Building collaborations

One of the best things about academia is being able to forge connections and build relationships with people whose work you respect and admire, and finding out that in person they’re even more wonderful. Most of my PhD work was based on the global Indigenous Peoples’ Lands map produced by Stephen Garnett, Julia Fa, Alvaro Fernandez-Llamazares, and other colleagues, and earlier this week, we had the pleasure of hosting Stephen and Julia to further our collaboration.

Group photo (from L-R) Alvaro Fernandez-Llamazares, Stephen Garnett, Jocelyne Sze, Julia Fa, and Dan Brockington. Photo credit: Isabel Lopera

It’s been 5 years since the map was published, and many others, like me, have used the map to run analyses on the state of tree cover loss, biodiversity, or the impacts of industrial and extractive developments on Indigenous peoples’ lands. We thus thought it would be a good opportunity to re-visit the map, examine its impacts, and think through how a better map (and how that might be defined) could be produced.

It was fascinating for me to learn about the origin and stories of the map creation and use. The two days of productive discussion was complemented with great food ranging from Catalan specialties and campus pizza to a delicious home-cooked meal with a view over Barcelona city. A wonderful start to this collaboration and we look forward to many more fruitful meetings!