Engaging communities in dialogue to understand ocean connectivity and improve ocean management

Joint Seminar by Dr. Elodie Fache (IRD Montpellier, France) and Prof. Dr. Patrick Christie (School of Marine and Environmental Affairs & Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington, US)

In the first part of this week’s seminar, Elodie Fache will be exploring Pacific fisheries through children's drawings. In the South Pacific region, children are users of marine territories and resources, and are therefore one of the relevant stakeholder groups whose understandings of ocean connectivity and perspectives on fisheries and their (current and future) management should be given serious consideration. Elodie bases this part of her work on 290 children’s drawings from Fiji and New Caledonia, made in 2019 in spontaneous response to the simple instruction: “Draw the sea and what you and others do in the sea”, as well as the drawers’ own description of their artwork. Fishing wasa recurrent theme in the children’s drawings, and fishing activities were represented as embedded in webs of connections with and within the sea, the latter being conceived (1) beyond a land-sea compartmentation, (2) as a ‘place-full’ space connecting human and more-than-human realms, and (3) as a locus of both exploitation and conservation of marine life.

After this, Patrick Christie will take us along with his research and expertise on learning networks and digital storytelling. Learning networks (LN), that are grounded in the concepts of participatory governance, hold the potential of centering voices that are frequently unheard in scientific and environmental governance processes. This presentation—based on social network analysis of the Coral Triangle Initiative, an emergent Brazilian LN, and qualitative interviews of participants in 16 marine-learning networks—highlights their potential, goals, and outcomes. These LNs facilitate sharing of lessons and experiences between members. Participatory digital storytelling is one means to share lessons within networks and with the public. An example of such digital storytelling involving Indigenous and non-indigenous students within Washington state will be highlighted.

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