Bridging Cultural Perspectives by Isabelle Collins

I’m Isabelle Collins and I was the Principal Analyst, Monitoring and Evaluation at Superu (the Social Policy Evaluation and Research Unit) in New Zealand.

Bridging Cultural Perspectives cover

Rad Resource:

My colleagues at Superu, and its previous entity the Families Commission, have published the Bridging Cultural Perspectives approach. This approach acknowledges and respects the value of all knowledge streams. The approach also provides spaces for dialogue between the knowledge streams.   This is a new way of collaboration that requires researchers, policy makers, planners and decision-makers to go beyond their previous conceptual boundaries. You can download the paper here.

Bridging Cultural Perspectives is made up of two models. One, He Awa Whiria – Braided Rivers, was developed by Angus Macfarlane as part of his work in the Advisory Group on Conduct Problems. The model is dynamic. It allows for different cultural knowledge systems to function separately or together, just as the streams of a braided river flow apart or together in their journey to the sea.

NZ braided rivers diagram

The other model, Negotiated Spaces, was developed by researchers in the Te Hau Mihi Ata project. It applies the traditional concept of w?nanga to the modern context. The w?nanga are designed to facilitate conversation between m?tauranga M?ori experts and M?ori scientists.

The two models work together well – He Awa Whiria – Braided Rivers provides a conceptual model and Negotiated Spaces provides the dialogue space and the means of application.

Hot Tip: The Superu website has links to a range of work in this area, including  Family Wellbeing and Wh?nau Rangatiratanga Frameworks. http://www.superu.govt.nz/current-projects/families-and-wh-nau-wellbeing-research-programme. This page includes latest contact details for key researchers on the programme, as Superu itself is in the process of being disestablished. Grab it while you can!

Hot Tip: If you haven’t been to New Zealand to see our amazing braided rivers, you really should.

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