Doubling Down on Wicked Problems: Ocean ArtScience Collaborations for a Sustainable Future

Jung, Julia; Gupa, Dennnis; Hash, Colton; Thoms, Jol; Owens, Dwight; Threlfall, John and Juniper, Kim. 2022. Doubling Down on Wicked Problems: Ocean ArtScience Collaborations for a Sustainable Future. Frontiers in Marine Science, 9, 873990. ISSN 2296-7745 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development recognizes the current ocean sustainability crisis and calls for a transformation of ocean science. Many of the key challenges recognized by the UN Decade are examples of wicked problems: intractable and messy situations with high stakeholder divergence. Addressing wicked ocean sustainability problems requires adaptable, iterative, and participatory approaches that can embrace multiple ways of knowing. It also requires a re-imagining of our relationship with the Ocean from extraction and resulting environmental degradation, towards the building of a sense of connection and stewardship. We propose ArtScience as a means to this end by highlighting how transdisciplinary collaborations can help create sustainable ocean futures. We reflect on a recent ArtScience event emerging from Ocean Networks Canada’s Artist-in-Residence programme. By situating ArtScience in a broader context of inter- and transdisciplinary collaborations, we demonstrate how ArtScience collaborations can help transform ocean science by envisioning previously unimagined possibilities, and establishing and strengthening relationships with diverse stakeholders through long-term mission-driven or place-based inquiry. We conclude with a call to action to acknowledge the potential these collaborations hold for addressing the challenges of the UN Ocean Decade.

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Ocean Networks Canada has been generously supported through the funding of the Government of Canada, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, Natural Resources Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Transport Canada, CANARIE, the Government of British Columbia, the University of Victoria. Additional funding for Ocean Networks Canada’s Artist in Residence program was provided by the University of Victoria Faculty of Fine Arts, Faculty of Science and Department of Research Services.

Data Access Statement:

The raw data supporting the conclusions of this article will be made available by the authors, without undue reservation.


transdisciplinary research, ArtScience, collaboration, wicked problems, UN Ocean Decade, SciComm

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29 March 2022Accepted
11 May 2022Published

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Date Deposited:

13 Jul 2023 13:14

Last Modified:

13 Jul 2023 13:14

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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