The Community Knowledge Project/Proyecto del Entendimiento y Conocimiento Comunitaria is an experimental practice of knowledge making that seeks a modest but transformative connection between the people and outcomes of research-action. The CKP/PECC is a practice that explicitly addresses the systems and structures of inequality in which all humans and non humans live. The CKP/PECC is inspired by the Environmental Justice Movements around the globe where expertise itself is challenged and redefined. Coburn (2006) nicely details the promise of local knowledge for a new generation of scholars that seek a connection rather than domination or mastery over their subjects/objects of interest. His is an introduction and a doorway into a situated knowledge making (Haraway 1988) practice that includes, on equal footing, expert and local knowledge makers. Neither takes an upper hand for Coburn. Rather, expert and local knowledge practices share many qualities that make the dichotomy only useful as a mnemonic, not as epistemological or ontological truism.
We feel that it is insufficient to approach social empowerment and health improvement through "bottom up" or "community based" methods. Our view is that:

  • True implementation of community-based participatory action research methods requires community-design, not just community-participation.
  • Participation in our model begins with the premise that the community is already powerful. It already has activists and agents of change. It lacks the creative space/tension for productive conflict.