Dr Sylvia C Frain manages The Everyday Peace Initiative research collective. Our research is part of a larger project working to decolonise Peace and Resistance Studies and engage with (re)search asresistance. Contact us to discuss potential future research collaborations.
The Everyday Peace Initiative research collective conducts global research relating to colonialism, racism, and everyday peace efforts. We approach research with a settler’s responsibility to not only (re)educate ourselves but also to create and disseminate public and open, accessible and shareable, informative and understandable (re)search. Research is the process of gathering, organising, and disseminating knowledge(s) created and produced by practitioners and scholars. It is defined in the University of Otago’s Pacific Research Protocol document as ‘work undertaken systematically in order to increase knowledge, and to use this knowledge in order to gain new insights into particular issues.’
We are committed to placing people at the core of our research process and we are always experimenting innovative ways to achieve this. We are committed to transformative action and believe profound positive changes that we envision may take a long time. However, we also want local communities to be able to benefit from the research process itself. For this reason, many of our research projects will have an ‘action’ component in them. They will also be designed as processes of sharing and exchanging knowledge.
We recognize that knowledge is not something that can only be learnt through academic institutions. People who have direct experiences of social processes have valuable knowledge, too. Through our research processes, we seek to find ways of creating new knowledge together, by sharing and learning from each other. Participants are considered much more than research ‘subjects’. They are agents, too.
We seek to develop long-term relationships with the people who participate in our research whereas possible. We are not external observers. We welcome the establishment of human bonds based on mutual respect, trust, care, and why not? Even love. We are happy to keep engaging with the people with meet and keep learning from them much beyond our ‘interview’ sessions are over.
The primary goal of our research is to lead to positive change – everyday peace – for the local community. We welcome people’s inputs in regards to how this should look like, and how to achieve it. We are also committed to being mindful of the discourse we produce as a result of our research, and the possible impact it may have on the ground or the water.
Research as Resistance
We are aware of the potentialities of re–colonisation when we carry out research. We choose to use the term ‘(re)search to mark a decolonised conceptualization to critically analyse history, as well as academia. The ‘(re)’ signifies a (re)examination of previous research, founded on imperial ideologies and from mostly male perspectives. To ‘(re)search’ is to re–learn, re–examine, and re–comprehend legal, political, and social systems of the West. In addition, the term ‘Indigenous knowledge(s)’ is employed to provide a broader perspective to recognize diverse and varying approaches to (re)search findings, information, and understanding(s) gained.
Dr Frain is an activist academic who produces scholarship in solidarity (or Oceanic ‘fluidarity’) with those in the US-affiliated Pacific who are resisting the US federal government and US Department of Defense (DoD). Her research examines how US federal legal systems operate in the US-affiliated Pacific islands, especially in the Marianas Archipelago, a contemporary colony, enabling legal US militarisation. Women’s legal resistance against the United States is grounded in Oceanic women’s forms of matriarchal power, which promotes human rights as control over your resources, lands, waters, and people.
In addition to academic outputs, the findings of our research are accessible as useful resources for the wider public.
In 2018, Dr Frain digitally published her doctoral thesis through a partnership with the Pacific Media Centre attached to the Auckland University of Technology in Aotearoa New Zealand, the digital platform Guampedia associated with the University of Guam, the US federally funded Northern Marianas Humanities Council, and the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Otago. This research contribution is part of the 500 years of resistance, and publishing it online for free ensures the community can access it, and for the future.
For the Pacific Media Centre, I created a news story featured on the news site, as well as an interview with Guam’s Blue Ocean law human rights lawyer, Julian Aguon discussing self-determination for Guam and the illegal occupation of West Papua, as well as the lacking legal frameworks regarding Deep Sea Mining (DSM) across Oceania. Digital dissemination of this form of information is important to others working on similar issues.
Dr Frain continues to curates the Facebook page, Oceania Resistance with activists, educators, and students in mind, and feature news stories, academic opportunities, as well as updates from resistance movements from across Oceania.