Hub highlights at the Ocean Literacy Dialogues 

During the Ocean Literacy Dialogues, Hub researchers contributed to several events:  

  • ‘Social sculpture – Empathy in the time of ecological Apartheid’ by Hub researcher and Empatheratre co-founder Dylan McGarry in collaboration with the UNESCO Ocean Literacy Dialogues. 
  • Hub Director Elisa Morgera was a co-discussant at the Panel on Diversity Equity and Inclusivity values – following the screening of ‘Mapping for justice’ followed by Elisa and Dylan McGarry leading a group activity with the attendees alongside Empatheatre co-founder Mpume Mthombeni.  
  • Dylan McGarry presented a paper “Adjusting the weave of Ocean Literacy in South Africa: Inviting a critical conversation and some imaginative leaps” during a panel on innovation within ocean literacy, The paper was researched together with early-career researcher Anna James on moving away from ocean literacy to ocean fluency, in collaboration with the UNESCO Ocean Literacy Dialogues. 
  • Early-career researcher Nina Rivers spoke at the panel on ocean literacy and communication, in collaboration with the UNESCO Ocean Literacy Dialogues. 
Early-career researcher Nina Rivers

Key messages  

Hub Director, Elisa Morgera: 

“Transformative ocean science needs to be based on fair research partnerships and mutual learning between Global North/South scientists and among natural, social and legal researchers and Indigenous and local knowledge holders.” 

“Ocean science funders need to provide flexibility for iterative research co-design, so that transformative research partnerships can be grounded in local contexts and be responsive to new learning and needs.” 

“It is essential to learn from past and current blind spots and unfair conditions in ocean science, and consider these in themselves as research questions for iterative learning.”

Hub Director, Elisa Morgera
Early-career researcher Elsemi Olwage (University of Namibia):  

“The lack of recognition of cultural and social claims and connections and Indigenous knowledge systems in the marine space justifies exclusion in decision-making, including in the fisheries, mining, extraction and conservation sectors. This fosters ongoing structural, epistemic and slow environmental violences in post-colonial contexts.”  

“Struggles over recognising marine cultural heritage are inseparable from struggles over equitable access-rights to land and resources, coastal belonging and reparation, and cultural and social memory.”   

“In engaging with erased or submerged social and cultural relations and knowledges in the marine space, we need to build on existing place-based and indigenous research methodologies and solidarities. These can offer possibilities for knowledge co-production that is communal, reiterative and relational. It can also offer a political and historical positioning that allows for a critical engagement with those cultural and neo-colonial relations and values that support ongoing violences and/or extraction-based economies.” 

Early-career researcher Elsemi Olwage (University of Namibia), Early-career researcher Lysa Wini (University of Strathclyde, UK), Hub researcher Bolanle Eronosho (University of Cape Coast, Ghana/University of Nottingham)
Hub researcher Bolanle Eronosho (University of Cape Coast, Ghana/University of Nottingham): 

“There is a need to acknowledge the historical-cultural, institutional and legal barriers that continue to deny Indigenous communities and local knowledge holders’ access to oceans governance and decision making spaces. To transform oceans governance, law and policy frameworks and processes must address the existing disconnect between the customary laws and practices.” 

Early-career researcher Lysa Wini (University of Strathclyde, UK):  

“To truly transform ocean governance, we must acknowledge invaluable Indigenous knowledge into decision-making processes. To achieve this, we must support researchers from ocean communities and provide space for them to engage in Indigenous research methods. These traditional methodologies offer alternative perspectives and approaches to transformative ocean science.” 

Hub researcher and Empatheatre co-founder Dylan McGarry (Rhodes University): 

“Art is a form of a research, making is a practice of thinking and theorising, and it is one of the most powerful instruments in supporting customary governance.” 

“Ocean literacy needs to expand beyond the confines of marine science education, which if misused can be a form of social engineering and cause climate anxiety, if it’s not tempered and supported by ocean humanities and cultural education.” 

“The challenge 10 UN ocean decade must re-shift its definition of “society” to focus on the privileged irresponsibility of the 1% which are primarily responsible for ocean decline and climate collapse. It must also refocus attention to supporting climate anxiety and building social tissue through convivial ocean culture education.” 

Related SDGs:

  • Quality education
  • Sustainable cities and communities
  • Climate action
  • Life below water
  • Peace, justice and strong institutions
  • Partnership for the goals