Bath Spa University Environmental Humanities Research Centre Public Lecture; Mining the Skeleton Coast: Nature, Capital and History; by Dr Mike Hannis and Professor Sian Sullivan; Weds 14 Nov; 6 – 8 pm

Wednesday 14th November 2018;

Bath Spa University, Newton Park, Commons NP.CM.24

6.00 pm – 8.00 pm; including after talk discussions and refreshments

Presenter: Mike Hannis
Authors: Mike Hannis and Sian Sullivan

For two centuries, the so-called Skeleton Coast has been presented as dramatic, inaccessible, dangerous and ‘unspoilt’. In contemporary Namibia this crafted mystique is nurtured as a valuable national asset, and both ‘extreme adventure’ and ‘nature discovery’ activities in remote coastal areas are strongly marketed as parts of a rapidly expanding tourism economy. Yet over the same period, these areas have hosted numerous overlapping episodes of intensive resource extraction. From whales and guano to diamonds and uranium, extractive industries have reshaped landscapes and impacted heavily on both human and non-human populations, while exporting the financial profits along with the material resources. Facilitated by a major expansion of the port of Walvis Bay, current frontiers in this continuing process include marine phosphate mining and offshore oil drilling. Drawing on recent fieldwork undertaken as part of the Future Pasts project (, this paper explores (dis)continuities between historical and current extractive industries. It focuses in particular on parallels between nineteenth-century guano extraction and current proposals to mine phosphate from the seabed. In both cases, precious fertility from this semi-arid region is exported to boost agricultural production in the global north.


Mike Hannis is Senior Lecturer in Environmental Humanities at Bath Spa University, and author of Freedom and Environment: autonomy, human flourishing and the political philosophy of sustainability (Routledge 2016). Recent collaborations with Sian Sullivan include ‘Relationality, reciprocity and flourishing in an African landscape’ in Hartman, L.M, ed. That all may flourish: comparative religious environmental ethics (Oxford University Press 2018).

Sian Sullivan is Professor of Environment and Culture at Bath Spa University, and an Associate of Gobabeb Research and Training Centre, Namibia. She is an environmental anthropologist who has carried out field research in west Namibia since the early 1990s, currently through the AHRC-funded project Future Pasts ( She has published Political Ecology: Science, Myth and Power (2000), Contributions to Law, Philosophy and Ecology: Exploring Re-Embodiments (2016), and Valuing Development, Environment and Conservation: Creating Values that Matter (in press).

To give us an idea of numbers, please book here

Mining the Skeleton Coast: Nature, Capital and History

1st CFP: Considering art and creativity in an era of ecocide; Nordic Geographers Meeting 2019 (Trondheim, Norway, June 16-19, 2019)

Nordic Geographers Meeting 2019 (Trondheim, Norway, June 16-19, 2019)

CFPs: Considering art and creativity in an era of ecocide


Dr Anna Pigott; ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow; Department of Geography, Swansea University

Professor Owain Jones; Environmental Humanities Research Centre, Bath Spa University

In their radical assessments of art and creativity in the 20th Century, the artists/critics Joseph Beuys and Suzi Gablik argued that “everybody is an artist” and that creativity is not the preserve of lone geniuses, inventors, designers and the like, but rather is something that should be considered integral to everyday life (e.g. Gablik 1991). In this session we ask, is this sentiment outdated? Or is it an even more urgent imperative in this era of ecocide (Pindar and Sutton  2000)? It seems likely that art and creativity offer ways of potentially attuning to the kinds of “new realities” that are upon us (Davis & Turpin 2015, Hawkins 2016). But what sorts of art and creativity, and for what kinds of attunements? We note that neoliberal capitalism harnesses ‘art’ and ‘creativity’ very vigorously in its relentless drive to shape individual and collective identities towards the service of toxic consumer lifestyles. At the same time alternative approaches to creativity as an anti-ecocide endeavor are growing in the arts, and in social and academic practice (Mould 2018), offering possibilities for resistance and eco-social flourishing.

