ACT has produced a series of video interviews done during the 1st ACT Synergy Conference (25 February 2019, Brussels) to collect the reflections of relevant experts on their experiences about Communities of Practice (CoP), what are the particularities of CoPs and what is their usefulness to foster institutional change towards gender equality.
Gloria Bonder, member of the ACT Consortium, is the Director of the Department of Gender, Society and Policies of the Latin American Postgraduate Institute of Social Sciences (FLACSO Argentina) and coordinator of the UNESCO Regional Chair on Women, Science and Technology in Latin America. In this video interview, she synthesizes the characteristics of Communities of Practice and how they can help universities and research organisations to strengthen and deepen Gender Equality policies and programmes. As Gloria Bonder points out, a Community of Practice is different to a network: it builds a sense of belonging, trust and a will to collaboratively produce new knowledge.
On her side, Beverley Damonse, Group Executive: Science Engagement and Corporate Relations of the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa, highlights the need to let Communities of Practice progress and not limit them in terms of what kind of questions might be asked. The issues that ACT is tackling are cross-cutting and broad, and must be considered from multiple perspectives.
Regarding good practices and experiences of Communities of Practice, Karolina Kublickiene, Associate Professor and director of a doctoral programme at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, talks about their PhD training programme and how it is functioning as a Community of Practice that helps to implement a gender perspective in clinical research and doctoral educational content. Anastasia Zabaniotou, Professor at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece) and coordinator of the H2020 project TARGET, comments on the experience of the Mediterranean Network of Engineering Schools (RMEI) and how their collaboration is a catalyser to raise awareness, inspire action and promote a change of organisational culture and values in its member institutions.
Other experts who share their views on the ACT Communities of Practice:
Lidia Borrell-Damián, Director for Research and Innovation at the European University Association (EUA), comments on how Communities of Practive contribute to improving gender equality and raise-awareness on existing inequalities at universities and research centres.
Magdalena Wencka, Co-lead of Gender Mainstreaming Action of the European Integrated Center for the Development of New Metallic Alloys and Compounds (Poland), considers the Communities of Practice supported by the ACT project a tool to reach different audiences and increase awareness on GE at all levels of R&I organisations.
Meytal Eran Jona, Academic consultant of the Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel), speaks about the utility of Communities of Practice to enhance the implementation of gender equality plans by increasing the power of the group. CoPs facilitate that different people work together interdisciplinary and join efforts to achieve a common goal.
Isabel Ruckelshauss, International Policy Manager at UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), speaks about the Gender Working Group (GWG) of the Global Research Council.
Astrid Zuurbier, Coordinator of Diversity Policy at the Dutch Research Council (NWO), comments on the utility of working together in a Community of Practice to enhace collaborative learning and mutual support towards gender equality in Research Funding Organisations (RFOs).
All video interviews are available here.