Our call to democratise, diversify and decolonise knowledge

At Acume, our purpose is to advance the democratisation, diversification and decolonisation of academic knowledge. But what does this actually mean in practice?


13 April 2022

In this post, I will define exactly what is meant by these terms and why supporting these values will transform academia for the better. Will you join us?

The democratisation of knowledge

We aim to democratise and de-eliticise academic knowledge by making research findings accessible to every professional across our sectors. 

Academia is an ivory tower. Currently, only academics and few other privileged groups can access university research, which keeps its insights and benefits locked away and unable to be used. We try to break down its walls by making research available to a wider audience. 

We are a transnational organisation, working across and around borders to ensure all scholars who produce cutting-edge research have a platform with a wide and global audience of practitioners.

The diversification of knowledge

We intend to increase access to diverse ideas that challenge conventional thinking.

We understand diversity as the inclusion and representation of all researchers. No matter their gender identity, race, ethnicity, age, seniority, physical abilities, religion, political beliefs or class. It is precisely this diverse representation that makes our database valuable. 

By offering our users a diverse range of voices, we help practitioners in the field make evidence-based decisions that are adapted to local contexts and capable of greater impact. 

Access to diversity of thought helps liberate thinking from the structural constraints of the past and today’s echo chambers. It is essential for innovation and progression in both the university and across the field of international affairs and development. 

Only by healing the disciplines from centuries of blind spots, can we face the pressing challenges of the 21st century.

The decolonisation of knowledge

We protest the persistent legacy of colonialism in academia and advocate for its deconstruction.

We do so by making Acume a platform for every scholar, including regional researchers affiliated to universities outside Europe and settler states, and by sharing content that usually does not fall within the mainstream body of academic literature on international affairs and development.

It’s no coincidence that many of the world’s most prestigious universities are located in Europe and the US. Most of these institutions arose during the height of European empire and played an important role in cementing colonial power structures. Although ideas have always circulated globally, and valuable knowledge has always been produced worldwide, individuals from Europe and established settler colonies have historically had more authoritative power in academia and beyond. 

It was in these parts of the world where academics decided what counted as scientific knowledge and methods, and what did not. As a result, academic systems amplified privileged voices, while silencing many others.

Do you support our mission? We want to represent every kind of academic. Click here to learn more.