TURNING THE TIDE - Highlights from our arts-based research

NEW SHORT FILM: ‘Hurinin, People of the Sea’ – poignant story on the Topnaar people’s search for human rights and recognition

The short film ‘Hurinin, People of the Sea’ tells how the marginalised Topnaar people in Namibia seek recognition for their ocean-related heritage, knowledge and rights. During the colonial rule, the Topnaar sub-clan known as the Hurinin (‘the sea-people’) were forced out of the coastal areas, disrupting their centuries-old reliance on ocean resources. In contemporary Namibia, the Topnaar continue to be excluded from decision-making on the ocean. The film shows how the Hub has fostered connections between the Topnaar community and national and international actors to ensure more inclusive decision-making on the ocean.

NAMIBIA IMPACT STORY: Working with the Topnaar to protect human rights and revive ocean culture

The Hub has distilled in a new impact story the key learnings and evidence of progress towards sustainable development impact in the collaboration with the Topnaarcommunity in relation to more inclusive decision-making on the ocean. 

Read the impact story HERE >> 

Read our other impact stories
HERE >> 

NEW SHORT FILM: ‘Mapping for Justice’ — a long-lasting battle for customary rights in a World Heritage Site

The film ‘Mapping for Justice’ shows how the Hub together with its partners in South Africa has been supporting the people of Kosi Bay to claim recognition of their customary rights in the context of the iSimangaliso UNESCO World Heritage Site. Research co-produced by the Hub and the local community highlights poor participation, and lack of recognition of Indigenous knowledge systems and cultural heritage related to coastal land as human rights issues arise from the exclusionary nature of conservation and ocean governance processes and practices at local, national and international levels.

Celebrating the sacredness of the ocean through a virtual-reality exhibition open to all

The exhibition ‘Our Ocean is Sacred, You Can’t Mine Heaven’ – a radical “an-archive” on intangible ocean heritage and a multi–genre exhibition raising consciousness and celebrating the sacredness of the ocean – is now open for all to explore online.

Mapping marine and coastal socio-cultural uses in Algoa Bay, South Africa

Social and cultural interactions and connections to the coast and ocean include cultural, religious and spiritual practices, as well as uses based on livelihood, recreation and wellbeing. Participatory community mapping approaches can help map culturally significant areas along the coastline, and in the context of Algoa Bay, South Africa, we have supported these approaches and explored their integration into marine spatial planning in 2022 and 2023. 

"Indlela Yokuphila" wins Golden Zebu at Madagascourt Film Festival!

We are thrilled to share the joyous news that Empatheatre’s animated film, “Indlela Yokuphila,” has been honoured with the prestigious GOLDEN ZEBU at the 18th edition of the Madagascourt Film Festival. This remarkable achievement celebrates the film’s excellence in the pan-African animation competition. 

Celebrating international collaborations at THE Awards conference and ceremony

The Hub’s collaboration with South Africa’s Empatheatre was celebrated at the ‘Oscars of Higher Education’ – the Times Higher Education Awards (THE) and THE Campus Live UK&IE conference that ‘bring together higher education leaders, industry partners and policy experts’ from the UK and Ireland ‘to discuss, debate and plan how to achieve institutional success’. 

On 7 December 2023, One Ocean Hub Director Elisa Morgera, Deputy Director Philile Mbatha, and Knowledge Exchange Associate Milica Prokic (University of Strathclyde) attended the awards conference and ceremony.

Hub highlights connections between art, culture, heritage and ocean governance at a UNDP Archipelagic and Island States event

Hub researchers, Prof Stuart Jeffrey and Dr Lisa McDonald (Glasgow School of Art), were invited speakers at the conference, “Archipelagic and Island States Blue Innovation Solutions: Ignite the Blue.”, The event was co-organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Archipelagic and Island States (AIS) Forum and the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime and Investment Affairs, Republic of Indonesia, and was held in Glasgow 6-7 November 2023. 

