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Accepted Paper:

Transformative Research Collectives for Impactful Science: Collaborative research clean-up in Mathare  
Beatrice Hati (International institute for social studies (ISS) Jan Fransen (Erasmus University Rotterdam) Caroline Archambault (Leiden University College)

Paper short abstract:

Mathare residents are tired of the research buzz and disillusioned by unmet promises of research impact. Following an actionresearch with Mathare CBOs we unpack regressive research practices, offer a robust methodology for community research collectives and debate what ethical research may look like

Paper long abstract:

The past two decades have seen a significant increase in the quantity of research within informal urban settlements. Mathare, an informal settlement of 206,564 residents in Nairobi, Kenya is no exception. Residents have for 2 years vocalized their disapproval of research duplication, extractive practices, and unfulfilled promises of scientific research. CBOs have set up a network, Mathare Special Planning Area Research Collective (MSPARC), to cocreate a more ethical and collective research strategy, one that not only includes residents more centrally in the research process, but also connects scientific and community researchers, opening up the knowledge network.

Conventional ethical protocols treat research as an individual enterprise. An alternative ethical perspective situates research as part of a collective enterprise and recenters the margins of knowledge production. Scientific researchers are situated as part of a larger research collective and their projects are embedded into local research histories. Critically, the knowledge produced remains at the community-level as a tool for civic action.

This paper explores the vision of such a research collective and the iterative steps necessary to build one that is inclusive and impactful. We base this on a pilot in Mathare, where researchers from Delft, Erasmus, and Leiden University in the Netherlands partner with local CBOs and MSPARC, to clean-up the research waste in Mathare, make it accessible for the community and researchers and design a methodology for building and running a research collective. This aims at offering a new approach to ethical research that can be useful and replicable across contexts.

Panel Poli37
Pasts and futures of research ethics in the African contexts
  Session 1 Saturday 3 June, 2023, -