Investigating Best Practice

Doctoral Fieldwork Experiences With and Without Indigenous Communities in Settler-colonial Societies


  • Jessica K Weir Western Sydney University
  • Cleo Woelfle-Erskine University of Washington
  • Sharon Fuller Sonoma State
  • Sibyl Diver Stanford University
  • Margot Higgins University of Wisconsin La Crosse



First peoples, decolonizing research, natural resources, environmental governance, more-than-human


Through the sharing of personal commentaries about our doctoral fieldwork experiences, this paper contributes to decolonial literatures about academic knowledge generation in settler-colonial societies. The commentaries each illustrate shifting understandings of our roles in perpetuating the colonial knowledge-violence and material power of the academy, and our personal ethics to do something useful in response. Such experiences are often unreported or under reported for diverse reasons. Seeking to address injustice, and to move away from extractive research relationships, we highlight four matters: consent and risk; the resource gap in research collaborations; the consequences of not collaborating with Indigenous people; and, the importance of examining knowledge frames. As constrained and compromised as it is, we argue the doctoral experience is an important opportunity for decolonising the academy. Whilst we appreciate that this paper does not address the material circumstances that perpetuate colonial privilege, we go beyond descriptive reflection to offer prescriptions for change.


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How to Cite

Weir, J. K., Woelfle-Erskine, C., Fuller, S., Diver, S., & Higgins, M. (2019). Investigating Best Practice: Doctoral Fieldwork Experiences With and Without Indigenous Communities in Settler-colonial Societies. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 18(6), 1300–1320.