Environments in public: the Science in Public conference comes to UEA

‘Environment(s) in Public?’ Workshop, University of East Anglia, 2-3rd November 2014

Co-organised by the Science in Public Network; 3S research group; and Broads Authority
Researchers studying the interactions between science and society argue that rather than thinking about ‘the public’, models of multiple ‘publics’ interacting with specific, situated scientific ideas offers a better way of understanding scientific communication, public engagement and policy impact. However, this risks losing sight of broader concepts such as public debate, the public interest, or what it means to say or do something in public. In turn, we can ask what does it mean to talk about ‘the environment’? Given that many passionately engaged environmental debates have been focused on and in particular places, would it help to abandon this abstraction and instead talk about places: particular ‘environments’ and how they are changing?
Could it be more productive to ground environmental debates in more localised questions of landscape, health, animals and people? Localism also brings its own drawbacks, making it more difficult to recognise or address global environmental problems. Environmental controversies can also be understood as conflicts about ‘the politics of scale’, which can emerge at multiple levels simultaneously. Can science and society research help us understand these tensions and interactions? How can the debates and ideas of the past interact with the arguments of today, to shape our thoughts about possible futures?
This workshop directs these ideas towards today’s public environmental debates, and asks if and how academic research, professional practice, and day to day life can make use of them. Jointly organised by the Science in Public Research Network, the 3S (Science, Society, Sustainability) research group, and the Broads Authority, Environment(s) in Public? will be grounded in a particular place and set of environments: the city of Norwich and the rivers, farms, broads and coasts of the East of England. It will take place at the University of East Anglia on Monday 3rd November, followed by a public lecture from Professor DavidMatless on the cultural geography of the Broads.

Preceding the workshop, we are planning an evening of talk, song and storytelling about river environments and the people who study and live with them, from Tales from the River during the evening of Sunday 2ndNovember, 7-9pm at the Playhouse Bar. Join the Facebook event here https://www.facebook.com/events/733361170072524/?fref=ts

Registration will be £20/£15 for students, to cover the cost of rooms and lunch.
To register, please email angela.cassidy@gmail.com
For further information and to see the full programme, please see http://scienceinpublic.org/environments

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