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Mobilising knowledge in community - university partnerships: what does a community of practice approach contribute?


  • Angie Hart
  • Ceri Davies
  • Kim Aumann
  • Etienne Wenger
  • Kay Aranda
  • Becky Heaver
  • David Wolff


Over the past decade different approaches to mobilising knowledge in Community - University Partnership (CUP) contexts have emerged in the UK. Despite this, detailed accounts of the intricate texture of these approaches, enabling others to replicate or learn from them, are lacking. This paper adds to the literature which begins to address this gap. The case considered here concentrates on one particular approach to knowledge mobilisation (KM) developed in the UK context. It provides an account of the authors' involvement in applying the concept, and practical lessons from a community of practice (CoP) approach, to developing knowledge exchange (KE) between academics, parents and practitioners. The authors' approach to KM explicitly attempts to combat power differentials between academics and community partners, and problematises knowledge power hierarchies. The paper explores the CoP concept and critically investigates key elements of relevance to developing KE in the CUP context. Specific themes addressed are those of power, participation and working across boundaries by CoP members with very different subject positions and knowledge capitals. The paper concludes that CoPs can be a useful mechanism for KM, but have many limitations depending on the specific context in which KM is being undertaken.

Suggested Citation

  • Angie Hart & Ceri Davies & Kim Aumann & Etienne Wenger & Kay Aranda & Becky Heaver & David Wolff, 2013. "Mobilising knowledge in community - university partnerships: what does a community of practice approach contribute?," Contemporary Social Science, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(3), pages 278-291, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:rsocxx:v:8:y:2013:i:3:p:278-291
    DOI: 10.1080/21582041.2013.767470

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