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Environmental Photography and Humanities – Contributions to Research and Awareness.
An international symposium held at University of Gothenburg 23-24 April 2015

Environmental Photography and Humanities aim to bring together cross disciplinary questions, practices and studies within humanities, social sciences, art and the natural sciences regarding aspects of perceptions of the land, how nature has been valued and used and how human activities and cultures act as part of, or against earths eco-system and the future consequences of those different approaches. Shifting cultural views has over time through exploration, exploitation and colonisation and shifting political focus, changed not only ideas and perceptions of the natural world but also the relation with terrestrial and marine areas and its inhabitants. The current state of the earth is critical with remaining pockets of natural resources being explored with possible consequences ranging from a massive extinction of animal species and ecological disasters to acts of war between competing nations and large migrations due to lack of food, water and fertile soil. How do photography and humanities contribute to the understanding and story of the changes of our environment and the living conditions for a wide range of people? How does environmental photography and humanities function as both the witness to mankind’s brutal interference with land and sea as well as being a voice for what to save and for the beauty of the wild places wherever they are to be found?

The issues of the impact of our industrialised culture with its current economical system are our times most important issues in regards to the future of our existence in a world as we still know it. Facing the concept and consequences of the Anthropocene is a great challenge for humanity and it is of great importance to identify and understand the rapid changes in our environment to be able to prepare for the future to come. The visual impact of photographs as documents and artistic representations as well as the power of literature, art, film and science has a tradition of being able to raise awareness among the public and support policymakers, politicians, researchers, environmentalists and activists. The symposium Environmental Photography and Humanities wants to address the need to develop that tradition.


Subhankar Banerjee, USA Anne Noble, New Zeeland Mark Klett, USA Joni Adamson, USA Daniel Schrag, USA Anders Wijkman, Sweden Per Holmlund, Sweden Jem Southam, Great Britain Heidi Morstang, Great Britain Liz Wells, Great Britain

This symposium is in collaboration between University of Gothenburg and Hasselblad Foundation.


Thursday April 23

9:45 Anders Wijkman, Co-President of Club of Rome and Chairman of the Swedish Governmental Committee on Environmental Objectives
In need of a new economic logic

11:00 Joni Adamson Professor of Environmental Humanities
, Arizona State University, USA

Telling Storied Matters, Picturing Time: What Ancient Desert Plants Tell Us about 
Deep Time, Resilience, and Adaption

12:15 - 13:30 Lunch Break

13:30 Daniel Schrag Sturgis Hooper Professor of Geology and Professor of Environmental Science and 
Engineering and director, Harvard University Center for the Environment, USA

The Anthropocene and Its Discontents: Climate Change, Cultural Memory, and
 the Environmental Transformation of Civilization
14:45 Anne Noble Professor of Photography, Massey University, New Zeeland
”SONG STING SWARM: Eco‐poetics for a future world”

15:30 Coffee

16:00 Per Holmlund Professor of Glaciology 
Stockholm University
Photography in Cryospheric Research

17:00 Heidi Morstang Lecturer in Photography
, Plymouth University, Great Britain
 Prosperous Mountain. A film on the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.

18:00 Mingle

Friday 24 April

09:30 Coffee

10:00 Mark Klett Regents Professor of Photography
 Arizona State University, USA
 Measuring Time: Projects on Landscapes, Change and Photography

11:00 Subhankar Banerjee Artist, writer and activist, USA
Photography and Humanities in the Anthropocene

12:15 - 13:30 Lunch Break

13:30 Jem Southam Professor of Photography 
Plymouth University, Great Britain
The pond at Upton Pyne

14:30 - 15:30 End notes

15:30 Moderator: Liz Wells Professor in Photographic Culture, Plymouth University


The symposium is free and open to attend. We would however like you to register by sending an email with your name and days you would like to attend.

Register at: Foto@akademinvaland.gu.se

For questions on the event: tyrone.martinsson@gu.se

Location: University of Gothenburg, Academy Valand, Vasagatan 50, The Aula.