3rd and 4th July 2020

The Avocado Dialogues

Developing research skills for participatory methodologies

Participatory research has become essential across disciplines especially during the current humanitarian crisis, amid this challenging scenario The Avocado Dialogues is a workshop designed to help PGRs and ECRs planning to include community-engaged, participatory and/or action research in their work. This workshop will explore how such approaches can cut across disciplines to benefit communities worldwide.

The event will run entirely virtually during two hours and a half, with fifteen minute breaks, during the 3rd and 4th of July 2020 starting at 14:30 GMT+1 .

Keynote Speakers

(1) The Afro-peasant researcher, and member of the committee of Alta Montaña de Los Montes de María, will be kept temporarily confidential. This photo of the local rural landscape was taken in Los Montes de María, Colombia in 2019 by Diana Valencia Duarte from The Avocado Dialogues organising committee.(2) Dr Becerra has appointed the Alta Montaña Committee as front image. This image corresponds to a meeting of the 'Alta Montaña' Committee with the team of the National Center of Historical Memory, in the approach phase for the collaborative research she coordinated. Carmen de Bolívar, 2014. Photo by: Kristian Sanabria, Coordinator of the Local reporters team. Taken from the book: Becerra Becerra CA, Comunidad de Alta Montaña de El Carmen de Bolívar, Centro Nacional de Memoria Histórica. Documento metodológico sobre la formulación y el desarrollo de procesos de memoria locales con participación de la comunidad: Aportes desde la experiencia de la alta montaña de El Carmen de Bolívar. Bogotá, Colombia: Centro Nacional de Memoria Histórica; 2018, 199


By providing an exchange of views from the attendees and speakers, we seek to contribute from a South American perspective to the development of crucial abilities relevant for performing interdisciplinary research and conducting investigation/fieldwork with participatory methodologies. These collaborative approaches to research will be particularly crucial in post-COVID methodological investigation planning, where fieldwork might be limited. However, a strong involvement of the communities and stakeholders could contribute significantly to present and future projects.

Target audience

‘The Avocado Dialogues’ is a workshop open to PGRs and ECRs from a wide range of disciplines and is further recommended for those undertaking, or planning to, or adapting their current research methodologies to community-engaged or participatory research both in academic and non-academic contexts or planning to do so in the future.


The workshop runs online from 2:30 pm on the 3rd and 4th July, in two blocks of activities separated with a 15 minutes break, and will include activities such as :

  • Session 1 (3rd July):

o Contextualisation talk:

"What is 'The Avocado Dialogues': basic concepts related to research skills for participatory methodologies". To be Conducted by Dr Alejandra Korstanje. Followed by questions. Time: 30 min.

o Main theoretical talk:

Regarding participatory methodologies, negotiating agendas and establishing roles and involvement levels, within face-to-face or virtual (or semi-virtual) collaboration/coordination of the research. To be conducted by Dr Tom Wakeford, followed by questions. Time: 60 min.

o 'The Avocado Movement' panel (Part 1):

These panels aims to present a successful case study and demonstrate how a participative methodology could operate in practice: The Alta Montaña movement and their research on Historical Memory, one of their most celebrated achievements is the investigation project called 'Un Bosque de Memoria Viva' (A forest of Living Memory). Link to the book (in Spanish): centrodememoriahistorica.gov.co/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/un-bosque-memoria-viva.pdf

o A brief video-introduction or a 'provocation' about the research co-authored by institutional researchers and the farmers' researchers of the collective Alta Montaña de Los Montes de María. Time: 10 min.

o A round of questions for the panellists originating in Los Montes de María will be taken, some of them answered during the first day some the second day of the event. Time: 20 min

  • Session 2 (4th July):

o 'The Avocado Movement' panel (Part 2):

Answering questions from the previous session and final remarks.[1] Time: 45 min

o Practical interactive activity

Facilitated by Dr Wakeford. Presentations and discussion. Time: 60 min

o Conclusions and final remarks

Time: 15 min

A follow up virtual activity might be organised after the event to facilitate networking

Learning outcomes

By the end of this workshop you will gain basic notions about:

o Identifying and outlining researcher planning strategies using different participatory methodologies and tailoring proposals to the given context

o Exercising and pursuing as a researcher cultural empathy and cultural dialogue.

o Acknowledging diverse worldviews (cosmogonies, ontologies, and epistemologies).

o Conducting research acknowledging community’s social needs and agendas.

o Understanding and applying methodologies that will achieve higher impact investigations through effective community/environment engagement and influence.

o Understanding how participatory approaches might facilitate the re-framing and the redesign of fieldwork methodologies, which is particularly in tune with the new challenges posed during and certainly after the COVID-19 pandemic.