The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house.
Despite the privileges of my positionality. I fully agree with Audre Lord's famous quote: "The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house." I am convinced: To overcome and hopefully also heal intergenerational trauma as much as possible, to stop the destruction of the Earth, and strive towards a better future for all of us on a healthy planet, we cannot continue to use old, dysfunctional, and harmful tools. We have to find or create other tools, better, not harmful ones.
Although a part of the research project Sounding Crisis is interested in learning more about the sound practices of Indigenous peoples and their understanding of energies, I don't in any way claim to be an expert on Indigenous peoples or cultures. I see my expertise only in matters of sound and environmental aesthetics due to my professional and educational training. The only thing I hope for is to be considered a trustworthy ally by Indigenous peoples. This is what I am committed to and strive for in my work and everyday life. An essential reference point for me and my work is Linda Tuhiwai Smith's landmark book Decolonizing Methodologies. Research and Indigenous Peoples (1999). There she writes at the beginning of the introduction:
From the vantage point of the colonized, a position from which I write, and choose to privilege, the term 'research' is inextricably linked to European imperialism and colonialism. The word itself, 'research', is probably one of the dirtiest words in the Indigenous world's vocabulary. When mentioned in many Indigenous contexts, it stirs up silence, it conjures up bad memory, it rises a smile that is knowing and distrustful. It is so powerful that Indigenous people even write poetry about research.
I think this quote sums up as brilliantly as sadly the power inequality that rests in publicly funded research projects, as the Western university and knowledge production through scientific research have been entangled very closely with colonialism from the beginning. Especially her claim that "'research' is probably one of the dirtiest words in the Indigenous world's vocabulary'" makes me think a lot. In my daily practice, as a journalist, a teacher, and a researcher, but of course also as a private person, I am very concerned about finding a way how to engage meaningfully with Indigenous peoples and to conduct research that aims at not being dirty, but instead at breaking with harmful traditions of the colonial past of Western sciences and societies and contributing to the well-being of all living beings on this planet.
Therefore, I, of course, follow the Danish Code of Conduct for Research Integrity. You can read a summary in English here:
In addition, I fully and unreservedly endorse the entire text of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) (2007) and the rights and values enshrined therein. My research plans, methodologies, and results have been designed following them, and the articles of the UNDRIP serve as my guideline for the constant check and revision of my project. Regarding the focus of my research project on sound practices of Indigenous and Non-Indigenous activists and artists addressing the human-nature relationship in times of climate change, I am particularly concerned with ensuring that Articles 11, 12, and 13 are entirely and unreservedly respected. I fully understand and accept that it is solely the decision of Indigenous peoples how they wish to protect, revitalize, use, develop and transmit to future generations their cultural, spiritual, and religious traditions, customs, ceremonies, their histories, languages, oral traditions, philosophies, writing systems and literatures, and what knowledge they wish to share in the context of this research project. In connection with that, Article 31.1 on the intellectual property rights of Indigenous peoples is essential regarding the Sounding Crisis research project. Therein it is stated:
Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, as well as the manifestations of their sciences, technologies and cultures, including human and genetic resources, seeds, medicines, knowledge of the properties of fauna and flora, oral traditions, literatures, designs, sports and traditional games and visual and performing arts. They also have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their intellectual property over such cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions.
To read the full text of the UNDRIP, you can access it here:
According to Art. 43 of the UNDRIP, the rights recognized therein constitute only the minimum standards for the survival, dignity, and well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world; in addition, I fully and unreservedly accept and follow the protocols of the Indigenous communities I engage with. In the context of the research project Sounding Crisis - Sounds and Energies within Climate Change, these peoples are the Inuit of Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland) and the Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders, traditional owners of the land of today's nation-state Australia.
