SPF participates in Knowledge Democracy Initiative with the Action Research Network of the Americas (ARNA)

By Eunsook Hong

Social Publishers Foundation recently announced its participation in a new project being organized by ARNA. As a part of its Knowledge Democracy Initiative, https://knowledgedemocracy.org/, ARNA has launched a Social Solidarity project using PhotoVoice. The project is taking place online on the knowledge democracy web site, https://knowledgedemocracy.org/projects-and-events/arna-social-solidarity-project/. According to Meagan Call-Cummings, a member of the Knowledge Democracy Initiative Team, and an Assistant Professor at George Mason University, “We envision this Social Solidarity project as a virtual, participatory photovoice approach to gathering photographic and text-based insights from around the world of how people are experiencing and seeing solidarity every day during the pandemic.”

In a March 24 email to ARNA’s global listserv, action researchers and supporters around the world were invited to participate in a virtual display of social solidarity by submitting a picture that represents social solidarity during times of social distancing along with a short description of the meaning of the photo for the person submitting. Participants also can submit short videos that seek to actively build social solidarity (as opposed to representing it).

The email also offered an opportunity for longer submissions that will be published by SPF. The Foundation will include these reports in the community empowerment section of its knowledge base, https://www.socialpublishersfoundation.org/knowledge-base/. The summary section of SPF submissions also will be shown on knowledgedemocracy.org as a part of the Social Solidarity Project. Contact SPF, https://www.socialpublishersfoundation.org/contact/ for further information on longer descriptions.  

SPF President Lonnie Rowell published an essay in the SPF Knowledge Base discussing the project as a part of ARNA’s larger Knowledge Democracy Initiative, https://www.socialpublishersfoundation.org/knowledge_base/knowledge-democracy-at-work-glimpses-of-social-solidarity-in-the-pandemic/. An abbreviated version of Rowell’s report was included as the inaugural Blog posting for ARNA’s Knowledge Democracy website, https://knowledgedemocracy.org/2020/04/04/glimpses-of-social-solidarity-in-the-pandemic/.  

According to Call-Cummings, the project addresses the need for development of a social narrative that helps participants overcome the effects of the increased distance, separation, and isolation that come with the Covid-19 pandemic. Team members, she explains, “have seen and experienced an increase in social solidarity that defies distance and reaches over and across intersectional difference. We want to celebrate that solidarity.”