Anchoring small-scale fishers’ rights in South Africa: 'Our ocean commons for a just future’

The Coastal Justice Network organised a National Workshop for small-scale fishers in Gqeberha, South Africa, on 25-26 October 2023,  to support small-scale fisher leaders in engaging on issues pertaining to the Ocean Economy Master Plan and Marine Spatial Planning and defending their rights in these processes. 

The organisation of the workshop was led by Jackie Sunde and Merle Sowman from University of Cape Town, Department of Environmental and Geographical Science (UCT EGS), in collaboration with Buhle Francis, Taryn Pereira and Dylan McGarry from Rhodes University Environmental Learning Research Centre (ELRC), Irna Senekal from Nelson Mandela University Centre for Integrated Post-School Education and Training – (CIPSET), and Kira Erwin from Durban University of Technology (DUT). It built on three Regional Workshops that were held earlier in 2023, focusing on these policy processes.  

Workshops on climate change and marine spatial planning held in Namibia

In September 2023, Hub researchers in Namibia held a series of workshops in partnership with the Centre for Environment, Fisheries, and Aquaculture Science (Cefas, UK) under the theme “fair and inclusive decision-making for a healthy ocean whereby people and planet flourish”. In the workshops, the researchers engaged with fishers, managers, scientists, policy makers and anyone else whose life is intertwined with the ocean in Namibia.

Spotlighting ocean defenders and the responsibilities of marine conservation organisations

On 29 November 2023, Hub researcher Taryn Pereira, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment David Boyd and other experts participated in the webinar ‘A Global Spotlight on Ocean Defenders’ to call attention to the ongoing struggles and efforts of ocean defenders globally and explore potential actions that allied organisations and other institutions might take to support and protect ocean defenders. This blog post reflects on the key points raised at the webinar, and the ongoing work that the Hub is conducting on these issues.

Clarifying state obligations and researchers’ responsibilities at the ocean-climate nexus

We have prepared a legal note to contribute to consideration by the International Court of Justice of the request for an Advisory Opinion on the Obligations of States in respect of climate change, which expands on the arguments on the relevance of marine biodiversity science and international biodiversity law shared with the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (see also here and here). Among other things, the note expands our arguments on the legality of marine geo-engineering and carbon removal technologies, thanks also to conversations with other researchers in two workshops held in early December 2023.

Other News...
  • Clarifying business responsibility to respect the human right to a healthy ocean Read Here >>
  • Strengthening Linkages Between SDG 14 & SDG 16: Contributing to the Development of a Legislative Guide to Combatting Pollution Crime, and its Annex Read Here >>
  • Where next, to advance the protection of human rights of small-scale fishers? Read Here >>
  • Calling attention to children ocean defenders Read Here >>
  • Becoming official partners of the SSF Hub! Read Here >>
  • Exploring the path towards implementation of the BBNJ Agreement Read Here >>
New episode of the Hub Podcast: Children's rights and the ocean

In the episode three of the Hub Podcast, Knowledge Exchange Associate Milica Prokic talks to early-career researchers Sophie Shields (One Ocean Hub/ Inspiring Children’s Futures, University of Strathclyde, UK) and Mia Strand (Nelson Mandela University, South Africa), about children’s right to be heard on the ocean-climate nexus, ocean literacies and why literacies, plural, is both intended and needed, the General Comment No 26 on children’s human rights and a healthy environment, as discussed their two new joint publications, and summarised in two recent policy briefs (here and here) 

Spotlight on early-career researcher: Elsemi Olwage (University of Namibia)

Q: What are the aspects of working in a collaborative environment such as the One Ocean Hub that you value the most?

A: Working towards social and environmental justice in the context of post-colonial Namibia requires a transdisciplinary and praxis-based research approach. I have valued learning from other disciplines, especially the legal scholars, and being able to work on a development orientated research programme that seeks impact and methodological approaches towards knowledge co-production.