In June 2022, the Inuit Circular Council (ICC) released a guide with eight Circumpolar Inuit Protocols for Equitable and Ethical Engagement (EEE). These protocols are:
Nothing about us without us - always engage with Inuit
Recognize Indigenous Knowledge in its own right
Practice good governance
Communication with intent
Exercising Accountability - Building Trust
Building meaningful partnerships
Information, data sharing, ownership and permissions
Equitability fund Inuit representation and knowledge
You can access the guide to the eight Circumpolar Inuit Protocols for Equitable and Ethical Engagement (EEE) here:
In October 2020, the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) published its revised Code of Ethics for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research. The four main principles of this code are:
Impact and value
Sustainability and accountability
You can access the AIATSIS Code of Ethics for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research here:
These protocols are crucial guidelines for me and this research project: At each step of my research, I check it according to the rights of the UNDRIP and the protocols of the Indigenous communities I engage with, and try to think each step through thoroughly from their perspectives, and discuss and negotiate them whenever required with each Indigenous person and community I engage with. This means that, at times, I also have to revise some decisions I have made earlier and redesign and rewrite some aspects of this project. In addition, I have my research plans checked by ethics committees, and I develop my methodologies in dialogue with other people's advice and examples. My critical self-reflection is mainly inspired through my reading of Linda Tuhiwai Smith's book Decolonizing Methodologies. I aim to be fully transparent about my research, and, of course, I only record interviews with free, prior, and informed consent. This way, I attempt to decolonize this research project as much as possible.
In general, for me, my approach to and understanding of ethical research practice is summed up best by the two acronyms, FAIR and CARE.
FAIR stands for
F - Findable
A - Accessible
I - Interoperable
R - Reusable
A more detailed overview of the FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship can be accessed here:
The development of the FAIR principle is the result of the aim of the scientific community in times of digitization and global interconnectedness via the internet to make not only publications but also research data publicly available via Open Access (free of charge, online access for any user). These FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship were published in March 2016. Initially, their development was initiated by the Dutch molecular biologist Barend Mons. They were launched at the workshop ‘Jointly Designing a Data FAIRport’ at the Lorentz Center of the Leiden University in the Netherlands in 2014.
However, these movements toward open data and open science have been seen by Indigenous Peoples' interest groups as not fully engaging with Indigenous Peoples' rights and interests. They criticized the FAIR framework as being too "data-centric" in contrast to Indigenous-focused frameworks, which are described as "people-and-purpose-focused." As a supplement to the FAIR principle, these Indigenous interest groups developed the CARE principles for Indigenous Data Governance. The Ada Lovelace Institute calls CARE "a fitting acronym reflecting the essence of Indigenous values."
CARE stands for
C - Collective Benefit
A - Authority of Control
R - Responsibility
E - Ethics
The CARE Principles were drafted at the International Data Week and Research Data Alliance Plenary co-hosted event “Indigenous Data Sovereignty Principles for the Governance of Indigenous Data Workshop,” on 8 November 2018, in Gaborone, Botswana. Today, the CARE Principles are endorsed and hosted by the Global Indigenous Data Alliance (GIDA), which was founded in July 2019 at the Workshop “International Law, The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and Indigenous Data Sovereignty” at the International Institute for the Sociology of Law, Oñati, Spain. The alliance regards Indigenous Data Sovereignty as a "prerequisite for effective delivery of the social, political and economic promises of UNDRIP." A detailed overview of the CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance can be accessed here:
As a result of my involvement with the FAIR and the CARE principle, I will deposit my research in an online repository that will grant public and open access via the internet. In addition, I would like to offer all the data I collect during my stays in Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland) to the Nunatta Katersugaasivia Allagaateqarfialu / Greenland National Museum & Archives to store them in physical form there. This way, it will be guaranteed that the people in Kalaallit Nunaat will have access to it, even after the end of this research project and the expiration of public access to the collected data. I intend to find an equally suited place which I could offer to archive the research data that I will collect and generate during my stay in Australia and through my possible engagement with Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islanders communities.
If you have questions or responses, please write to me under my e-mail address at the University of Copenhagen: email@example.com
I am grateful for all kinds of suggestions on how to do better and keep on learning.
Update, August 22, 2022:
The Ethics Committee of the University of Copenhagen has approved my research project. Please find its letter of approval here:
This is the official and approved consent form of the Sounding Crisis research project, which ensures all participants anonymity and the right to withdraw their interview if they wish: