The Network has 4 main events:
Through the participation of academics from cognate disciplines in the June 2010 methodology virtual forums, we will begin to establish new working relations and bring together a number of disciplines that do not ordinarily communicate. This will facilitate the further participation of these experts, and their students, in the subsequent and more open conference in January 2011. First evidence of this is anticipated in the October workshop. During the methodology virtual forums we will have begun to formulate a trans-disciplinary vision of methodological issues through discussion. These will not only enrich the research methods of the Cambridge core group but will also provide the basis for broader methodological debate, particularly concerning culturally informed notions of evidence, as well as the ambiguous connections between historical conceptions, environmental knowledge and communications strategies. This will be of value to both climate scientists and climate activists and NGOs. By opening this methodology seminar to a limited-but-more general audience, we will establish productive interactions beyond the immediate academic community from the outset. A summary of issues will be produced in accessible language and posted on our website. It will reflect challenges and suggestions for research strategies that are informed across a series of disciplines.
The October 2010 workshop is an internal, work-in-progress workshop. Building on the new, cross-disciplinary connections established through the methodology seminars, as well as employing existing international networks, we anticipate that approximately 5 young researchers will join the Cambridge core group. Whereas the impact of the June methodology virtual forums relates specifically to questions of method, the October workshop provides the opportunity to assess those methods with relation to specific fieldwork and begin to formulate themes and arguments collectively. Workshop participants will be expected to post description, discussion, and visual images onto the project website. These preliminary discussions will provide the basis for our initial contact with schools, which we anticipate taking two forms: electronic (the website will provide a link to schools networks) and face-to-face visits involving those researchers who have been cleared for such activities.
The January 2011 conference initiates this stage and will bring together approximately 25 contributors, with an audience of up to 30 additional participants. Again, we are aiming for a relatively small meeting in order to foster real discussion, rather than simply the performance of papers. To broaden the Network, invitations to participate will include the core cross-disciplinary network members, centres for environmental research that incorporate relatively little anthropological analysis; schools with which we have established links; and local historical societies, as well as being disseminated online in a less targeted fashion. The 4-fold themes of the Network will inform the conference and offer subjects of interest to a broad audience. The final session will be a round-table discussion with the intention of linking our awareness of historical process to our awareness of contemporary challenges embedded in complex social interactions that extend well beyond the university. We will use this opportunity to form a working group that crosses university and non-academic lines that will seek more long-term support for the Network and the research aims with which this Network is associated. The Network also aims to foster a critical engagement with the portrayal of and public reaction to representations of catastrophic events caused by climate change as part of this conference. We will offer a free public screening of the Hollywood film The Day After Tomorrow and will follow this with a panel discussion over how such millennial visions of environmental apocalypse are effective – or not – in communicating knowledge of environmental change. We will also put on a small art/photographic exhibition illustrating the kinds of narratives and communications we record in our fieldwork (e.g. excerpts from stories) and to introduce the public to the key themes of the network.
The final March 2011 workshop is intended to provide the context necessary for producing a coherent body of work which may take several forms: panel presentations at conferences, dedicated journal publications, individual papers. In addition, this workshop will provide the chance to frame our findings for the benefit of future long-term research aims and applications.