'Dialogue, review and reflect': A spiral of co-learning and co-research to surface knowledge on the right to health

Maria Stuttaford, Gabriela Glattstein-Young, Leslie London


This article explores how participants of a Learning Network, comprising members of six civil society organisations and academics from four universities, understand and participate in a dialogical process of co-learning and knowledge generation about the right to health. First, we describe a co-research process that facilitates the surfacing of previously suppressed or undocumented knowledge on the right to health. Second, we explore how co-research captures and disseminates knowledge related to collective action undertaken by civil society organisations working towards translating the right to health into practice. While undertaking this exploration, we maintain an interest in an African appreciation of ‘collective’ knowledge. Through the dialogical process and spiral of reflection, power between the research partners has been shared and spaces for co-learning and co-research created. Subaltern knowledge on the right to health has been placed within a constellation of plural knowledges, rather than at the periphery. Surfacing ‘other’ knowledge on the right to health reflects the lived realities of people and assists in understanding how the right to health can be achieved in practice.

Keywords: Health and human rights, participatory action research, co-learning, co-research, knowledge, South Africa

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