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Mapping knowledge exchange in the UK hedgerow management system: a report on a Workshop held at Hedgerow Futures, the first International Hedgelink Conference

The Open University
Publication Date
  • Communication
  • Political Science


Summary This short report provides an account of a workshop held as part of a conference – Hedgerow Futures, held at Staffordshire University in September 2012. The workshop captured the thinking of 37 conference participants on knowledge exchange in hedgerow management systems. Knowledge flows and exchanges between producers, brokers and users of knowledge were mapped by the participants. These maps and associated discussions provided an overall picture of the hedgerow system by those actively involved in it. They showed the complexity of knowledge exchanges that occurred and the large number of organisations involved. The workshop found that: •The weight of the flow of knowledge was from knowledge creators to knowledge users, with most passing through brokers or intermediaries and little flowing from users to creators. •The hedgerow management system is fragmented and complex, with users not always. clear where to go for the knowledge they need. •Knowledge from policymakers to users was not necessarily constructive. •Little knowledge was depicted as flowing from farmers to government. •Good quality information was not necessarily flowing from creators to others. •A number of important organisations, such as Defra, NGO’s and charities played more than one role yet were organisations with limited resources. •There were a variety of perceptions potentially leading to different assumptions about who is responsible for what and different expectations about who should be doing something. •Improvements in communication were needed. •The Hedgelink partnership plays an important role in communication within the hedgerow management system but also has limited resources to draw on. •Providing an activity, such as this workshop, offers a way for people to engage with and learn from one another, in a more direct way than a conventional conference presentation.

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