On behalf of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), People’s Palace Projects hosted a three day workshop on Indigenous Research Methods in Rio de Janeiro from 20-22 March 2019, and a webinar on Indigenous engagement in research partnerships and knowledge mobilisation on 11 May 2020

I. International Seminar on Indigenous Engagement, Research Partnerships and Knowledge Mobilisation (Rio de Janeiro, March 2019)

In 2018, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) invited current and previous GCRF award holders to bid for funding to produce reflective pieces in conjunction with the indigenous researchers and communities with which they were working. 12 collaborative projects were selected, and the PIs and Indigenous partners from 10 different countries (Brazil, Colombia, India, Mongolia, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea and Dominica) were brought together at the Indigenous Engagement, Research Partnerships and Knowledge Mobilisation in Rio de Janeiro in March 2019. The seminar looked to explore research partnerships between indigenous and non-indigenous partners, with particular focus on culturally sensitive knowledge exchange, equitable co-creation and mobilisation for meaningful impact. The 3-day event was hosted by People’s Palace Projects, Queen Mary University of London (PPP, QMUL) and the Indigenous Association of the Kuikuro People in Xingu (AIKAX), on behalf of AHRC and ESRC. There were a wide-range of partnerships, approaches and disciplines represented, as well as interdisciplinary discussions, workshops and presentations; the seminar offered a rare opportunity for an open-discussion around the opportunities and challenges facing indigenous and non-indigenous researchers working in this field and the institutions that support them.

Click here to access the seminar’s Introductory think piece and the 12 Indigenous Engagement programme projects

The projects and partnerships differed across geographies and disciplines, but there was a consensus that the various research projects sought to legitimise indigenous knowledge and challenge issues of social injustice. Despite these intentions, all participants had faced a variety of challenges in the co-design and co-production of research projects between non-indigenous and indigenous communities. The group asked themselves what are the rules of the game? How is partnership defined, given the global structural and systematic inequalities around finance, access and the circulation of knowledge? It was agreed vehemently that there is a need to find effective mechanisms of engaging research partners from the global north in a discussion about the meaning of collaboration and partnership in this context.

Click here to download the insights from the Seminar

II. Webinar on Indigenous Research Methodologies (online, May 2021)

Following the success of Rio’s event, the webinar was an opportunity to address the increasing number of UK-based scholars working transnationally and internationally among Indigenous peoples, to inform the international development research community, across disciplines, on challenges when engaging with indigenous communities whilst ensuring co-production of knowledge and effective knowledge mobilisation, and to help identify areas where good practice is established or additional work is required.

The 2-hour online event brought together 57 participants, and was an opportunity to learn how indigenous partners are being affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, and to draw the agenda for next events in 2021.

You can watch the full webinar on the video below.


Video contributions from our partners

Video produced by the Center for Social and Creative Media (CSCM), at the University of Goroka in Papua New Guinea

Claudia and Yuliana Maigora, Emberá-Chamí, Colombia.

Felipe Cruz, Tuxa people, Brazil.

Viral Thinking, Brazil (part of the documentary film Messages from the Earth)

III. Next Steps (2021)

UKRI intends to reconvene the UK researchers in Spring 2020 online and to develop a digital publication that indicates important issues to consider and guidelines for best practice for undertaking international development research with indigenous people. This will be a resource for UK and International researchers when planning future research and responding to opportunities for collaboration, as well as guiding UKRI’s future strategic research initiatives.