2023 Summer/Winter School – Transitioning from the past, through the present to potential futures of knowledge hierarchies in ocean biodiversity governance research

Date and Time: THURSDAY 14 September 2023, 6pm-7.30 CEST



Knowledge hierarchies refer to the systematic ordering, ranking, and valuation of knowledge and its production according to their perceived authority, legitimacy, or status. Knowledge hierarchies have become embedded and continue to be reinforced across marine biodiversity governance and associated research. Knowledge and associated processes of production are steeped within histories of colonisation and the parallel development(s) of environmental marine (social) sciences and Western-dominated conservationism. As researchers address modern ocean biodiversity and conservation challenges, researchers must not only be aware of the history of knowledge extraction, imposition, and assumption within their fields, they must also actively work to continuously acknowledge and address these in their work. Yet, even within research that recognises the need to implement paradigm shifts and transformations, knowledge hierarchies have proven to be multi-layered and perpetuating, even within the context of conscious attempts to address hierarchies through such methods as the integration or ‘bringing together’ of diverse knowledge systems. Researchers from a diversity of disciplines are interrogating the challenges and commitments required to address imbalances created by knowledge hierarchies, even within the construct that favours the status quo

The Panel will reflect on research undertaken as part of the One Ocean Hub and will interrogate three questions, utilising a combination of case studies and experience in their diverse disciplines: 

  • Why are knowledge hierarchies an issue? 
  • How have knowledge hierarchies arisen with respect to marine biodiversity governance and how are they perpetuated? 
  • How does our research respond (or engage with) to their presence/the issue of knowledge hierarchies? 


Dr David Wilson, One Ocean Hub and University of Strathclyde, UK (chair).

Dr Alana Lancaster, One Ocean Hub and University of the West Indies, Barbados.

Dr Holy Niner, One Ocean Hub and University of Plymouth, UK.

Marly Muudeni Samuel, One Ocean Hub and Glasgow School of Art, UK. 


Journal Articles

Mbatha P. (2022). “Unravelling the perpetuated marginalization of customary livelihoods on the coast by plural and multi-level conservation governance systems.” Marine Policy Vol.143. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2022.105143

Rivers N, Strand M, Fernandes M, Metuge D, Lemahieu A, Nonyane CL, Benkenstein A and Snow B. (2023). Pathways to integrate Indigenous and local knowledge in ocean governance processes: Lessons from the Algoa Bay Project, South Africa.  Frontiers in Marine Science https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2022.1084674

Strand M, Rivers N, Baasch R, Snow B. (2022).  Developing arts-based participatory research for more inclusive knowledge co-production in Algoa Bay. Current Research in Environmental Sustainability, Vol. 4: 100178, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.crsust.2022.100178.

Strand M, Ortega-Cisneros K, Niner HJ, Wahome M, Bell J, Currie JC, Hamukuaya H, La Bianca G, Lancaster AMSN, Maseka N, McDonald L, McQuaid K, Samuel MM, Winkler A. “Transdisciplinarity in transformative ocean governance research—reflections of early career researchers.” (2022). ICES Journal of Marine Science https://doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsac165

Strand M, Rivers N, Snow B. (2022)  “Reimagining Ocean Stewardship: Arts-Based Methods to ‘Hear’ and ‘See’ Indigenous and Local Knowledge in Ocean Management.” Frontiers in Marine Science. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2022.886632

Wilson D. “European colonisation, law, and Indigenous marine dispossession: historical perspectives on the construction and entrenchment of unequal marine governance.” Maritime Studies. (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40152-021-00233-2


McDonald L, Artfully Sustaining the Sea, https://oneoceanhub.org/artfully-sustaining-the-sea/

Surfacing emotional connections with the sea: DEEP Fund Projects update, https://oneoceanhub.org/surfacing-emotional-connections-with-the-sea-deep-fund-projects-update/

McDonald L, Connecting with Indigenous Knowledge through Art-Based Research: Netai en Namou Toc at COP27, https://oneoceanhub.org/connecting-with-indigenous-knowledge-through-art-based-research-netai-en-namou-toc-at-cop27/

McDonald L, Evolving tapestry embodies ancestral wisdom of the ocean and current governance developments in South Africa, https://oneoceanhub.org/evolving-tapestry-embodies-ancestral-wisdom-of-the-ocean-and-current-governance-developments-in-south-africa/

Nakamura J, Erinosho B, and Strand M, ‘Fishing’ for recognition of customary law: a preliminary reflection in the fisheries context, https://www.fao.org/legal-services/resources/detail/en/c/1638852/

Wahome M, Hills J and Morgera E, Towards transdisciplinarity – which route to take, https://oneoceanhub.org/towards-transdisciplinarity-which-route-to-take/

Wahome M, Hills, Morgera E, Seneque M, Towards transdisciplinarity – which route to take? Part II, https://oneoceanhub.org/towards-transdisciplinarity-which-route-to-take-part-ii/

Wilson D, Customary Laws of the Coast and Sea Research Group – The Story So Far, https://oneoceanhub.org/customary-laws-of-the-coast-and-sea-research-group-the-story-so-far-part-one/

Wilson D, A Brief History of Colonisation, Customary Law, and Indigenous Marine, Dispossession, https://oneoceanhub.org/a-brief-history-of-colonisation-customary-law-and-indigenous-marine-dispossession/