How are communities responding to climate crisis, and what can we learn from them?

WEGO coordinator Wendy Harcourt  was interviewed by Erasmus University Rotterdam. Read the full interview.

“We are looking at how communities are responding to climate crisis in order to understand how to link this to a global understanding of resilience”

 

News from CERN: community economies website

Jenny Cameron of Community Economies Research Network (CERN) shared the following news:

A small group have been working on the Community Economies Website – it’s a labour of love done in our spare time.

This website serves a number of functions and one of these is to share 
news and information about community economies activity. To do this the 
latest news is featured on the home page (see  https://www.communityeconomies.org/) and then all news items are in the 
News section (see https://www.communityeconomies.org/news).

We’re still fine-tuning a few things (e.g. making it clear in the News 
section that there is more than what you see and that you need to click 
on each story to read the full item; and we’re working on the images 
that go with each story).

To test our capacity to run regular news items we’ve focused on the 
activities of the core members of the Community Economies Institute 
(these are the people listed on the People page of the website).

But we’re now ready to run more news items (ideally a new story each 
week), and we’d like to include news about the community economies 
activity of CERN members. This might be information about teaching 
community economies, an update on a community economies research 
project, a community economies workshop or opening. If you look at the 
News section you’ll get an idea about the types of activities that are 
being featured.

All you need to do is email jenny.cameron@communityeconomies.org with 
some brief information (and perhaps a link to a website) and an image 
idea (could be a photo or you’ll see we sometimes grab an image from a 
document). Jenny will put the story together and run it by you before 
adding it to the Home page.

Look forward to hearing from CERN members and sharing more information 
about what we’re all “up to”.

Jenny Cameron

CERN Inaugural international community economies conference

With the Handbook of Diverse Economies edited by J.K. Gibson-Graham and Kelly Dombroski coming out in 2020 it seems high time to organize the Inaugural International Community Economies Conference. This conference will offer the opportunity for members of the Community Economies Research Network (CERN) to share their work, discuss common themes of interest and advance a post-capitalist politics.

The conference is organised by the Community Economies Institute with the School of Spatial Planning & Development and the School of Political Science at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. It will take place from

5-7 November 2020 in Thessaloniki, Greece.

The CERN currently has 225 members spread across 27 countries. It is hoped that by locating the conference in Thessaloniki—an historic site of international cultural interchange—many people from across the world will be able to attend. Registration costs will be kept low and there will be a limited number of travel bursaries for those who cannot access institutional conference funds.

The conference will begin on Thursday night with an opening address followed by an interactive poster session and participatory mapping of the CERN story. Friday and Saturday are set aside for paper presentations, panels and workshops organized by CERN members. There will also be sessions open to the public in which connections between community economies research and current concerns are discussed with scholars and activists from Greece and the region. The conference will be followed by an optional day of field visits and walks in Thessaloniki and the surrounding region led by activist researchers. During the conference the Greek translation of Take Back the Economy: An Ethical Guide for Transforming Our Communities (with additional Greek examples) will be launched.

An international organizing committee led by Katherine Gibson, Giorgos Gritzas and Karolos Kavoulakos is being formed. The Community Economies Institute and the University of Thessaloniki will provide organizational support for the conference.

More information about deadlines for submitting papers, panels and workshop proposals will be forthcoming. And keep an eye on the community economies web site for more information: www.communityeconomies.org

Hope to see you there!

Undisciplined Environments goes live

Undisciplined Environments – a platform for political ecology research and activism – has launched today, 1 October 2019

This novel effort is a collaboration between the ENTITLE Collective and the WEGO project, as well as other transnational networks – like the Political Ecology Network (POLLEN).

Undisciplined Environments (UE) aims to become an influential crossroads for activists, researchers, journalists and anyone interested in the mutual imbrications of power, society, culture and ecology. Our commitment is to establish UE as a compelling virtual space to share ideas, stories, concepts, methods and strategies for the elaboration of the knowledges and practices needed to build more emancipatory socionatural worlds.

WEGO members Panagiota KotsilaIlenia Iengo, Irene Leonardelli, Wendy Harcourt and Stefania Barca are on the editorial collective.

 

Feminist community library in Budapest

feminist community library
Photo Alice Owen

This feminist community library in Budapest comes highly rated on WEGO tripadvisor! Antonia Burrows has spent decades collecting second hand books on everything from feminist theories of science to cats (via herstory, black history, poetry…) and transformed this flat into a community library run by volunteers with regular film screenings and discussions ? Meanwhile gender studies has just been banned in Hungary and the Central European University is being forced out of the country  ?

Diverse economies & arts based methods workshop

Wilding at a farm in Wageningen.

A group of fellow thinkers and travellers got together from 8-10 July for a workshop in Wageningen. They discussed their work as it relates to diverse economies and arts-based methods. Among them were WEGO members Chizu Sato, Wendy Harcourt and Nanako Nakamura. The workshop was held at the Centre for Space, Place and Society.

Wendy introducing the exhibition.

The workshop closed with a public art exhibition on  Other (food) + (art) economies are possible! where the group shared some of their individual and collective work in a convivial space with food and drinks and with time for chats with the wider public.

All photos by Wendy Harcourt

WEGO lead panel discussion at European Conference on Politics and Gender

WEGO was out in force at the European Conference on Politics and Gender which ran from 3 – 6 July in Amsterdam.

Wendy Harcourt, Gulay Caglar, Chizu Sato, Constance Dupuis Marlene Gomez and Nanako Nakamura were involved in several panel discussions at the Conference Below are abstracts from some of those panels.

