Best practices for community-researcher partnerships are updated

EUH Sea Grant scholarship recipients participate in collaborative restoration work at the Lyon Arboretum as part of a Kūlana Noi’i coaching.

A groundbreaking publication that seeks to build fairer and more inclusive relationships between researchers and community members has been updated to better reflect the nuances and complexities of community-researcher partnerships. Kūlana Noi’i version 2.0, a collaboration involving the University of Hawaii The Sea Grant College curriculum includes an enhanced introduction with tips on using publishing as a starting point to spark more in-depth conversations. It also includes updates to each of the kūlana (posture and port) to reflect lessons learned from previous / ongoing partnerships.

Kūlana Noi’i was initially developed in 2017 through a partnership between university researchers and local stewards to ensure equitable and reciprocal relationships with those linked and caring for the Ahupua’a of Heʻeia. He described a set of ideas, values ​​and behaviors that served as a resource to facilitate open conversation and clearly articulated expectations.

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Since Kūlana Noi’i was first published, more than 600 researchers, community members and resource stewards were trained through more than 40 workshops on building and maintaining pilina (relationships) and A’o aku, a’o mai / Aloha aku, aloha mai (knowledge given, knowledge received / love given, love received).

It has also had far-reaching impacts beyond Hawaii, and has been shared nationally through peer-reviewed journal articles, the NOAA Traditional and local knowledge vision paper from Sea Grant, the climate adaptation knowledge exchange website, as a resource for the creation of the Arctic Science Summit Week code of conduct 2021 and more.

Rosie Alegado, director of the EUH Sea Grant College’s Center for Integrated Knowledge Systems said, “This guidance document also resonates with other academic institutions who strive to bring justice and equity to their work.”

Then the Kūlana Noi’i The working group intends to focus on developing additional programs to train STEM professors and graduate students in this process. “A key starting point for the University of Hawaii Becoming a native Hawaiian learning place is for our researchers to adopt a practice of working in partnership and actively engaging with local communities, ”said Alegado.

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EUH teachers participate in restoration work in collaboration with Ka Papa Law Kanewa.

Even if Kūlana Noi’i was initially envisioned through partnerships between EUH Sea Grant College Program, Kua’āina Ulu ‘Auamo, the Hawaiian Islands Sentinel Site Cooperative and the Heʻeia National estuarine research reserve, it does not belong to any organization, institution or community. It is rooted in the collective knowledge, insight and many years of effort provided by communities, organizations and experts across Hawaii.

This post is an example of EUH Mānoa’s goal of becoming a place of Native Hawaiian learning (PDF) and Research Excellence: Advancing the Business of Research and Creative Work (PDF), two of the four objectives identified in the 2015-25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.

For more information, see Hawaii Sea Grant website.

–By Cindy Knapman


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