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Defining Applied Environmental Humanities

  • April 26, 2021
  • 10:00 AM (EDT)

Organised by Kadri Tüür, Ulrike Plath - KAJAK, Estonian Centre for Environmental History, Tallinn University

Participants: Kirsten Twelbeck, Pia Winterholler - University of Augsburg; Kate Rigby, Sharon Gardham - Bath Spa University; Christian Rohr - University of Bern; Christof Mauch - Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society / LMU; Ulrike Plath, Kaarel Vanamölder - Tallinn University

The workshop consists of two parts. First, we showcase a selection of applied EH projects by each participating organisation. Then we proceed to the discussion of the projects as well as to the question, what counts as 'applied' at all? Is it interdisciplinary cooperation, teaching / writing textbooks, preparing exhibitions / edutainment, advancing citizen science, practical problem-solving on local level, practical application of historical knowledge / vernacular technology, activism / lobbying / marching / demonstrating, or perhaps even developing spin-off companies?

The answers may vary among individuals, institutions, academic cultures, and even state regulations. As a result, we would like to figure out some of the most promising ways of doing applied EH in the contemporary world. You are welcome to join us!

The projects to be introduced are the following:

Brewed LIFE. The LIFE or Learning in Interdisciplinary Focused Environment is an initiative of Tallinn University for university-wide project-based interdisciplinary courses. Professor Ulrike Plath and assistand professor Kaarel Vanamölder will introduce the award-winning course "Brewed LIFE". It focuses on historical food processing on the example of craft beer that is made, attempting to re-create historical processes and use ingredients as close to their 18th-19th C analogues as possible. The wider question is, to which degree is it possible to re-create history at all? The result of the course is a product that can be marketed.

Care for our Commons Home: Revitalising and extending the notion of ‘good neighbourhood’ for the modern Cotswold Commons. This doctoral project, situated at the intersection of environmental history, cultural geography and multispecies studies, seeks to revitalise the common land notion of 'good neighbourhood' and extend it to other-than-human participants in the life of the commons. Using a mixed methods approach, this transdisciplinary research is intended to contribute to the design, adoption and implementation of effective environmental management strategies and plans on these often-contested lands in the interests of collective social-ecological flourishing. The project will be presented by Sharon Gardham and Kate Rigby (Bath Spa University).

Ecopolis Munich. Based on an award-winning research and outreach seminar, Ecopolis Munich was designed to stimulate environmental awareness and a deeper understanding of Munich’s environmental past through events, audio projects, and multidisciplinary exhibits, physical as well as virtual. The project will be introduced by Christof Mauch (RCC / LMU).

Euro-Climhist and Collective Flood Memory. Two databases on climate history and disasters created by the Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research in Bern. In his short input, Christian Rohr (Universität Bern) will point out the essential role of interdisciplinary cooperation including contributors from outside the academic institutions (citizen science) for both projects. The freely accessible online platforms can be used also for teaching at universities and in schools and can raise natural hazard awareness of the society.

The Plastic Odyssey. The "Plastic Odyssey" is a web-based learning game for any age group. It was designed as a master’s thesis by Pia Winterholler and it seeks to provide ecological knowledge and know-how for the younger generation in particular. What is the problem with plastic? How can we deal with this pressing environmental issue more effectively? The game is based on Klaus Zierer’s “5 pillar concept of education for sustainable development.” This pedagogical approach familiarizes kids with the issue of plastic pollution, trains action competencies, and conveys a sense of responsibility. Presentation by Pia Winterholler and Kirsten Twelbeck from Universität Augsburg.

Tallinn University,; Estonian Centre for Environmental History,

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