EnviroAnt Network Meeting, EASA virtual conference 2020.
The Environment and Anthropology Network held its business meeting on July 20th 2020 from 11am to 1pm (Lisbon time) during the EASA biennial conference. As with the rest of the conference, the meeting was held virtually on the Shindig platform. There were up to 54 people in attendance at any one moment.
- Opening and introductions
The current network conveners, Aet Annist (University of Tartu, Estonia) and Franz Krause (University of Cologne, Germany) welcomed the participants. They provided a brief overview over the network’s short history, having been founded in 2018 following an initiative at the biennial EASA conference in Stockholm. The network’s purpose was to be both internal coordination among environmental and ecological anthropologists and other professionals in the field, and external representation of the field, its expertise and the membership to a non-anthropological audience. The current meeting was the network’s first business meeting during an EASA conference.
- Reports working groups
During EnviroAnt’s inaugural workshop in December 2019, four working groups were envisioned to take forward some of the tasks identified at the workshop.
- Focus and Mission: A working group consisting of both network convenors and Mattias Borg Rasmussen (University of Copenhagen, Denmark) has elaborated a document on EnviroAnt’s focus and mission to clarify how the network works and what it is about. A draft document has been circulated on the mailing list, and the document will be put to the vote later in the meeting.
- Media and Messaging: The media networking group commenced its work after the inaugural Cologne workshop in December 2019. The group consists of Aet Annist, Dan Podjed, Arvid van Dam, Elvira Wepfer and Katrine Callander. At the first meeting in February 2020, we continued the discussions from the event on the exciting research taking place within the network and the potential benefits of reaching out on these topics across disciplines and beyond academia. In addition to the network’s EASA page, work has started on utilising social media platforms and building up a separate network-specific website. Plans are in place for a regular online newsletter, a potential series and links to specialist media in our field. Though in the early stages, we are building a strong foundation for outreach and engagement both within academia and broader audiences.
- Networking: Another working group is to gather information on what other networks and organisations with similar remits (environment/ecology/anthropology) and strategic interest for us exist, and to forge links with them for potential collaborations, communication and developing synergies. This includes environment-related networks within the national anthropology associations, especially from countries in Eastern and Central Europe, which so far have been underrepresented in EnviroAnt. Unfortunately, this working group has not yet materialised. Network members interested in helping to take this forward are invited to contact the convenors. José Antonio Cortés-Vázquez (Universidade da Coruña, Spain) volunteered to participate in this working group.
- Teaching: This working group is to develop concepts for teaching environmental anthropology to our students, for example by exchanging experiences, practices and syllabi. Additionally, it might work towards organising a joint intensive course or summer school. Also this working group has not taken off yet, but Jeanne Féaux de la Croix (University of Tübingen, Germany), and Alessandro Rippa (Rachel Carlson Center, Germany) came forward to take this on.
- Report Workshop 2019 (Cologne)
The network’s inaugural workshop took place in Cologne, Germany, on December 12th and 13th, 2019, co-organised by the EnviroAnt convenors and Michaela Haug (University of Cologne, Germany). A motivated group of 60 registered participants (including 29 presenters) came together to discuss the theme “Perspectives and stories in a world of facts and figures? Exploring the potential of anthropology in tackling environmental issues.” Comprising three keynotes and twenty-five Pecha Kucha presentations, the workshop provided opportunities for the members of the new network to get to know each other’s work, develop the purposes and strategies of the network, and plan possible collaborations. Presentations and discussions were grouped by three questions: 1) What can we contribute?, 2) How can we make ourselves heard/present? And 3) What are our future activities, inspirations and strategies? The programme is available and a summary workshop report can be downloaded at https://easaonline.org/networks/enviroant/cologne-2019.shtml
- Outlook Workshop 2021
We discussed possible topics and venues for the next inter-EASA-conference workshop. It seems most likely that the 2021 workshop will take place in Tallinn, Estonia, co-organised by Aet Annist and local colleagues. We hope this can be an in-person event, but it might have to be held online if Covid19 conditions continue. Allessandro Rippa suggested that the following workshop (2023) might be organised in Munich, Germany, where he is based. Raj Puri (University of Kent, UK) reported that the Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI) is planning a conference on Anthropology and Conservation at the University of East Anglia for September 2021. The call for panels is due to be published in November 2020, and they would welcome a panel and/or other input from EnviroAnt. Since this year’s EASA conference is held online, the association is planning a series of smaller events for summer 2021 to happen physically in Lisbon, which may provide another opportunity for organising a small EnviroAnt session.
- Online members’ directory
An initiative since the setting-up of the network has been to publish a searchable members’ directory on the network’s website. The convenors have circulated a google form on the listserv for members to enter their information. The convenors will find a way of publishing the directory and adjust its format to meet the needs of the membership and interested publics. However, this may not happen before either EASA has a new website with better direct editing access for network convenors, or the network has its own website.
Franz Krause presented the draft document with EnviroAnt’s Focus and Principles and put it to the vote. In spite of difficulties with using the Shindig voting system, a large majority of the participants voted in favour of adopting the document as the network’s statute. It will be published on the network’s website in due course.
Elections for the network convenors for the coming two years were held using google forms for lack of a better alternative. The elections confirmed Aet Annist and Franz Krause as convenors, and also showed strong support for three new candidates who will join the convening team: Katrine A. Callander (University of Kent, UK), Alexandra Coțofană (Zayed University, UAE) and Arvid van Dam ( University of Leeds, UK).
Network members exchanged information on the many environment-related panels and presentations at the conference. Only two of them are officially marked as EnviroAnt network panels.