Universiteit Leiden

nl en


Liveable Planet Lunch Meeting: "The dark side of co-creation in sustainability research"

Thursday 20 April 2023
Liveable communities – Liveable Planet
Hybrid: Live at the van Steenis building, room E.003A and online in MS Teams

You are invited to join us for the fourteenth lunch meeting of the Liveable Planet programme lunch series. This meeting can be attended live in the van Steenis building E0.001.



Short introduction


Stasja Koot and Marja Spierenburg will take the stage for a short presentation, followed by an opportunity to discuss:

The dark side of co-creation in sustainability research

Sustainability problems such as biodiversity loss and climate change are problems with many direct and indirect drivers and cross-scale linkages. Studying these grand societal challenges requires the collaboration not only of different scientific disciplines, but also the involvement of stakeholders who have an impact on sustainability problems. Co-creation of knowledge is believed to contribute to a greater willingness of societal actors to change their behaviour and adopt more sustainable policies and practices, and has often become a requirement for research funding. However, complicating factors are the often unequal power relations between the stakeholders involved, and the uneven distribution of impacts on, and impacts of sustainability problems. This presentation discusses the ‘dark side’ of co-creation: what happens when powerful organizations put pressure on researchers to adapt their findings when these do not present the desired image, or even to silence unwelcome perspectives and opinions? And what if they even try to obstruct researchers’ attempts to involve other, less powerful stakeholders in the co-creation process? Stasja Koot (WUR) and Marja Spierenburg (LU) discuss these thorny issues on the basis of their experiences in studying biodiversity conservation projects in southern Africa. Stasja Koot will elaborate on his experiences with trophy hunting proponents and WWF Namibia, whereas Marja Spierenburg will discuss her experiences with the national organization of wildlife ranchers in South Africa.

Liveable communities – Liveable Planet

The Liveable Planet programme is one of the eight interdisciplinary programmes that were launched at Leiden University in 2020

Leiden’s Liveable Planet programme aims to combine scientific, policy, socio-cultural and historical/archaeological research at Leiden University into coherent research with which we can tackle the major challenges of a transition to a habitable planet with ecological sustainability. The programme will  serve as a hub for the wide range of relevant research carried out within Leiden University and welcomes interaction with colleagues interested in contributing to the initiative within as well as outside of Leiden University.

Liveable communities – Liveable Planet

This website uses cookies.  More information.