New Network of Deep-water Researchers aims to build Africa’s capacity for deep-water research

We have launched a new partnership to respond to the disparity in deep-sea research capabilities between the Global North and South. Established in 2023 under the UN Decade of Ocean Science-endorsed Challenger 150 Programme and led by Hub early-career researcher Dr Kirsty McQuaid, the African Network of Deep-water Researchers aims to connect researchers, skills, infrastructure and resources within Africa, and with a global community of deep-water researchers, to build on the continent’s capacity for deep-water research in support of sustainable development.  

For more information, visit HERE or contact  


Human health depends on thriving oceans Publication authored by AP Jenkins, AMSN Lancaster, A Capon, K Soapi, LE Fleming, SD Jupiter (2023) in The Lancet, 402: 10395 Read publication here >>

Protecting Children’s Rights to Development and Culture by Re-Imagining “Ocean Literacies Publication authored by M Strand, S Shields, E Morgera, D McGarry, A.M.S.N. Lancaster, L Brown, B Snow (2023) in The International Journal of Children’s Rights, 31, 941–975, Read publication here >>

Chapter 2: When ancestors are included in ocean and decision-making Publication authored by D McGarry (2023) in Hydrofeminist Thinking with Oceans Political and Scholarly Possibilities. Edited By Tamara Shefer, Vivienne Bozalek, Nike Romano. Routledge Read publication here >>

Chapter 12: Grandmothers of the sea: Stories and lessons from five Xhosa ocean elders Publication authored by B Francis and D McGarry (2023) in Hydrofeminist Thinking With Oceans Political and Scholarly Possibilities Edited By Tamara Shefer, Vivienne Bozalek, Nike Romano. Routledge Read publication here >>

Barriers to Integrating Financial Inclusion for Coastal Small-Scale Fishermen into Namibian Fisheries Policies and Regulatory Frameworks Publication authored by AT Kanyimba & MN Jonas (2023) in Financial inclusion and Digital Transformation Regulatory Practices in Selected SADC Countries: South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, Springer Publishers, IUS Gentium Series. Read publication here >>

Analysis across case-based global sustainability projects: an emerging challenge for ocean conflict research in the Anthropocene Publication authored by Glaser, M., Selim, S.A., De la Cruz-Modino, R. et al. (2023) in Maritime Studies 22, 48 Read publication here >>

Fighting fisheries crimes in the fisheries industry: Practical training reflections of the efficacy of Namibia’s fisheries law enforcement Publication authored by TV Warikandwa (2023) in Cogent Social Sciences (Taylor & Francis), 9:2, Read publication here >>

Financial Inclusion and the Small-Scale Fisheries Sector in Namibia: A Contemporary Legal Perspective Publication authored by TV Warikandwa, E Shakalela, EL Libebe (2023) in H Chitimira and TV Warikandwa (eds) Financial inclusion and Digital Transformation Regulatory Practices in Selected SADC Countries: South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, Springer Publishers, IUS Gentium Series Read publication here >>

Climate Change and Financial Inclusion in Namibia Publication authored by TV Warikandwa, EL Libebe, E Shakalela, L Usebiu, and MR Awarab (2023) in H Chitimira and TV Warikandwa (eds) Financial Inclusion and Regulatory Practices in SADC, Routledge Publishers Read publication here >>


  1. What child environmental human rights defenders need to know to defend and protect a healthy ocean Read Here >>
  2.  What children’s human rights experts need to know about a healthy ocean as part of the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment Read Here >>
  3. What ocean experts need to know about children’s human right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment, including a healthy ocean Read Here >>
WWF Science for Nature Seminar

18 January 2024

Hub Director, Prof Elisa Morgera, has been invited by Nathan Bennet, WWF Global Oceans Lead Scientist to speak at the WWF-US 2024 Kathryn Fuller Science for Nature Seminar Series: Beyond Inclusive Conservation. The Series seeks to forward the discussion of cutting-edge research relating to international conservation, by inviting distinguished scientists from across the globe to share their ideas as part of a regular forum for the conservation community to learn, discuss, network, and inspire. Prof Morgera will present on the human right to a healthy environment, and the role of environmental and ocean defenders, on 18 January 2024.