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RIPE, Myanmar

RIPE (Reducing Inequalities in Public Engagement) is a partnership led by SOAS grant funding scheme, GRNPP, and in collaboration with EMReF, a Yangon-based non-profit research organisation.

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Length: 11 pages

Partners: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), UK Research & Innovation (UKRI), GRNPP, EMReF, SOAS

Credits: Akhila Krishnan (Illustration)

What is RIPE?

Funded by AHRC’s follow on impact fund, RIPE is a global partnership which:

  • highlights research on inclusive democracy through creative mediums
  • fosters understanding with local artists and practitioners in what collaboration could mean for them

Who is involved?

RIPE is a collaborative project between GRNPP, EMReF and PositiveNegatives.

We came together in Yangon 2019 for a 2 day workshop on creative collaboration with local researchers and artists. 

About the workshop participants

  • 19 participants from 6 states and regions and 9 organisations across Myanmar 
  • The researchers work on a breadth of social and political topics including gender, freedom of expression, political engagement, and environmental activism.
  • The artists come from a range of disciplines including illustration, painting, music, comedy and film. 


What was the approach?

Practice-led. We structured the workshop development and implementation to be led by practice rather than theory – where activities were prioritised over lectures; this meant that we all learned by doing, participants and facilitators alike. Our intention for such an approach was to allow the participants to trust their instincts and lived experience – and to incorporate playfulness. 

What was the impact?

Off the back of the June workshop, all GRNPP grantees that attended the workshop applied, received funding for and developed creative collaborative projects of their own. 

What the participants said:

‘I liked this workshop very much because we had to do a lot of exercises rather than listening. This workshop is different from others.’ 

‘I had to have careful communication with my partner as we have very different backgrounds. But I got a chance to learn how to understand and communicate with him and others who have different levels of knowledge and skills with various experience. I did not expect that I could collaborate with such  different people. But during the workshop, I believed that though people are different, they may have some common points and they can work through it together. I do believe that I can apply what we learned in the workshop. Especially the storytelling.’

What is the Collab Cookbook?

As a creatively-led organisation, we asked ourselves, “How can we apply the creative process to the way in which we understand and communicate our work?”. The Collab Cookbook is the answer to this inquiry. Instead of creating a text-based report on the impact of and learnings from the Creative Collaboration workshop that we facilitated, we decided to make a cookbook instead – for others to read, engage with, use, adopt and share. The intended audience for the Collab Cookbook is others in the research sector, the arts and civil society – and particularly those that fall in between. The aim for this innovative output is to advocate for the practice-led approach that underpinned our workshop development, and to share some of our processes, learnings and impacts along the way. 

Ahnu Thutaythana (Art and Research Festival)

Coordinated by GRNPP and EMReF, the participants from this workshop showcased their creative collaborative outputs at the Ahnu Thutaythana Festival and Exhibition in Yangon in November/December 2019 to engage people in imagining an inclusive new future.