Care and the Commons in Troubling times: confronting whiteness

Led by Constance Dupuis and Wendy Harcourt

Our paper looks at the everyday practice of feminist political ecology as not only practices rooted in one geographical place and culture but also as collective processes that are forming a global community network. We explore how feminist political ecology (FPE) aims to navigate racist structures, gender and class inequalities that determine struggles over rights and resources. Inspired by Donna Haraway’s staying with the trouble, our paper looks at how we confront whiteness in feminist political ecology. We address the ways in which white privilege and colonialism continue to be reproduced and how FPE can engage in critical conversations without centring the white experience.

Analyzing the Politics of the Everyday: A Feminist Political Ecology Perspective

There is ample evidence that neoliberal restructuring has led to precarious living conditions as well as to environmental degradation, both of which negatively affect community well-being worldwide. In response, many alternative initiatives have mushroomed at community level that aim to counter neoliberal policies through changing everyday practices of care and natural resource management. Feminist Political Ecology (FPE) is an approach that analyses these practices by taking into account power relations within different systems of oppression at different scales. With an emphasis on the importance of embodiment, place and scale, FPE aims to unveil the processes through which different actors interact, and the strategies and political mechanisms that community initiatives use to challenge the existing power relations based on exploitation, domination, and conflict. This panel seeks to introduce the theoretical tenets of FPE and to show how FPE contributes to feminist political science. Papers will be analyzing different social movements and initiatives around issues of social and environmental justice, natural resource management and care.

Strengthening communities

Suzanne MacDonald and Rob Snyder from Island Institute are presenting at “Strengthening Communities,” a conference in Aviemore hosted by the Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

The Strengthening Communities Conference Scotland brings together people who are at the heart of community-led development. The inaugural event was held in September 2017 and the second conference took place at the end of May 2019 at the MacDonald Aviemore Resort.

Five years ago, the Island Institute added the banner “Strengthening Communities” to their website. And late last month, Rob found himself being escorted—by a bagpiper, no less—to a keynote speaking engagement at the second “Strengthening Communities Conference” in the Scottish Highlands.

The conversations that took place over four days in Scotland echoed conversations in Maine’s island and coastal communities. The Highlands has a workforce housing crisis, broadband infrastructure is lacking, “depopulation” threatens its vitality, and its communities also are being undermined by a lack of local input into how the ocean is being developed.

A scenic view of an island off Scotland. Photo: Yvonne Thomas

The 2019 conference offered an opportunity to share ideas and experiences on the issues that matter most in community development. Its theme this year was ‘Ionnsachadh is fàs le chèile’, ‘learning and growing together’.

For more information, read Rob’s blog on the Island Institute website

 

 

Orientation week

The group meet for the first time. Photo: WEGO

We welcomed our WEGO ESRs at the Coordinating Institute, ISS for their orientation programme from 10 to 14 September 2018. The group was eager to get to know each other, connect, interact and engage in talks and debates about WEGO and FPE. It was a very good bonding experience.

During this week, the ESRs participated in a 3-day writeshop on how to read and write articles. There were plenary discussions and a film on FPE.

In discussion in Noordeinde Palace gardens. Photo: WEGO

We also organised other exciting and thought provoking sessions. Personal reflections on what brought us to WEGO and our interest in FPE were shared.  We talked about our understanding and experiences of our work and activism.

Discussions were held on the fundamental characteristics of FPE. Dowe encounter FPE through gender and development or personal and professional identity questions? Or is it understanding the operation of power and theorising socio-natures? How do issues of gender and women relate to issues of power, knowledge and subjectivity?

Visiting Scheveningen. Photo: WEGO

We looked at how we want the WEGO clusters and network to develop over the next three years and where we fit in. We talked about how we can work together to create an inclusive, participatory and safe environment; how we can position ourselves in the project, create knowledge and engage in critical debates. We explored the processes that we want to foster and engage in, internally and externally. How do we share and engage in cultural communication – using verbal and non-verbal language?  We looked at the art of communication and how FPE manifests in art and science.

Sharing reflections. Photo: WEGO

We ended by sharing reflections on the orientation week and looking forward to continuing the interactions and debates.

 

Photo gallery

Introducing WEGO-ITN

Well-being, Ecology, Gender and cOmmunity – Innovative Training Network

1 January 2018 to 31 January 2022

How is gender linked to environmental problems and developmental issues? How are feminist political ecologists working with local communities around the world? How can their activities inform sustainable development policy debates?

With funding by the European Union the Horizon 2020 Marie Sklodowska – Curie WEGO network made up of 20 institutions will host 15 Ph.D researchers creating the first European ITN on Feminist Political Ecology (FPE).

As the first international feminist political ecology research network of its kind, WEGO-ITN aspires to tackle socio-ecological challenges linked to policy agendas. This innovative and path-breaking project will help local communities to build resilient, equitable and sustainable futures. The goal of WEGO-ITN is to provide research that will demonstrate to policy makers how communities actively sustain and care for their environment and community well-being. Ultimately, WEGO will collectively provide important guides to strategies of resilience and sustainability that are required for meeting the SDGs.

The WEGO-ITN is made up of scholar-activists working on feminist political ecology from ten institutions in six European Union countries: Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom and ten institutions from eight countries for training and secondments: Australia, India, Indonesia, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal, Uruguay and USA.

On March 8th 2018 students, staff and policy makers from around the Netherlands joined international guests from Uruguay, Norway, UK, USA, Germany, France, Italy and Australia in launching this innovative research project.