We invite papers that consider these kinds of issues and share examples, and we are particularly interested in using the session to explore questions such as:

  • How are the ways we think about art and/or creativity linked to the ways we think about and behave in the world, and vice versa? For example, how do the relationships between subjects and objects constructed through creative practices map on to, reflect, and influence relationships (and alienations) between humans and environment more generally (Miles 2014)?
  • Where and what are the collective forms of creativity that are transforming environments and communities? What would it mean to consider these activities ‘art’ too?
  • Relatedly, is it possible to draw out a perspective on the transformative potential of art which does not depend on a sudden or novel “rupture” (providing ‘new’ ways of seeing the world), but which arises out of rituals and traditions (for example) that are familiar, rather than shocking?

We welcome contributions from scholars, artists and practitioners from across disciplines, and are open to presentations in non-conventional formats, short films, graphic visual material, reading, short performance (and so on!)

Please submit abstracts or proposals by e-mail to Anna Pigott (  and

Owain Jones (  by December 15, 2018. Abstracts 250 words max, including:

  • Name of the session
  • Title of the paper or other artefact (lowercase letters)
  • Author’s name and e-mail
  • Author’s affiliation / status
  • Abstract/description

Notice of acceptation or otherwise will be by January 15 2019. Accepted abstracts will be published on the conference webpage.


Professor Sian Sullivan and the Future Pasts AHRC Project invited to blog about their research on the AHRC Heritage Priority Area Platform

The large AHRC Care for the Future research project Future Pasts: Sustainabilities and Cultural Landscapes in West Namibia , led by Professor Sian Sullivan, has been invited to provide the latest blog on the prestigious  AHRC Heritage Priority Area webite.

The post, which outlines the Future Pasts project, including the international team, research aims, and outputs, begins thus;

“The contemporary global environmental moment is saturated with reports of crisis and loss. Apocalytic fears abound, as the accelerating ecological alterations of the Anthropocene move us beyond known collective human experience.

This apparent rush towards eco-catastrophe, however, is also a vibrant ecocultural milieu, populated with creative responses and diverse sustainability solutions. Dominant neoliberal ‘sustainable development’ formulations, given new impetus as the ‘Green Economy’, embrace the modern linear time of progress to propose sustainability modernisations built on current economic structures. Apparent rapprochements between economic growth trajectories and perceived environmental crisis, however, can disempower indigenous modes of response by wrapping local and immanent experience into global and transcendent futures.

Against this background, Future Pasts investigates how diverse ideas and assumptions about the past affect the futures being created now in pursuit of ‘sustainability’. Combining disciplinary approaches from social anthropology, environmental ethics, cultural geography, ethnomusicology and environmental history, the project explores tensions between traditional, indigenous and local conceptions of human/nature relationships, on the one hand, and new conceptions underlying modern market-based methods for creating ‘green’ futures, on the other. Future Pasts has a particular geographical focus on west Namibia (southern Africa), where three of our research team have field experience stretching back into the 1990s. The project seeks to:

  • enhance understanding of sociocultural, economic and environmental changes in historical and post-independence contexts;
  • document and promote cultural heritage and indigenous knowledge regarding the historical cultural landscapes of west Namibia;
  • extend analysis and understanding of the historical ecologies of the Namib;
  • understand the interpretation of sustainability in the context of generating a growth-oriented ‘green economy’; and
  • foster public discussion of environmental change and sustainability perceptions and concerns.”

The full post can be seen here 

Sian Sullivan is Professor of Environment and Culture at Bath Spa University

Dr Mike Hannis , Senior Lecturer in Environmental Humanities at Bath Spa University, is also a member of the Future Pasts team.

Both are members of the Bath Spa University Research Centre for the Environmental Humanities 

For any inquiries, please follow the links on the Future Pasts contact page 

About the AHRC Heritage Priority Area webite

“The AHRC Heritage Priority Area team – led by Heritage Leadership Fellow Professor Rodney Harrison, and based at the UCL Institute of Archaeology – works with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC),  the heritage research community, and heritage partner organisations, to draw together and stimulate the development of a wide range of research across the arts and humanities that makes an important contribution to understanding heritage. We also aim to support the interconnections between research, policy and practice, both in the UK and internationally.

We take on an expansive view of heritage, and aim to encourage and stimulate work that highlights intersections between natural and cultural heritage, and key global challenges.

