Fondation Royaumont, Val d’Oise, France 16-17 January 2015
By Michael Northcott, firstname.lastname@example.org
A Franco-British Research Workshop of grant holders from the AHRC’s Care for the Future grant call and LABEX’s (Laboratory of Excellence) grant call ‘Les passes dans le present: histoire, patrimoine, memoire’ was held at the former Cistercian Abbey of Royaumont 20 miles north of Paris in January 2015. The Abbey was built in the thirteenth century and patronised by Louis XIV. It is situated in a large walled enclosure of gardens, water features and stone buildings. Over the centuries the monks instituted some remarkable hydrological features. Continue reading
by Dr Marianna Dudley, University of Bristol. Cross-posted from The Power and the Water: Connecting Pasts with Futures blog
Between cultural and natural heritage
“Fairytale castle”, chateau Chenonceau. Photo: Marianna Dudley.
Chenonceau is a chateau worthy of a fairytale princess. It has turrets and gardens and galleries – and a river running through it. Built between 1514 and 1522 on the site of an old mill, it became the home of Diane de Poitiers, mistress of King Henry II. Diane loved the chateau, and built the bridge over the river. On Henry’s death in 1559, his widow Catherine de Medici demanded that Diane exchange Chenonceau for her chateau Charmont. Catherine built the galleries upon Diane’s bridge, and ruled France as regent from the building. Renaissance intrigues, not fairytales, brought this building to life.
Professor Sian Sullivan, Bath Spa University
PI of Future Pasts
With Mike Hannis (BSU), Angela Impey (SOAS), Chris Low (BSU) and Rick Rohde (Edinburgh)
Perhaps inappropriately for a blog on ‘Debating Time’, I am late in submitting a post to introduce Future Pasts. My excuse is that the invitation to contribute a post was sent when I was living in west Namibia, some distance from internet access – at the settlement in this photo.
Please click on photos to enlarge
This is a place called !Nao-dais in Damara/≠Nū Khoen gowab (language), and Otjerate in oshiHerero. The family of Suro, the Damara woman with whom I have worked on and off for twenty years, have herded livestock at !Nao-dais for decades. Currently they are joined by a Himba pastoralist family from Kaokoveld to the north of this area, who inhabit the cluster of huts to the left of this image. Continue reading
by Dr Lucy Veale, University of Nottingham, cross-posted from the Weather Extremes project blog
AHRC and LABEX – a new partnership
A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to represent the Weather Extremes team at a Franco-British Research Workshop organised by our funders AHRC, and LABEX (Laboratory of Excellence), a similar funder in France. The title of the workshop was ‘Delving back into the past to look into the present and future’ and the main aim was to explore connections between research funded under the AHRC’s Care for the Future theme and LABEX’s ‘Les passes dans le present: histoire, patrimoine, memoire.’ Both initiatives seek to explore representations of the past from multiple perspectives and disciplines, and have shared priorities and commitments. Continue reading
Professor Frank Trentmann, Birkbeck College,
PI, Material Cultures of Energy: Transitions, Disruption, and Everyday Life in the 20th century. The research group consists of Frank Trentmann, Hiroki Shin, Vanessa Taylor, Heather Chappells and Rebecca Wright.
What happens when the lights go out? During a blackout it’s not only light that you lose. Electric cookers, heaters, TV and the radio stop working, and your computers, wifi and mobile phones will probably be off-line. A major part of our life today depends on the constant supply of energy. Cars might still run but traffic lights might not, nor would lifts, ticket machines, ATMs and the tube. Continue reading
Dr Philippa Ryan, Department of Conservation and Scientific Research, The British Museum, Principal Investigator
Philippa sampling a 3,100 year old hearth in a large villa.
Professor Katherine Homewood, Department of Anthropology, UCL, Co-Investigator
Nubian agricultural practices are rapidly changing due to infrastructure development, technological and environmental changes. Our project explores how comparisons of present-day and ancient crop choices can inform on risk management within agricultural strategies of small-scale riparian Nile village settlements. Research is focused on present-day Ernetta island (620km north of Khartoum) and nearby 2nd millennium BC Amara West, which was also located on an island during its occupation. Today, as in the past, islands are important due to their agricultural potential. Continue reading
Professor Michael Northcott, University of Edinburgh
PI of Caring for the Future through Ancestral Time, funded under AHRC Care for the Future: Thinking Forward through the Past
The global spread of a consumer culture, through electronic forms of communication, multinational trade networks, and airplane and shipping containers, creates a culture of instantaneity which changes human perceptions of time. At the same time rituals which used to marked the passage of the years, and linked time’s passing to daily life, are declining. Many of these rituals were associated with the planting, tending and harvesting of crops as determined by the seasons. The culture of instantaneity reflects a growing disconnect between culture and nature, and between consumption and production. Continue reading
Professor Peter Coates, School of Humanities, University of Bristol
PI of The Power and the Water, funded under AHRC Care for the Future: Thinking Forward through the Past
Peter at project partner Northumbrian Water’s Howdon Sewage Plant, Newcastle, on an unseasonably chilly day – even for the northeast – in June (photo: Jill Payne)
One of the places ‘The Power and the Water’ team visited during our gathering on Tyneside in June 2014 was the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, on the river’s Gateshead (south) bank. The exhibit that caught my attention was ‘Near Here’ by Nina Canell, who, a guidebook explains, is ‘fascinated by forces that affect us every day but that we can’t see with our eyes – things like electricity and air. If we can’t see them, how do we know they exist?’ Canell takes materials like cables, steel and water to create sculpture that, according to the Baltic’s press release, gives ‘substance to the intangible’. This strategy renders the invisible visible and brings the seemingly distant closer to us (near here?). The installation ‘Forgetfulness (Dense)’ consisted of a water-filled tank (raised on a frame like a display case) that contained a suspended length of underwater telecommunications cable which bore an uncanny resemblance to an oversized, particularly colourful liquorice all-sort. The combination of power and water appealed to me, as did the severed nature of the cable: a power supply cut off at both ends, disconnected from its source and destination. Continue reading
Georgina on top of Great Dun Fell in a howling snow storm
Professor Georgina Endfield, University of Nottingham
PI of Weather Extremes, funded under AHRC Care for the Future: Thinking Forward through the Past
In 1952, climatologist Gordon Manley suggested that “if a census were taken of common topics of conversation amongst British people, it is very probable that the weather would take first place” (Manley, 1952:13). This statement is probably as true today as it was over sixty years ago, and while in no way being unique in this, it is fair to say that the British have a something of an obsession with the weather.
Yet the weather has arguably become an even more popular topic of conversation in recent years. In part, this is a function of narratives highlighting the apparently looming, apocalyptic climate changes that global society faces, but it may also be a result of rising concern over the impacts of anomalous, ‘extreme’ weather events such as droughts, floods, storm events and unusually high or low temperatures. While social and economic systems have generally evolved to accommodate some deviations from “normal” weather conditions, this is rarely true of extremes. Continue reading