PECS #20: Distilling guiding principles for best practice, Indigenous-led knowledge with Pia Harkness

As significant landowners, managers and custodians, Indigenous Australians are applying their knowledges in land and sea management, generating many social, economic and environmental benefits. In contemporary land and sea management contexts, there are many challenges for both Indigenous peoples and their partners when sharing and working with Indigenous knowledge. Knowledge has previously been misappropriated and misused; commercially exploited without benefits flowing to communities, used without consent and in ways that are considered harmful by Traditional Custodians. Therefore, there is an urgent need for examples of good, Indigenous-led practices for strengthening and sharing knowledge. The Indigenous-led Our Knowledge Our Way in caring for Country guidelines aims to help address this need, by showcasing case studies of best practices in knowledge sharing from across Australia. The guidelines are based on the guiding principle that Indigenous people must decide what is best practice when working with their knowledge. This presentation will focus on the Indigenous-led approach to development of these guidelines, including the role of non-Indigenous scientists. It will also discuss how guiding principles were distilled from the case studies, to support improved knowledge sharing practices across a wide range of contexts.

Dr Pia Harkness is a social scientist with a focus on collaborative natural resource management and sustainable livelihoods. Her PhD research investigated the livelihood implications of conservation and development interventions, and prospects for small-scale fisheries co-management in a remote Indonesian setting. In her current role as Research Projects Officer at CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, her work focusses on bringing together multiple knowledge and value systems to support Indigenous-led land and sea management and climate change adaptations.