​We are currently working with AHRC to develop a programme of events and activities which will help us to address these aims. We have our own specific set of research themes which we aim to engage as part of our research and leadership activities.

Further information about the AHRC’s investments in heritage research, and its Heritage Priority Area Future Research Strategy, is available on the AHRC’s website.”  Source here

Bath Spa University Environmental Humanities Research Centre Public Lecture; Solastalgia, Wild Fire & The Butterfly Kiss presented by Glenn Albrecht & Vic McEwan

A video of this talk is now on our YouTube Channel here
Mon 29 Oct 2018; 5:00 pm – 7.00 pm, followed by informal drinks
Newton Park, Bath Spa University; Commons (NP.CM.105)
Solastalgia, Wild Fire

Fire is primordial and elemental as it has always been part of the psychic and material existence of human beings. Traditional cultures learnt to live with fire and to control it with, for example, Australian Aboriginal people doing so over ten of thousands of years despite living in a fire-prone environment and a gradually drying climate. Under the impact of anthropogenic global warming in the Anthropocene, fire is once again becoming a life-enemy and is ‘out of control’. Even with the use of technologies such as fire-bombing aircraft, well-equipped fire-trucks and thousands of human firefighters, wild-fire is now capable of consuming all living beings and life forms in its path. Moreover, fire is now occurring at scales, within seasons and in places that are unprecedented in modern history. In this presentation, I will explore what I call, the ‘psychoterratic’ or psyche-earth dimensions of fire and smoke in a rapidly warming world. The direct impact of wild fire on people is devastating and terrifying, an emotional experience I have named ‘tierratrauma’. As the fire is extinguished and people return to desolated home landscapes they also experience ‘solastalgia’, defined by me as the lived experience of chronic, negative environmental change. The emotions of fire and smoke are now being openly discussed world-wide as the transformative power of fire is unleashed for all to see and ‘death smoke’ crosses the boundaries of national states. It is easy to see the ecological and economic costs of wild fire, yet it is a lot harder to see the emotional costs on humans and non-human beings. It is time that we once again looked directly into the flames in order to repair our burnt-out emotions.

Glenn Albrecht retired as professor of sustainability at Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia in June 2014. He is now an Honorary Fellow in the School of Geosciences, The University of Sydney. He was at the University of Newcastle as Associate Professor of Environmental Studies until December 2008. He is an environmental philosopher with both theoretical and applied interests in the relationship between ecosystem and human health, broadly defined. He has pioneered the research domain of ‘psychoterratic’ or earth related mental health and emotional conditions with his concept of ‘solastalgia’ or the lived experience of negative environmental change. Albrecht is a pioneer of transdisciplinary thinking and, with Higginbotham and Connor, produced a major book on this topic, Health Social Science: A Transdisciplinary and Complexity Perspective (Oxford UP, 2001). He now works as a ‘farmosopher’ on Wallaby Farm in the Hunter Region of NSW, whilst continuing to research and publish in his chosen fields. His next scholarly book, Earth Emotions: New Words for a New World (Cornell University Press), is due to be released in May 2019.

The Butterfly Kiss: #3
This paper is the third in a series called The Butterfly Kiss which looks at the process, role and impact of contemporary arts practice in dealing with the fractures borne from the lived experience of people and place. Positioning creative practice as an open ended and responsive examining of the poetics of care within our communities, The Cad Factory encourages arts practice to bear witness to, contribute to and respond to the thresholds and tensions, blends and blurs (Seigworth, Gregg 2010) of the lived experience. Guided by the MAP (Materiality, Affect and Performativity) of communities and of cross disciplinary arts practice, The Cad Factory positions itself in what Anna Tsing might call “Zones of Awkward Engagement” in order to engage with and contribute to various communities. This presentation examines a body of work that address complex issues from multiple perspectives centering around the project Specimen. This is a project in collaboration with The Australian Institute of Anatomy Specimen Collection from the National Museum of Australia. These Specimens in jars lack any detailed records of their origin, rendering them eternally dislocated from their own histories, from the timescales and landscapes in which they lived. Instead they sit preserved in toxic formaldehyde. Many of the specimens represent species heavily impacted by human activity. By projecting photographs of their ghostlike presences back onto the landscape, Specimen invites audiences to attend to and consider their relationship with their natural environment and its non-human community. In Australia these images were projected back onto the landscape from which they were removed, in the UK they were projected onto places connected to the colonisation of Australia.  Animated by place, the final photographs render these specimens both present and absent in a changing environment.

