News & events


Participatory Action Research and Decolonising Praxis: Mapping the Field

02 May 2017
12:30 - 14:00

Date: 02 May 2017

Time:  12h30 – 14h00  

Venues: Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town

Presentation is available for download below:

“Decolonising research is a purposeful approach to transforming the institution of research, the deep underlying structures and taken-for-granted ways of organizing, conducting, and disseminating research knowledge”  (Smith 2005).

The focus of this seminar is to introduce decolonised research methods as an approach that disrupts Western and Eurocentric modes of knowing and knowledge production, specifically research. The Western positivist tradition of knowledge is grounded in the notion that research is an objective and value-free activity that can make sense of human and natural realities. Decolonised methods on the other hand attempt to restructure power relations in the research process, to honour the knowledge and strengths with/in/of diverse communities.  These methods inherently promote social justice by exposing and questioning the power dynamics of society, including power inequities. In this presentation we share key insights from a growing body of work on decolonising research methods, in particular participatory action-research (PAR) projects.
We first outline the epistemological bases for challenging positivist research constructs that are enmeshed in the culture and worldview of Euro-American society. We then provide practical examples of concrete ways to decolonize research based on Linda Tuhiwai Smith’s book’s Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples (2001). We seek to show that decolonizing research strategies are less about the struggle for method and more about the spaces that make decolonizing research possible.

The HSRC seminar series is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The views and opinions expressed therein  as well as findings and statements of the seminar series do not necessarily represent the views of DST.

Kindly RSVP by 01 May 2017

Cape Town : HSRC, 116-118 Merchant House, Buitengracht Street, Cape Town. Contact: Carmen August ,Tel (021) 4668004, Fax (021) 461 0299 or e-mail:

Durban :  The Atrium, 5th Floor, 430 Peter Mokaba Ridge, Berea, 4001 , Contact: Ridhwaan Khan, Tel (031) 242 5400, cell: 083 788 2786 or email: , or Hlengiwe Zulu at e-mail

: HSRC Video Conference, 1st floor HSRC Library Human Sciences Research Council, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria. Arlene Grossberg, Tel: (012) 302 2811 or e-mail: