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Transformation of the Environment

Transformation of the Environment


WG5 will progress the conceptualization of slow environmental remembrance by drawing on the expertise and experience of stakeholder practitioners (e.g. environmental action groups, artists, curators, and museums). The resulting transdisciplinary dialogues between theory and practice will conceive of ways that environmental crisis can be remembered in radically expanded timeframes, laying the memorial foundations for future environmental policy work, and the theoretical foundations for analysing the forms, ethics, and politics of memory work that addresses the climate and ecological emergency.

Slower, incremental, and invisible environmental changes have been memorialised and remembered (in stone, bronze, wood, text, image, media and social networks) by communities for centuries and intangible memories of flood, drought, heatwave and scarcity have long provided stories, anecdotes and narratives for sustainable living.

WG5 will explore remembering as a longer, slower, sustained and inheritable process of remembering and learning to live with environmental change. However, there is also a sense of environmental crisis that appears utterly novel and without memory of “slow change.” Societies are newly conscious of suffering and trauma caused by environmental change and disaster – from the production of climate refugees, to the loss of lives and homes through wildfires, floods, and droughts.

We contend that this new environmental remembrance is inextricably interwoven with large-scale economic and social transformation processes and that we must seek to understand its effects in terms of memory politics. Engaging with our environmental crisis via the optics of memory politics will help inform and contribute to responses to this most urgent and topical of challenges.

A major challenge for WG5 will be developing an interdisciplinary dialogue and conceptual framework that can bring into focus the complex ways in which slow changes to the environment provide the memorial foundation for social relations.

WG5 will seek to conceptualise “environmental remembrance” by drawing on the expertise and experiences of local community groups and environmental action organizations, as well as dedicated museums, in order to develop a clear agenda and communication strategy for capturing memories of slow geological change. The impact goal here revolves around two interconnected elements.

First, by plotting the development of the climate emergency within a longer time frame and memory, we will be better placed to expose the magnitude of the crisis faced and encourage the requisite response.

Second, given the rate at which the world is changing as a result of environmental developments, we aim to provide a genuine engagement with, and charting of, what is being lost in order to future-proof policies and approaches to environmental change.

Meet the other Working Groups

WG1: Transformation of Work examines the decline of large-scale industry and the changing nature of the modern workplace, which has had significant effects on local communities and on individuals’ life perspectives. It seeks to develop slow memory concepts in relation to socio-economic analysis through exploring how remembrance practices can make visible economic transitions that are experienced unevenly and gradually. It brings methodological approaches to economic modelling and trends into dialogue with oral history techniques to develop new modes of narrating and visualising socio-economic change.
The current transformation of social welfare and growing inequalities in a slowly deteriorating care system lead us to seek a deeper understanding of how the future aspirations of community members are shaped and how these can be mediated through the practice of remembering. Bringing them together is the aim of WG2.
Though extremism may be on the rise on both ends of the political spectrum, the mobilisation of right-wing forces in a diverse set of countries poses a particular threat to democratic systems of governance and to inclusive political cultures. WG3 will analyse these threats through the lens of memory studies in three ways. First, right-wing and anti-democratic actors skilfully employ the politics of memory to persuade supporters and to drive societal actors into particular policy directions.
Societies gradually emerging from violent conflict face multiple challenges when it comes to dealing with the transgressions of the past and rebuilding the future. The overwhelmingly dominant approach in contemporary conflict resolution is to confront memories and narratives of conflict with a view to find consensus and promote reconciliation. This working group aims to develop ways of creating space for bringing together diverging circumstances, perspectives, experiences and practices into continued contestation and open-ended dialogues. We conceptualize the “slow transformation of conflict” as a form of peacebuilding, which is always a process, never an event.
How do global and local societies confront their past? How to they contend with current environmental, economic and social change? These are some of the main questions WG6 aims to tackle through collaborative exchanges and cooperation. We would like to create a shared understanding of slow memory as an approach and methodology more specifically utilized as a tool in comprehending to global and local grand-scale transformations and responding to their urgency and exigency .
WG7 is chaired by the Science Communication Manager and will ensure that the Action has a clear online profile and communication strategy. It will also have overall responsibility for updating and implementing the dissemination plan.
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