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December 2019

EarthLab Lunch & Learn

A Generosity of Spirit: Bridging academic and management norms to create the Social Science for the Salish Sea research agenda

When: Tuesday, December 10 | 12:30-2:30 PM
Where: Fishery Sciences (FSH) 106
Presented by: Sara Jo Breslow, Social Science Lead for EarthLab and Leah Kintner, Ecosystem Recovery Manager for the Puget Sound Partnership.

In the past year, the Social Science for the Salish Sea project convened 40 researchers and practitioners from academic, governmental, non-profit and Indigenous organizations in Washington and British Columbia to scope an action-oriented research agenda to inform ecosystem recovery of our region. The project connected researchers and practitioners with different national, cultural, institutional and disciplinary backgrounds as well as different specialized languages, epistemologies, areas of interest, and workplace norms. Coming together to communicate and agree on a collective research agenda required time, patience, flexibility, expansive thinking, and a generosity of spirit. As co-leads, Breslow and Kintner had many conversations where they grappled with different expectations for the project as an academic and a practitioner. Where academics tend to prioritize new ideas, accuracy, and nuance, practitioners are often required to prioritize mandates, timeliness, and ease of communication. They had to find a balance, deciding what they were willing to forego in order to keep working on the project together while also learning that they both contributed expertise and original ideas as well as grappled in practical ways with real-world problems. Breslow and Kintner worked through their differences in order to facilitate the crafting of a research agenda that could both reflect academic and practitioner priorities and leverage support for environmental social science in the region.

Thank you to our co-sponsors: