It was designed to be a  transregional collaboratory for the Northern Indian Ocean and came together just as the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in 2020. The objective was to experiment with “immobile” research while shaping more inclusive, nuanced and collaborative narratives on maritime knowledge in the vastly culturally connected, but digitally disconnected expanse of the IO. This would contribute to reformed epistemic social contracts, build “extended peer communities” and promote diverse social science “centres without walls”.

The Southern Collective (SC) comprises practitioners and researchers from diverse disciplines, academic hierarchies, and practitioner experience.

The activities we undertook aimed to do the following

Building Southern Partnerships: we crafted remote collaborations and partnerships across the IO region, holding online meetings with community leaders, civil society groups, and fellow researchers, to join the Collective, provide insights and participate in our sub-projects.

Migration component focused on creating Migration Diaries is an online repository to host stories co-authored by researchers and coastal migrant communities. Our project associates Vani and Madhurima conducted workshops on story-telling techniques and fieldwork ethics with NGO partners to generate such narratives in future.

Transboundary marine resources component is an online Sea Lexicon conceived by SC partner Lakshmi Pradeep, to encourage researchers and coastal communities across the IOR

The Collective was funded by a planning grant from the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) awarded in the year 2020.

The Collective is supported by a core team that handles its logistical functions. Dakshin Foundation is currently responsible for secretarial responsibilities of SC. A wider network of partners and supporting organisations located in Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand collaborate on our projects based on mutual interest.