3rd November 2014, University of East Anglia Sportspark
Co-organised by the Science in Public Network; 3S (Science, Society and Sustainability) research group, UEA; and the Broads Authority
Thanks to all who made Environments in Public into such a successful event! You can find the full programme online here. There’s also been some insightful writeups of the day written by Dominic Berry, Matthew Holmes and Leona Skelton.
Researchers studying the interactions between science and society argue that rather than thinking about ‘the public’, models of multiple ‘publics’ interacting with specific, situated scientific ideas offers a better way of understanding scientific communication, public engagement and policy impact. However, this risks losing sight of broader concepts such as public debate, the public interest, or what it means to say or do something in public. In turn, we can ask what does it mean to talk about ‘the environment’? Given that many passionately engaged environmental debates have been focused on and in particular places, would it help to abandon this abstraction and instead talk about places: particular ‘environments’ and how they are changing?
Could it be more productive to ground environmental debates in more localised questions of landscape, health, animals and people? Localism also brings its own drawbacks, making it more difficult to recognise or address global environmental problems. Environmental controversies can also be understood as conflicts about ‘the politics of scale’, which can emerge at multiple levels simultaneously. Can science and society research help us understand these tensions and interactions? How do the debates and ideas of the past interact with the arguments of today, to shape our thoughts about possible futures?
This workshop directs these ideas towards today’s public environmental debates, and asks if and how academic research, professional practice, and day to day life can make use of them. Jointly organised by the Science in Public Research Network, the 3S (Science, Society, Sustainability) research group, and the Broads Authority, Environment(s) in Public? will be grounded in a particular place and set of environments: the city of Norwich and the rivers, farms, broads and coasts of the East of England.
The workshop will take place from on Monday 3rd November from 10am-5.30pm at the University of East Anglia (directions and map), and will be followed by an evening public lecture from Professor David Matless about the cultural geography of the Broads.
We are also planning an evening of talk, song, storytelling and sociability about rivers and the people who study and live with them, from Tales from the River at the Norwich Playhouse Bar for the evening of Sunday 2nd November.