Connective Flow

by Arelis Haskamp and Melinda Morgan

Mixed media collage, 2022 

The Intermountain West faces many challenges, including catastrophic wildfires, dwindling water supplies, and rapid urban population growth. In response, the Transformation Network (TN) was formed—connecting scholars and community partners across the Intermountain West. Our goal is to help build resilient communities and ecosystems. The TN represents a partnership between eight Western U.S. universities, including the University of New Mexico, with over 50 partner organizations representing Tribal partners, public utilities, local governments, nongovernmental organizations, and others. 

This mixed-media piece captures the beauty, complexity, and diversity of our Transformation Network. Fluid and ever evolving, the connectivity and evolution of the engagements within the Transformation Network are made visible. Like a river, the research taking place is dynamic and ever changing. It reflects the conditions present at any given moment and the social and ecological contexts involved. The work is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF Grant# 2115169) and takes a convergent research approach. We involve experts from different disciplines to pursue common research challenges, and their knowledge, theories, methods and data become increasingly intermingled and integrated. For us, convergent research also means commitment to community engagement and working with these partners in both designing and conducting research.

Recognition of different kinds of knowledge, particularly local knowledges and Indigenous knowledges, are a key element of our research design. We place an emphasis on the co-design of research questions and methodologies and honoring Indigenous and local knowledges and ontologies. The Shared.Futures project is part of this effort. It brings together researchers and artists and is a part of the Transformation Network’s efforts to build community and foster communication. You can find out more information about the Transformation Network and its activities at