Seeding the Grassroots of Research on Furries: Lessons Learned from 15 Years of Creative Knowledge Mobilization, Valuing Community Partnerships, and Correcting the Record on Stigmatized Communities with Evidence-Based Scholarship
This paper documents a case study of how academics can use traditional research and non-traditional knowledge mobilization to improve the dissemination of findings related to stigmatized communities. The International Anthropomorphic Research Project (IARP) used peer-reviewed scholarship to challenge pervasive media misconceptions and misinformation about furries. Finding the reach of traditional academic outlets was inadequate to meaningfully impact mainstream misconceptions, we rebranded our research efforts under the name Furscience and utilized social marketing and creative dissemination to repackage the IARP’s research into more public-friendly, accessible formats. Furscience has become a multi-purpose platform specifically engineered to forge connections among academics, furries, the public, and media. It also supports the furry community’s own diverse, anti-stigma efforts by providing data, public education, and partnerships. We offer preliminary evidence that suggests Furscience has increased its public reach and that furries, themselves, see improvements in how the media and public understand their community. This case study offers academics who work with stigmatized populations—especially those plagued by misinformation—and engage in translational research an example of how data, community and media partnerships, and non-traditional dissemination strategies can improve research accessibility and anti-stigma efforts. We conclude with a summary of the lessons learned by Furscience.
Roberts, S., Davies-Kneis, C., Gerbasi, K., Fein, E., Plante, C., Reysen, S., & Côté, J. (2023). Seeding the Grassroots of Research on Furries: Lessons Learned from 15 Years of Creative Knowledge Mobilization, Valuing Community Partnerships, and Correcting the Record on Stigmatized Communities with Evidence-Based Scholarship. Deviant Behavior. https://doi.org/10.1080/01639625.2023.2237634