As academic collaborations become increasingly virtual and geographically widespread, researchers are faced with novel challenges, as well as opportunities, as they attempt to create equitable, effective research partnerships. In this essay, the authors highlight the importance of shared reflexive conversations in building a strong foundation for collaboration and the coproduction of knowledge, particularly in the midst of ongoing crises. In so doing, they reflect on their experience of planning research on social innovation in small-scale fishing communities in Africa and Asia, as a team spread across six countries.
Moenieba Isaacs is a full professor with the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) at the University of Western Cape (UWC). She is the academic manager for postgraduate teaching, co-coordinator of accredited short-course training on the Political Economy of Land Governance in Africa. Her research focus currently is on developing the concept of blue justice linking it to spatial injustices, the gendered dynamics of women in living landscapes in and around enclosures in the blue economy. She has worked extensively with communities in South Africa and in an engaged and reflective research where she develops her thinking tools. She has and is participating in various research projects. She was the regional coordinator and founding member a TooBigToIgnore—a global network of small-scale fisheries research. She cochaired the Human Dimension Working Group on Integrated Marine Bio-geo-chemistry Ecosystem Research (IMBER). She formed part of the UN Committee on Food Security’s High-Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE). She is part of the program committee of the Marine and Coastal Science for Management (MASMA) program—a regional competitive research granting mechanism providing funding and technical support for coastal and marine research, training, and communications in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region.