Home About Browse Search

Nyström, Maria, 2022. Identity frames in knowledge co-creation : facilitators for sustainability transformations. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Urban and Rural Development



Research shows that we need transdisciplinary research to face wicked sustainability problems. One approach to creating sustainable societal transformations that are context-based is the process of co-production of knowledge. Knowledge co-creation is conducted through active processes where diverse actors and stakeholders share knowledge and experience. The goal is to broaden the perspective of existing societal narratives by allowing multiple types of knowledge to participate in the process. An aim is also to create a bridge between science and societal stakeholders.

To co-create knowledge between diverse actors and stakeholders there is a need for a facilitator. The facilitator designs the process and guides the stakeholders through it. The facilitator has an essential role in building a safe space that can foster a sense of trust and handle power imbalances between participating stakeholders.

This thesis focuses on a specific process of knowledge co-creation. The Sustainability Learning and Research Center (SWEDESD), located at Uppsala University, is (with SLU as lead) co-leading an ongoing research programme to reframe environmental communication for sustainability transformations, Mistra Environmental Communication. Within this programme, SWEDESD runs a work package on knowledge co-creation, within which a Co-Creation Lab is being developed. The Co-Creation Lab will involve diverse and possibly antagonistic stakeholders participating to co-create knowledge on carbon farming, bushfires, and eco-burials.

Within the research programme of the Co-Creation Lab, no focus is on researching the role of the facilitator. The researcher’s role as a facilitator is also under-researched. Since research shows that the facilitator is essential for a successful outcome of knowledge co-creation, this thesis can contribute to important insights on how facilitators enable knowledge co-creation in the case of the Co-Creation Lab. Therefore, interviews with the Co-Creation Lab facilitators were conducted to understand their role. Frame analysis helped to gain an understanding of how the facilitators frame their roles and of what aspects they make salient in enabling the co-creation process. The identity frames found were the process expert, the equal knowledge mediator, and the inclusive process leader. The analysis also helped identify potential challenges faced in the Co-Creation Lab, among them the power and knowledge and the integration of knowledge. The challenge of power and knowledge entails different knowledge hierarchies in society, where the facilitator has a vital role in navigating this balance. If not, full participation of stakeholders with less agency and power will be hindered. This challenge also discusses the power position of the facilitator. The facilitator has a privileged role in leading the process and needs to reflect on this for the stakeholders to feel ownership of the process. The challenge with integrating knowledge is concerned with the need for groundwork to bring the diverse perspectives together. There should not be a strive for consensus but rather an acceptance of different perspectives. Time is also a challenge since integration of knowledge is a process that takes a lot of time.

This thesis contributes to the reflective practice of facilitators and to the understanding of what is essential for factors to think about and act on when facilitating knowledge co-creation processes.

Main title:Identity frames in knowledge co-creation
Subtitle:facilitators for sustainability transformations
Authors:Nyström, Maria
Supervisor:Hallgren, Lars and Friman, Eva
Examiner:Holmgren, Sara
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2022
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:NM026 Environmental communication and management - Master's programme
Supervising department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
Keywords:co-production of knowledge, co-creation lab, facilitation, sustainability, frames, facilitators identity, learning, transdisciplinary research
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Social sciences, humanities and education
Deposited On:14 Jul 2022 09:33
Metadata Last Modified:15 Jul 2022 01:06

Repository Staff Only: item control page