Vic McEwen is the Artistic Director of The Cad Factory, an innovative arts organisation based in the regional NSW town of Narrandera. His practice involves working with sound, video, installation and performance with a particular interest in site-specific work. Vic is interested in working with diverse partners to contribute to and enrich broader conversations about the role that the arts can play in exploring difficult themes within the lived experience of communities and localities. Vic was the 2015 Artist in Residence at the National Museum of Australia, the recipient of the Inaugural Create NSW Regional Fellowship 2014/16 and has shared work internationally in the UK (Tate Liverpool) and Lithuania (National Gallery of Lithuania). He sits on the NSW/ACT Arts and Health State Leadership Group, is a board member of Music NSW, holds a Masters of Arts Practice with High Distinction, a 1st Class Honours of Creative Practice (Fine Arts) and was the 2017 recipient of the Executive Deans Award for Academic Excellence.

A Call for Presentations: BODY IQ 2019 Somatische Akademie Berlin & Bath Spa University

Dear Colleagues

please see the call for presentations for Body IQ Festival in Berlin 2019. We would be grateful if you could pass this on to relevant webgroups – or join us!

Best wishes Thomas & Kai

A Call for Presentations: BODY IQ 2019: On being human in a world begging for our passion, compassion and action.

Somatische Akademie Berlin  15.-17. 11. 2019

Organisers: Kai Erhardt (Somatische Akademie Berlin) & Thomas Kampe (Bath Spa University, UK)

Body IQ Festival 2019 aims to address questions of re-embodiment in a context of global ethical and ecological crisis. Over the last decades somatic practices have become a growing field of sensorial, experiential and emancipatory learning within a broad range of educational, therapeutic and artistic contexts. How can somatic practices contribute to a re-education of attention and human interaction with a sustainable living world? How do we mobilise, activate and organize a culture of somatic passion and care for a dignified future for all?

The 2019 festival has a focus on dissemination, networking, application and somatic-activisms beyond the field into a diverse range of cultural and social environments.

The three day festival runs between 15th and 17th of November 2019, and offers workshops, talks, panel-discussions and performances with international presenters.

Invited presenters include: Funmi Adewole (UK); Glenna Batson (US/IE); Jenny Coogan (DE); Elisa Cotroneo (US);Marion Evers (DE);  Tiago Gambogi ( BRA/UK) ; Heike Kuhlmann (DE); Chris  Lewis-Smith ( UK); Katja Münker (DE); Obrador de Moviments (ES); Mike Poltorak (UK); Sian Sullivan (UK); Lisa May Thomas (UK); Sarah Whatley (UK)

BODY IQ Festivals have been hosted by Somatische Akademie Berlin in dialogue with international partners since 2015 as a forum for critical engagement with and development of practices of embodiment in socio-political contexts.  Find more information about past BODY IQ Festivals visit:

We are inviting artists, educators and scholars to contribute through workshops, academic presentations, performances and artefacts, lectures, or other alternative formats:

Topics might be concerned with:

Critical Somatics ; Somatic Activism  & Applied Somatics

Somatic Performance Cultures; The Power of Touch

Moving Masculinities; Moving Gender; Critiquing the Euro-centric

Somatic Education for different Age-Groups ; Somatics and diverse abilities

Re-moving Trauma; Somatics in the Digital Age; Intercultural Somatic Networks

Somatics and Enactivism; Eco-Somatics & Eco-Crisis

Re-Embodiment and/as Re-Empowerment

Deadline for Applications Dec 1st 2018; feedback from organisers by December 10th 2018

To apply send a 200 word abstract/proposal and a 200 word biog. to

For more information contact Thomas Kampe or Kai Erhardt

Dr.Thomas Kampe: Senior Lecturer for Movement (BA Acting)