The network’s aims are:

  1. to explore, from a contemporary indigenous perspective, the antagonism between the Sustainable Development Agenda and alternative Latin American indigenous-based understandings of human civilisation typically referred to as ‘sumak kawsay’ in Kichwa, ‘buen vivir’ or ‘vivir bien’ in Spanish and ‘bem viver’ in Portuguese.
  2. to envision ways of moving beyond this impasse that allow indigenous communities to make informed decisions about development issues through enhanced levels of self-knowledge and resilience, and to help to build capacity in the communities for articulating ‘the future they want’ more effectively in local, national, regional and global fora.
  3. to promote wider public discussion of, and creative responses to, alternatives to development both in Latin America and in the UK.

These aims will be pursued via the following objectives:

  1. We will facilitate debate in indigenous communities, and between indigenous communities and academic partners, about the sustainable development/sumak kawsay antagonism, through the creation of spaces for dialogue, both real and virtual, and for communal project work in selected communities in Brazil and Colombia.
  2. We will enhance social science-based research on sumak kawsay by ensuring the involvement of grassroots thinkers in the co-creation of research outputs, and by applying the knowledge base and methodologies of Arts and Humanities-based research to the issues under scrutiny.
  3. We will curate and disseminate the results of these debates so that they speak to both indigenous and academic communities, as well as interested parties in mainstream society in both Latin America and the UK.