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Deconstructing the co-production ideal: Dilemmas of knowledge and representation in a co-design project with people with intellectual disabilities

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326-336
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability
Issue number4
Early online date11 Sep 2020
Accepted/In press2020
E-pub ahead of print11 Sep 2020

King's Authors


Background: The co-production concept holds out the promise of forging new relationships between professionals and service users with intellectual disabilities. However, little empirical research explores the embodied practices of these projects occasion. We identify two key tensions intrinsic to such projects; the tension between expert/professional knowledge and lay/experiential knowledge, and between co-producers as different from or typical of the public they are representing. Methods: We explored how these tensions were manifested and responded to in ongoing interactions by analysing video recordings of co-design groups where people with intellectual disabilities engaged in the production of Easy Read materials. Results: We noticed the instability of participants’ claims to expert/professional knowledge and the challenges of attending to and mobilising participants’ experiential knowledge within the constraints of the group task. Conclusions: Interactional dynamics were managed to preserve consensus and homogeneity within the groups, with the potential for reinforcing a limited identity associated with “intellectual disability.”.

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