The LUCID early career researcher’s conference took place over three days, from Wednesday to Friday last week. You can find the conference program and list of abstracts here. The three days provided a challenging and inspiring forum for young researchers from around Europe, as well as a few from further afield, to present their work and discuss others. As a major outcome of the conference, those who presented are invited to submit a manuscript before the first of November if they would like to be considered for publication in a LUCID special issue in an interdisciplinary environmental journal.
The conference started energetically with a passionate keynote presentation by Monique van Zijl, who works with Oxfam on their behind the brands campaign, which aims to encourage big food brands towards more sustainable production using both “the carrot and the stick”. It was perhaps unusual to begin the conference with a project in “the real world” as opposed to from academia but ita challenged the largely acadmic audience to consider the role of research in such projects and conversely the role of “the real world” in research, so to speak. A lengthy discussion followed Monique’s presentation with much centering on the role of incremental change versus larger reform, as well as the role of very large NGOs in relation to social movements and civil society.
After a stimulating debate, the crowd persued their individual interests by attedning one of the three parallel sessions where the over-arching themes were:
The next day started with a keynote address of a quite a different kind. Prof. Andrea Nightingale, of the School of Global Studies at Gothenburg University, presented some work an upcoming paper which aims to advance methodology for interdisciplinary research, her talk was entitled: Mis-match and the Politics of Knowledge: Some quandaries of using plural epistemologies. Andrea challenged us, the assembled members of the research community, to step out of the framings, often structured by our disciplinary backgrounds or, more broadly, scientific backgrounds, through which we approach problems such as climate change and engage with the knolwedge of others in a constructive, if not always complementary, research approach. Her approach was synthesized epistemically through the concept of situated knowledges put forward by Donna Haraway. Discussion centered on the politics of knolwedge and the limitations of integration for differing epistemologies.
Andrea’s thought-provoking address was follwed by second round of parallel sessions. Which in turn was followed by a session run by LUCSUS and LUCID staff on alternative approaches to presenting research and teaching sustainability science. Barry Ness and Mine Islar presented videos of their participatory development and research work in Kenya and Turkey respectively. The audience recevied the presentations enthusiastically and the feeling was that this mode of communication appears to have great potential for the future.