WEGO-ITN successfully concluded several activities in 2020 despite the serious challenges due to COVID-19 lockdowns. After March 2020 WEGO-ITN networking activities – committee meetings, training, planning meetings, collaborative conference organizing, and presentations – shifted to online working. WEGO-ITN used web platforms Zoom and Microsoft teams as well as WhatsApp to communicate regularly through bi-monthly WEGO zoom calls, and almost daily WhatsApp messaging. The ESRs had to revise most of their projects as fieldwork and secondments were cut short. Each ESR was encouraged to reflect on the implications of COVID-19 on their research and the communities involved. We record below the scientific progress of WEGO-ITN online in 2020.
FPE and research in practice The original proposal in the DoA was for WEGO-ITN to hold a 2nd training lab in Montevideo, Uruguay hosted by WEGO-ITN partner Defensoría del Vecino de Montevideo in March 2020. After discussions among the network, it was decided for climate-friendly and financial reasons, to shift the training lab location to Bolsena, Italy hosted by WEGO-ITN partner Punti di Vista (PdV), in June 2020. These plans shifted again with the pandemic. The training was held online with the President of PdV, who is a trained computer technician who ensured the technical coordination. The programme was set by the planning committee made up of the Work package leaders, ESRs, and the PdV coordinator and was held on Zoom. All members of the consortia joined the training sessions, planned over six days to allow for different geographical and time locations.
Three days were dedicated to mini presentations by the ESRs on their research projects and 2 days of preparatory sessions. As part of the training, the ESRs self-organized into five thematic groups on knowledge, commoning, engagement, care, and subjectivities and prerecorded their talks which were held for two days before the training. The six-day training lab covered the following topics: day 1: FPE ethical research practice, networking, and community, day 2: from fieldwork and community engagement to writing up academic papers, day 3: where are we now on FPE, what has changed, how will we move forward?, day 4: Emerging themes, day 5: Review of the training – moving forward. Day 6 was devoted to Ethics, discussing the feedback from the EC and deciding on the next steps. As well as attending and leading the workshops during the training, the ESRs organized two (elective) creative sessions. The ESRs were given feedback on their research projects in small workshops sessions and the plenary sessions co-organized by the supervisors, mentors, and ESRs on the topics of the day were attended by all the members of the consortia. A film on highlights of the training was made by ESRs and is available on the WEGO-ITN website.
WEGO-ITN Coordinator visits
In February 2020, the Coordinator (using her personal research funds) visited Pune and Chennai in India, Sydney, Australia, and Montevideo, Uruguay when four ESRs were doing their fieldwork and secondments in the respective places. Besides using her visit to discuss with the ESRs their fieldwork progress, the visit also strengthened the collaboration with WEGO-ITN partners. The Coordinator visited the Society for Promoting Participative Ecosystem Management, in Pune, and Defensoría del Vecino de Montevideo in Montevideo. In Sydney, the Coordinator was present when the ESR gave a paper on her fieldwork to the Community Economies Research Network at the University of Western Sydney. The Coordinator gave talks at the University of Pune, University of Montevideo, and Chennai Institute of Technology on WEGO-ITN themes: feminist political ecology as praxis, Ecofeminism Changing technologies, and Changing naturecultures. The Coordinator and ESRs have written a reflection piece on the WEGO-ITN website based on these visits.
Weekly/ Fortnightly WEGO-ITN online meetings on Zoom
The impact of COVID-19 on the WEGO-ITN research and collaborative plans, as indicated earlier, was huge. To keep up morale and ensuring ESRs could have the support from the consortia WEGO-ITN started weekly meetings on Zoom from March 2020 to July 2020 with a summer break during August and resumed bi-weekly from September to December 2020. The meetings addressed the concerns and impacts of the ESRs projects and the collaborative research activities. The meetings also looked both at the well-being of ESRs and the changes required for individual and networking activities (secondments, fieldwork, training lab activities, research projects, social media reporting, participation in conferences and workshops, ethics, and mid-term review feedback).
Planning for Palgrave Current Contours of FPE Edited book and Special Forum issue on FPE for Journal of Peasant Studies and Frontiers in Human Dynamics
Since September 2020, the consortia have been planning two collaborative publications, one to be published by the ‘Journal of Peasant Studies’, as a special forum on Feminist Political Ecology (at the invitation of the Editor in Chief), and the second as an edited collection on FPE for the ‘Gender, development and social change’, Palgrave series (edited by the WEGO-ITN coordinator). The articles and chapters are based on the ESRs research and the ongoing discussions in the network related to care, commoning, degrowth, extractivism, water, health, food sovereignty, and decoloniality. Both publications will be co-produced by the ESRs together with the supervisors. In addition, Andrea Nightingale, chief editor of the journal ‘Frontiers in Human dynamics’, also invited ESR’s to feature their work in a special issue on FPE.
Planning for the FPE dialogues in 2021
Since September 2020, the consortia have been planning for 5 FPE dialogues that will take place mid to late 2021, pending COVID-19 measures. The ESRs are leading country-based dialogues in Spain, The Netherlands, Germany, Italy, and the UK. The working themes of each for the FPE dialogues which will reach out to policymakers in each area reflect the research projects embedded in WP2 to WP4 and range in topics from aging, water, communities, extractivism, and food.
The FPE dialogue in The Netherlands will be held at Erasmus University Rotterdam Pavillion showcasing the WEGO-ITN project reaching out to Dutch and EU communities working on green economy and sustainability.
Online learning resources on Feminist Political Ecology
On the WEGO-ITN website, under online learning section, lectures, Power Point Presentations, and podcasts by supervisors on FPE themes have been uploaded as well as webinars presented by the ESRs. The consortia have published course materials that were prepared by the WEGO-ITN supervisors and attended by the ESRs on the summer schools and these were adapted and published for a wider audience on the WEGO-ITN website. The MOOC that was planned for 2020 is being rescheduled to the second-half 2021. The 2nd training lab presentations are posted on Vimeo and WEGO-ITN website as part of WEGO-ITN online learning resources.
The 8th International Degrowth Conference on ‘caring communities for radical change’ hosted by ISS
Members of WEGO-ITN have been holding weekly meetings since May 2020 to plan for the 8th international degrowth conference which will take place the 24-28 August 2021 in The Hague. At the event, WEGO-ITN will hold two plenaries, several workshops, and exhibitions on FPE.