1st Edition

Embracing the Messy Complexities of Co-Creation A Dialogic Approach to Participatory, Qualitative Inquiry

By Louise Phillips Copyright 2025
    248 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    248 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Co-creation in participatory, qualitative research has become commonplace. It supports a myriad of collaborative practices – from service-user involvement in health and social care, to community capacity-building, to bottom-up climate change projects. With its democratic ambitions, transformative power and (in some contexts) goals of social justice, co-creation has much to offer, particularly in these challenging times… but it is also complex and full of tensions.

    This book offers an approach which recognises - and embraces - the messy complexities of co-creation. The approach is constructive – it revolves around creating openings for multiple voices; and, in particular, the voices of people with lived experience. And it is critical – it involves integrating critical, reflexive analyses of the intrinsic tensions in co-creation into the practice of research. The book brings participatory research into dialogue with poststructuralist, social constructionist and new materialist, posthumanist strands of qualitative inquiry. In an engaging and accessible way, the author weaves together personal storytelling and more detached analysis to illustrate her approach to producing and communicating knowledge as intertwined processes.

    The book is written for all students and researchers with an interest in collaborative research practice.

    Chapter 1: Offering a dialogic approach to conceptualizing co-creation
    Chapter 2: Mapping the contested terrain of co-creation in participatory research and qualitative inquiry
    Chapter 3: Thinking with IFADIA – an overview
    Chapter 4: Tracing the relational enactment of “co-creation”: the Parkinson’s Dance Research Project
    Chapter 5: Working with the tension in co-creation between cultivating the creative process and producing specific results
    Chapter 6: Conceptualising tensional temporalities and mutual care in co-creation
    Chapter 7: A collaborative autoethnographic inquiry into “co-creation” from participants’ perspectives
    Chapter 8: Fostering embodied experiential knowing in dialogic research communication
    Chapter 9: Epilogue


    Louise Phillips is Professor of Communication, Department of Communication and Arts, Roskilde University

    We rapidly approach a world condition in which we either collaborate or perish. Inquiry into the nature of dialogue, its potentials and limitations, is essential to our capacities to forge the future together. It is just here that the work of Louise Phillips is of central significance. Her scholarship, her sophisticated deliberations, and her experiences in participatory inquiry are without equal. All are reflected in this illuminating extension of her work into realms of embodied and artistic communication.

    --Kenneth J. Gergen, Ph.D., Senior Research Professor in Psychology at Swarthmore College, and the President of the Taos Institute

    Books on participatory research and related approaches often present what Erving Goffman would call the ''front stage'' to show its methods and techniques, impact and democratic potential. Louise Phillips dares to share the ''back-stage'' narrating about the messy dynamics of in- and exclusion in the process of knowledge co-creation, enacting a 'discomforting reflexivity.' Herewith she paints a very realistic picture of the relational, ethical and political complexity of participatory research, and how to navigate the power differentials around ''co" in co-creation.  

    --Tineke Abma, Ph.D., Professor of Participation of Older People at the Department of Public Health and Primary Care at the Leiden University Medical Centre and Executive Director of Leyden Academy on Vitality and Ageing

    The book makes such a useful and timely contribution to the field of social research in the way it brings participatory research, and its focus on power, together with new materialist and posthumanist forms of inquiry, and their focus on relational becoming.

    -- Victoria Foster, Senior External Engagement Fellow, Edge Hill University, UK