Knowledge Mobilization (KMb): Multiple Contributions & Multi-Production Of New Knowledge

The Success of Making Connections Matter!

Making Connections Matter UK

On February 3rd & 4th 2014 I attended the 1st UK Knowledge Mobilisation (KMb) Forum (spelled mobilization with a “z” in North America) which took place in London with tremendous success! The theme of the event was  Making Connections Matter – which certainly lived up to its name.  Great thanks goes to Nesta (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) for hosting the event that brought together about 60 attendees from across the UK.

Cathy Howe who attended our Canadian Forum last year from the UK was an incredible conference coordinator and forum lead. Cathy helped facilitate genuine connections across a variety of sectors in an environment of sharing experiences and challenges.

After attending last year’s Canadian event Cathy realized the potential for such a gathering in the UK “to achieve better services and better lives” through knowledge mobilization activities. By bringing together individuals from diverse organizations, professions and communities, the UK Forum provided learning and professional development that offered surprisingly valuable insights and similar experiences across a range of fields and experiences.

A Canadian group was excited to attend, including David Phipps from ResearchImpact, Peter Levesque from the Institute for Knowledge Mobilization and myself from KMbeing Knowledge Mobilization Support Services.

I heard someone say that they had not heard of any other multi-sectoral conference like this ever taking place in the UK as events always seem to be so “specialized” and discipline-specific. The UK Forum participants came from a mix of areas that included government policy advisors; economics and evaluation; health research; youth & criminal justice; cancer research; social investment; women’s health; prison & corrections; freelance writing; science; non-governmental organizations; knowledge management; families & relationships; pharmacy; and a variety of university scholars, administrators and community organizations – all in one room and at one event.

There was even an opportunity for remote participants to attend and in-person attendees to interact with people from SecondLife. I must admit I initially had my doubts about the feasibility of bringing “virtual” people to the UK Forum – yet these concerns were quickly gone when I saw the value that remote participants added to the event. Forum posters were available for viewing in SecondLife and presentations were live-streamed in a virtual auditorium as remote participants joined in by social media. There was even a SecondLife attendee who won first-place in a poster competition and provided a very impressive display of using SecondLife as an inclusive conference extension tool to bring people together at such forums from around the world.  One SecondLife participant @GeorgeJulian has even posted a blog about the virtual experience.

#UKKMbF14 was also used to comment on Twitter.

All in all the UK Forum achieved above-and-beyond what it set out to do. I’m sure the important cross-sector relationships and momentum that was started by this first forum will continue. I look forward to bringing back to Canada the success of this UK event and sharing this international extension of our “sister” forum at the upcoming Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forum 2014 on June 9th and 10th in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. I’m also excited about returning next year to the 2nd UK Forum expected to be held in Edinburgh, Scotland. Hope to see you there – or maybe even in SecondLife!

3 responses to “The Success of Making Connections Matter!

  1. Pingback: UK Knowledge Mobilisation Forum 2014 | Cathy Howe

  2. Pingback: Where do you think the knowledge mobilisation field will be in 5 years? | KMbeing

  3. Pingback: Missing Conferences 2015: UK & Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forums | KMbeing

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