. Over 100 practitioners, researchers, students, administrators and public representatives engaged in the art and science of sharing knowledge and ensuring it can be used came together to learn, share, network and create new stories in a convivial way. The Forum is designed as a space for learning and reflection, providing an opportunity for sharing knowledge, experiences and methods and access to some of the most up-to-date thinking and practice in the field.

The format consisted of knowledge fayres, interactive posters, key note speakers, workshops and fishbowl conversations, as well as plenty of time for randomised coffee trials (RCTs!).

We ran one of the four Forum workshops on each of the two days. We focused on relational knowledge sharing to give a flavour of our take on Knowledge Management, and ran an interactive exercise on the importance of knowledge champions.

Our key takeaways from the Forum are:

  • The power of stories: How often do we get the time to listen, hear and learn from other people’s stories? Real stories have real impact when told by real people about real experiences (brings insight and knowledge)
  • Knowledge is a people business: are we taking enough time to remember the soft skills: creating space for learning and facilitative skills?
  • Bridging the research - policy gap: looking for evidence/ impact of research means knowing what to look for. As knowledge gets used, interpreted, co-created and re-developed it changes form and meaning, it will be transformed.  When tracing evidence, better not be like Hansel and Gretel looking for breadcrumbs in the forest; best to be more open to how the original knowledge will have been transformed.
  • If we promote/ foster behaviour change, are we also providing and helping embed the necessary skills for sustaining this change? Can we consider capacity building to actually maintain the behaviour change: from individual practice, to organisational culture, to wider contextual spheres of policy and beyond?
  • Language is generative: the words we use generate our reality. Take the disease/illness/well-being paradigm. There is a whole body of knowledge around ‘disease’ (purely medical perspective) and another about ‘illness’ (holistic view). We can see the medicalisation of wellbeing through language used. Can we be more aware of how our choice of words, and the knowledge they reflect, can influence our perceptions?