We launched our UN Decade Implementing Partner program ‘Transdisciplinary Toolbox for Transformative Ocean Governance’ at the UN Ocean Decade Conference in April 2024

The launch of the Hub’s Transdisciplinary Toolbox for Transformative Ocean Governance was warmly received at the UN Ocean Decade Conference on 9 April 2024. The innovative and unique transformative practices of the Hub sparked generative conversations during and after the event, reinforcing our commitment to exchange with and support other ocean researchers in their longing for transdisciplinary and transformative work.   

The Transdisciplinary Toolbox is a skill, method and resource sharing program developed as part of the Hub’s Decade Implementing Partner mandate. The Hub has been an endorsed UN Ocean Decade Implementing Partner since October 2023, committing to implement transdisciplinary research methods across the Decade. The UN Ocean Decade Conference organised in Barcelona, Spain  was the first public occasion in which the program was presented to an international audience. The event was open to the public beyond the attendees of the conference, consisting of researchers, ocean professionals, activists, artists and youth.  

Then event presented some of the components of the Transdisciplinary Toolbox program that will be offered to the Decade partners and research programs, and it will also be made available for ocean researchers beyond the Decade who wish to implement transdisciplinary methods in their work. The various research outputs, from academic research papers, policy briefs, edited volumes and books to art-based research outputs such as theatre-making methodologies, audio and visual art works and documentary films are included as ‘tools and toolkits’ within the Toolbox – developed thought the innovative, participatory Hub approach to the ocean governance. 

Highlights of the Satellite event  

Elisa Morgera & Emma McKinley

The event opened with the performance of ‘Indlela Yokuphila (The Soul’s Journey)’ by actress and the co-founder of Empatheatre Mpume Mthombeni, followed by the presentation by the Hub researcher and Empatheatre co-founder Dylan McGarry (Rhodes University, South Africa), who took the stage to discuss the transdisciplinary methods used to create  Indlela Yokuphila, which is a story of the ocean as a spiritual and ancestral realm for some communities in South Africa.  The story was presented in a form of a 8-minute animation film, which took five years to create and which accompanied Mthombeni’s live performance at the event. This was followed by series of presentations on transdisciplinary work by the Hub’s researchers in various stages of their career from the Hub director, Elisa Morgera, to the early-career researchers working on projects in Namibia, South Africa, Ghana and Solomon Islands. 

Early-career researcher and Hub’s Knowledge Exchange Associate Milica Prokic (University of Strathclyde, UK) gave an introductory overview of the toolbox concept and extended the invitation to the Decade partners and programs as well as researchers beyond the Decade, to engage with the collection of research outputs and artwork that make the Toolbox curated to offer guidance in implementing transdisciplinary methods. 

Hub early-career researcher Elsemi Olwage (University of Namibia, Namibia) presented a research project focused on the Topnaar community of Namibia, the plight of their misplacement from the coast, their resilience and  their efforts  to amplify their voice. Hub early-career researcher Lysa Wini  (University of Strathclyde, UK) followed with a presentation of her research on her native Solomon Islands – a vast expanse of the ocean peppered by about 900 islands, and the interactions between the local knowledge and custom and the current policy and governance mechanisms. Hub researcher Bolanle Erinosho (University of Cape Coast, Ghana / University of Nottingham, UK) spoke of  the position of women between customary and statutory law, how the exclusion of women from power hierarchies impacts on Ghana’s ocean in the context of the legal clinics for women developed by the Hub in order to address these issues. Early-career researcher Nina Rivers, who works on the Knowledge Integration across the Hub wrapped up the talk with the overview of the  work done on integration the finds across the Hub and its country groups. 

Hub early-career researchers Elsemi Olwage (University of Namibia, Namibia), Lysa Wini  (University of Strathclyde, UK) & Hub researcher Bolanle Erinosho (University of Cape Coast, Ghana / University of Nottingham, UK) presenting at ocean decade 2024 – Photos: Annie Mae

Hub director Elisa Morgera, alongside with Emma McKinley (Marine Social Science Network, Cardiff University, UK) wrapped up the event by the dialogues forum speaking about the value of the transdisciplinary research from the fair, equitable and inclusive ocean governance ancle, that is worth pursuing regardless of the challenges. The dialogues extended into the evening after the official program was over. 

Nina Rivers presenting at ocean decade 2024 – Photo: Milica Prokic

The Hub is committed to working with researchers across the UN Ocean Decade who wish to implement transdisciplinary research to their work. 

If you are interested in collaborating, please get in touch with Hub Knowledge Exchange Associate Milica Prokic at milica.prokic@strath.ac.uk 

Related SDGs:

  • Life below water
  • Peace, justice and strong institutions
  • Partnership for the goals