Join us
Orange welcome sign that reads Royal Geographical Society with IBG.

Become a member and discover where geography can take you.

Join us

Research by geographers at Royal Holloway, University of London has demonstrated how participatory video can be a process of engagement that builds on Indigenous ways of knowing, while facilitating capacity building and agency.



Indigenous knowledge contributes to the sustainable management of their lands, thereby conserving biodiversity and reducing carbon emissions. Yet, Indigenous knowledge is still marginalised from decision-making and policy arenas. 



Through a research collaboration with civil society organisations, Indigenous communities and other academics this research investigated how participatory video can be a process of engagement that builds on Indigenous ways of knowing, and how intercultural spaces can bring Indigenous knowledge into national level decision-making on environmental management and governance.

Participatory videos of Indigenous knowledge and associated practices created opportunities for screening films and activated discussions between relevant government institutions, academics and Indigenous communities.



In Guyana, approximately 100 Indigenous researchers have been trained in participatory video since 2014. These local researchers have documented and shared their communities’ views on how their knowledge, and associated livelihood practices, maintain culture and biodiversity.

The research team introduced video-mediated dialogue in Guyana to facilitate constructive conversations and trust between Indigenous communities and protected areas managers. This has led to the development of a new policy, the Traditional Knowledge National Action Plan (TKNAP) which raises awareness nationally of the critical role of Indigenous peoples and their knowledge, strengthens local laws, governance and mechanisms for maintaining and using Indigenous knowledge.

In Venezuela, participatory videos brought ancestral fire knowledge on savanna burning to the forefront of fire management discussions, both at a local and national level. One outcome is that the National Institute of Parks in Venezuela (INPARQUES) has included Indigenous fire management in its management plans for national parks, and as part of capacity building for forest firefighters.


More information 

Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London

Researcher: Professor Jay Mistry 

Share this resource

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY NC 4.0), which permits use, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, provided the original work is cited and it is for non-commercial purposes. Please contact us for other uses.

How to cite

Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) (2023) Amplifying Indigenous knowledge within environmental management and governance in South America. Available at  Last accessed on: <date>