Published 2018-11-22

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Environmental festival for seeds and citizens

The environmental humanities festival organised by The Seed Box in Linköping in September was a success. It proved popular not only among researchers who had the opportunity to rework their research findings as children’s books or poetry. The public also came in crowds.

The Seed Box research programme seeks to approach environmental issues from the perspectives of humanities and social sciences. This needs public commitment to succeed.

In collaboration with Östergötland County Museum, to boost interest in the programme and issues The Seed Box wants to raise, the programme arranged an environmental humanities festival over a weekend at the end of September.

On the first of the three festival days, researchers presented their work, while various workshops were held. For example, participants had a go at transforming one of their own research texts into poetry, a children’s book, drama or external communication.

‘Working on research texts in a new and creative way was both fun and appreciated. Trying to put our writings into new forms of expression was instructive, too,’ says Anna Kaijser, Deputy Programme Director of The Seed Box.

During the weekend, the public had pride of place and experienced a mixed programme. One item concerned how to cope with our climate anxiety; in others, participants did role-playing or were inspired by installations from a variety of artists.

‘Most pleasing was that the people of Östergötland showed so much interest. According to Östergötland County Museum, the festival set a record for attendance at activities in the summer and autumn.’

Other events during the weekend were guided tours by the city’s horticultural association, which included a talk about biodiversity. The Sunday ended at a restaurant near the Museum where anyone who wished could enjoy a buffet, seasoned with discussions about food.

What did you get out of organising an environmental festival?

‘It’s too early to say yet, but it’s very clear that we must find ways to create knowledge jointly with others. Researchers can’t just look at the outside world; we must act in cooperation with it,’ Kaijser says.

Whether there will be more similar festivals in the future is undecided, but she is convinced that there will be more outreach events.

Links

Watch presentations by researchers during the festival here.

The Seed Box programme

Text: Per Westergård