Participatory mapping to negotiate indigenous knowledge used to assess environmental risk

Catherine Robinson, Kirsten Maclean, Rosemary Hill, Ellie Bock, Philip Rist

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The concept of “usable knowledge” is central to sustainability science, but most of the research that explores this concept focuses on the science–policy interface. This paper expands this scholarship by describing a participatory research methodology that aimed to facilitate knowledge sharing between indigenous peoples, and support indigenous community efforts to consider different knowledge claims and negotiate indigenous knowledge that could be used for environmental risk assessments and management responses. We draw on two case studies to show how a participatory mapping approach enabled Aboriginal people connected to the Girringun Indigenous Corporation (Girringun) in northern Australia to negotiate the knowledge needed to assess the environmental risks that affect their territories. Individuals painted and drew maps of their values, knowledge, and management aspirations for water and native vegetation. These maps were shared with the wider group to enable the consideration of different perspectives and the negotiation of agreed risks affecting local watersheds and native vegetation. These maps were also used to facilitate the design of knowledge partnerships among the Girringun tribal groups, staff, and other collaborators that are critical to re-framing and co-managing the environmental risks affecting this region of northern Australia.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)115-126
    Number of pages12
    JournalSustainability Science
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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