Journal Article

Co-Creation as an agonistic practice in the favela of Santa Marta, Rio de Janeiro


This paper explores the potential of ‘Co-Creation’ to develop new understandings of neighbourhood disadvantage in collaboration with civil society partners. It argues that there is a growing need for collaborative knowledge production with communities carrying vernacular knowledges previously invalidated by dominant epistemologies. The first part of the paper undertakes a reconceptualization of ‘co-creation’, a term usually associated with citizen involvement in neoliberal contexts, redeveloping it as a ‘critical artistic practice’ (Chantal Mouffe, 2013) in which new ways of imagining the city can be articulated. The second part of the paper examines the practice of Co-Creation as a participatory methodology involving artists, researchers and stakeholders in developing ‘agonistic spaces’ by scrutinizing a five-day workshop conducted in the Rio de Janeiro favela of Santa Marta to explore multiple understandings and meanings of this neighbourhood. Through an analysis of creative workshop activities such as photovoice and mapping exercises, the authors explore the potential of the Co-Creation approach to construct new subjectivities that can help subvert existing configurations of power. The conclusion formulates some recommendations about future strategies to maximise Co-Creation’s potential to engage communities in collaborative knowledge production about their neighbourhoods and bring about positive change. 

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Carpenter, Juliet
Horvath, Christina
Spencer, Ben

Oxford Brookes departments

School of the Built Environment


Year of publication: 2020
Date of RADAR deposit: 2020-04-16

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

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