What is “decolonial research methodology”? How can Arctic research meet societal needs and how can science step out of the ivory tower and legitimise its activities in the Arctic, which is also the homeland of Indigenous people? These are the foundational questions that are currently discussed in Arctic research under the keyword “co-creation of knowledge”. This has become increasingly a prominent concept within the Arctic research community across all disciplines and within the different IASC working groups. However, it is not always clear what this collaborative process of creating knowledge through research partnerships with Indigenous rights holders and other societal stakeholders exactly means. Even more so, it is often obscure how to implement this approach into actual research practice, especially (but not only) in natural sciences, which do not necessarily and not always understand themselves as sciences in which the engagement with local and Indigenous people in the field sites is part of their methodological approach to create added value. Exactly this practical side of the topic was discussed during the 3-days ASSW workshop, co-funded by IASC.
One of the recommendations of ICARP III was to improve the process of co-creation of knowledge, which describes a collaborative and transdisciplinary form of knowledge generation about, from and for the Arctic. It is an approach that aims to empower, and ensures that all participants benefit equally from the knowledge produced. Unlike traditional research approaches, co-creation seeks to design research in a way that uses genuine collaboration between different knowledge systems. By leveraging the strengths of Indigenous and non-Indigenous ways of knowing, the co-creation of knowledge can help to create more holistic and inclusive research outcomes that benefit all involved (see also Hermann et al. 2023).
This workshop, organised by the ‘CO-CREATE initiative’ discussed intensely how to develop meaningful and longer-term involvement platforms for Indigenous early career researchers and Indigenous communities and people as partners in international research communities. The aim was to develop recommendations for co-creating research projects with a focus on fully fledged participation of Indigenous rights holders, Indigenous communities and individual Indigenous partners. We exchanged ideas, discussed problems, shared good practices, promoted co-create methodologies and brainstormed on how to influence funding agencies. This happened in one public workshop day and two days of a closed workshop with around 30 participants.
We developed 3 key outputs:
- We have formed a writing group that uses the input of these workshops and other important documents produced by the CO-CREATE initiative (like the roadmap to decolonial Arctic research [Hermann et al, 2023]) for developing concrete recommendations for the ICARP IV process and the next IPY and in general, to feed very actively into ICARP process by generating a roadmap and accompany this document with a short statements (timeline: till december 2024)
- Create a toolbox/resource box on existing research / co-creation protocols and guidelines, collect videos already existing on the topic, podcasts, etc.. This will become useful piece of information for people hesitant and insecure how to start co-creation with Indigenous communities.
- Educational intervention. How to get established, powerful researchers to talk and think about these things? Provide tools to get new perspectives, self-reflection (reflect on your own positionality)
Herrmann, T.M., Brunner Alfani, F., Chahine, A., Doering, N., Dudeck, S., Elster, J., Fjellheim, E., Henriksen, J.E., Hermansen, N., Holmberg, A., Kramvig, B., Keskitalo, A.M.N., Omma, E.M., Saxinger, G., Scheepstra, A., van der Schot, J. (2023). Comprehensive Policy-Brief to the EU Commission: Roadmap to Decolonial Arctic Research. University of Oulu, Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research- UFZ, The Indigenous Voices (IVO) research group – Álgoálbmogii jienat, Arctic University of Norway UiT, Saami Council. Áltá – Káráš- johka – Leipzig – Oulu. https://phaidra.univie.ac.at/detail/o:1653557
Date and Location
ASSW 2023 I February 2023 I Vienna, Austria
IASC Working Groups funding the project
- Gertrude Saxinger (University of Vienna and Austrian Polar Research Institute, Austria)
- Annette Scheepstra (University of Groningen, Netherlands)
- Elle Merete Omma (Saami Council)
Year funded by IASC