In the inaugural remarks, the key resource persons set the context for the workshop by discussing the disparity between academic research and grassroots knowledge, and the need for new structures and ways of knowing in a fractured, troubled world.
Prof. Lingam shared the background of the workshop’s inception, drawing on her own experience in academia to point out that traditional, and often even participatory, forms of research do not adequately reflect and represent the wisdom and clarity found in communities on the ground.
Sujata Khandekar related CORO’s evolution as a community-led grassroots movement. She pointed out that the workshop was a space for a celebration of the knowledge, hope, and change flourishing at the grassroots
Prof. Schieffer shared Trans4m’s integral approach to knowledge creation through employing Participatory Action Research processes. He also provided insights into the case of Trans4m’s partner organisation Sarvodaya in Sri Lanka, emphasizing the significance of co-creating a wider space for collective knowledge production in order to bring tangible changes to people, communities and society at large.
Following the inauguration, Dr. Rama Mani (Theatre of Transformation Academy) led a participatory activity to introduce the workshop participants to each other. She began the activity with a first-person story of a Nigerian priest who used native plants to bring health and prosperity to his village. In small groups, participants described their passions as a way of introduction. The activity was concluded by each participant planting a symbolic stone with a single inspirational phrase.