Bath Spa Research Centre for Environmental Humanities Public Lecture Series 2017.

Lectures will normally be held on Wednesdays 6-8.00 in the Commons Building at Newton Park and include light refreshments to follow.

February 15

Julian Wolfreys, poet, novelist, musician and Professor of English at the University of Portsmouth, will talk on "Voicing the Land":

Book via Bath Spa Live

March 15

Christoph Schwitzer, Head of Conservation from the Bristol Zoo, talking on the role of zoos in conservation (in association with the Biology):

Book via Bath Spa Live

April 12

Arran Stibbe, Reader in Ecological Linguistics at the University of Gloucestershire, talking on ecolinguistics and “the stories we live by”:

Book via Bath Spa Live

May 24

Joni Adamson, Professor of Environmental Humanities at Arizona State University, on current developments in the environmental humanities.

Book via Bath Spa Live

In addition, and in collaboration with Music:

May 17

Michael Tippett Centre: David Rothenberg, Professor of Philosophy and Music at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, will present a lecture/workshop on his improvisational music-making with nonhuman others (notably birds and whales), followed by a performance (also in the Michael Tippett Centre). 11.00-2.00

Book via Bath Spa Live

May 10

This talk by Dolly Jørgensen, Associate Professor of History of Environment and Technology Luleå University of Technology, examines a pivotal effort to reintroduce the European beaver in Europe – the earliest successful beaver reintroduction project in Europe was bringing back the beaver to Sweden in 1922. 5.30-6.30 pm, Newton Park Commons 133.

Past Events

Inaugural Symposium

Environmental Humanities: Doing Interdisciplinarity with Depth

15-16 December 2016

It is increasingly well-recognised that today’s complex socio-environmental problems cannot be adequately understood, let alone redressed, from either side of the nature-culture divide that structured the modern constitution of knowledge, and that remains embedded in our educational and research institutions, as well as in dominant cultural imaginaries and social practices. Over the past few decades a growing number of scholars on both sides of the great divide have embraced the challenge of multi-, inter- and transdisciplinary research. In some cases, this has also entailed creative conversations between modern Western and other ways of knowing.

Bath Spa University’s Research Centre for Environmental Humanities seeks to advance this multi-, inter- and transdisciplinary project across the University, in collaboration with artists, scholars, extra-academic organisations, and the wider community, locally, nationally and internationally. However, we also recognise that this is easier said than done. In our inaugural symposium, we therefore want to move beyond motherhood statements to explore the challenges involved in doing interdisciplinarity well and ‘at depth’ across the Environmental Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, and to consider the impediments and opportunities that might line our potential pathways to impact.

Among the key questions that we will be pursuing with a group of eminent scholars from diverse disciplines and inter-disciplines are the following:
What is the place of in-depth specialist knowledge in the inter- and transdisciplinary space of the Environmental Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences?

Might the distinct methodologies conventionally deployed by different disciplines express deeper onto-epistemological divides, and if so, how might these be exposed and negotiated?

With increasing acknowledgement of the value of local and indigenous knowledges (e.g. in the 2014 IPCC Report on Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability), there is a risk that such traditional stores of knowledge might be mined for global policy agendas that disregard the particular interests, values and ontologies of generally marginalised and disempowered communities. How might this risk be averted?
What diplomatic protocols might be called for in conducting cross- and inter-cultural, along with inter- and transdisciplinary research in the Environmental Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences?

As policy-makers press for greater interdisciplinarity, notably in response to the ‘global challenges’ posed by the UN’s new Sustainable Development goals, do we need new models of evaluation to ensure scholarly rigour while fostering innovation?

How might inter- and transdisciplinary research best be advanced within higher education? What challenges does this pose to current institutional structures, degree programmes, and pedagogies?

What impediments and opportunities exist for researchers in the Environmental Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences to engage effectively with extra-academic communities, media, businesses, NGOs, and policy makers?

What types of national and international association and vehicles of communication might provide the best avenues for advancing the Environmental Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, locally, nationally and internationally?

These questions will be addressed through a series of multi-disciplinary panels relating to particular topics and aspects of Arts, Humanities and Social Science research, including the following:

  • Spatio-temporalities
  • Onto-epistemologies and Ethics
  • NaturalCultural calamities
  • HumAnimalities
  • Ecopoetries and ecopoetics

Confirmed speakers:

  • Greg Bankoff (Modern History, University of Hull)
  • Emily Brady (Philosophy and Environmental Humanities, Edinburgh University)
  • David Farrier (English and Environmental Humanities, Edinburgh University)
  • Steven Hartman (Literature and Environmental Humanities, Mid-Sweden University)
  • Graham Harvey (Religious Studies, Open University)
  • Poul Holm (History and Environmental Humanities, Trinity University, Dublin)
  • Graham Huggan (English and Environmental Humanities, Leeds University)
  • Mike Hulme (Climate and Culture, King’s College, London)
  • Michael Northcott (Ethics, Theology and Environmental Humanities, Edinburgh University)
  • Wendy Wheeler (Culture, Ecology and Biosemiotics, London Metropolitan University and Goldsmiths College, London)
  • Nicola Whyte (History and Environmental Arts and Humanities, Exeter University

Being Human Festival of the Humanities

As part of the British Academy’s Festival of the Humanities, Bath Spa presented three public engagement events concerning peoples’ hopes and fears in relation to environmental change:

Changing Landscapes, Rising Waters

November 19

Burdall’s Yard, Bath


Kate Rigby, Owain Jones and Sam Walton present a series of short talks and film screenings arising from their current research projects, all of which concern peoples relationships with the watery worlds of ocean, estuaries and rivers during a time of rapid climatic and environmental change.

Environmental Literature Reading and Discussion

November 21

Toppings Bookstore, Bath


Three of Bath Spa’s creative writers, Stephen Moss, Maggie Gee, and Samantha Walton, will read from their work and discuss how it explores the hopes and fears that are inextricably entangled with the living landscapes we inhabit at this time of rapid environmental change and biodiversity loss.

“Gobaith ac ofn; Dwy sgriniad / Hope and fear: two screenings”

Friday 25 November

Aberystwyth Arts Centre,
Aberystwyth, Friendship Inn,

14.00–16.00 (Timeline)
19.00–21.00 (Y Gors)

We used to think of climate change as something that happens in far-flung places, or in the future. Yet many of us have now experienced extreme weather in West Wales. How do we make sense of this? Join us for a screening of two short films. Timeline takes us on an ecological journey from the low-lying island nation Kiribati back home to Aberystwyth, where the promenade is eroded by waves. The second film is ‘Y Gors’, a community-produced film and soundscape about Cors Fochno, the raised bog that occupies a significant position in the psyche of the locality. If the bog had a voice, how would it sound and what would it say to us? Visit for event times.

Professorial Lecture: Professor Kate Rigby, Director of Bath Spa University’s Research Centre for Environmental Humanities

Infernal Ecologies: Literature, ethics, and fire 'down under’

October 5th 2016

Newton Park G23/24 Commons


This talk brings an ecocritical perspective to the phenomenon of wildfire, with specific reference to the potentially catastrophic firestorms of south-eastern Australia, which are set to become more frequent and intense as the planet warms and droughts lengthen and deepen as a consequence of anthropogenic climate change. This research is located within a longer history of transdisciplinary conversations in the environmental humanities in Australia since the late 1990s.

Putting pressure on the concept of ‘natural disaster’, attention is brought to the complex entanglement of human and nonhuman players in the genesis and unfolding of socio-ecological calamity. As the work of environmental historians, such as Tom Griffiths and Stephen Pyne, have demonstrated, such entanglements are particularly intense in the case of bushfire in Australia, the fieriest continent on this fiery planet.

Here I argue that literary works of the creative imagination open a space within which to consider also their affective and ethical dimensions, and conclude with a discussion of two very different poetic responses to the cultural ecology of bushfire: Henry Lawson’s “The Fire at Ross’s Farm” (1891) and Jordie Albiston’s “Lamentations” (2013), written in the wake of the Victorian firestorm of 2009.

Edit section