Gjesteforelesning med Kjetil Fallan: Norwegian Wood: Økologiens estetikk i norsk designhistorie

I samarbeid med Vitenfabrikken i Sandnes arrangerer The Greenhouse gjesteforelesning  om økologi og norsk designhistorie med professor Kjetil Fallan, Universitetet i Oslo. Forelesningen vil holdes på norsk. Arrangementet finner sted på Vitenfabrikken tirsdag 24. april kl. 19:00-20:30. Gratis inngang, alle er velkomne.

Hvordan oppstod økologisk design i Norge? Hvordan møttes den gryende miljøbevegelsen og den stadig pågående kampen for designreform, og hvilke følger fikk det? Forståelsen av samspillet mellom våre naturlige og våre materielle omgivelser forandret seg radikalt i løpet av 1960- og 1970-tallet, formet bl.a. av økt miljøbevissthet, konsumkritikk, kulturradikalisme, arkitekturvern, og designaktivisme. Designernes og arkitektenes fremtids- og teknologioptimisme slo sprekker og ble erstattet dels av dystopiske visjoner, dels av naturromantiserende idealisme. Formfullendte enkeltmøbler i eksotiske treslag som teak og mahogny vek plassen for snusfornuftige systemmøbler i ”kortreiste” materialer som bjørk og furu. Heri finnes kimen til økologiske og bærekraftige tilnærminger til design. Bli med på en vandring gjennom de dype norske skoger og bli kjent med apokalyptiske arkitekter og moralske møbler.

Kjetil Fallan er professor i designhistorie ved Universitetet i Oslo. Hans seneste bok er Designing Modern Norway: A History of Design Discourse (London & New York: Routledge, 2017). Fallan leder for tiden prosjektet “Back to the Sustainable Future: Visions of Sustainability in the History of Design,” finansiert av Norges forskningsråd.

Announcing the 2018 Greenhouse Fellows

It is with great pleasure that we can now announce the launch of the Greenhouse Fellows Program and the first two fellows: Dr. Katie Ritson (Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, Munich, Germany) and associate professor Dr. Lisa Swanstrom (University of Utah, USA). We aim to have annual calls for short-term guest researcher stays through the Greenhouse Fellow Programs, stay tuned for more information.

Through a call from the University of Stavanger on the occasion of the opening of the new campus hotel Ydalir, we have secured funding for the 2018 Greenhouse Fellows to visit Stavanger in May-June. Dolly Jørgensen nominated Ritson and Eric D. Rasmussen nominated Swanstrom. Both Fellows will get the opportunity to present their research at Greenhouse events.

Katie Ritson is managing editor at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich. She studied German, Russian, and Scandinavian languages at the University of Cambridge and at the Ludwig Maximilian University Munich, and received her doctoral degree in Scandinavian Studies and Comparative Literature from LMU Munich in 2016. She is currently serves on the advisory board of the European Association for the Study of Culture, Literature, and the Environment (EASCLE) and is a member of ENSCAN (Ecocritical Network for Scandinavian Studies) and the ESEH (European Society for Environmental History).

She spent some time as a guest researcher at UiS in 2014 and is looking forward to returning in 2018!

Katie will be using her time at UiS to finalise the manuscript of her book Shifting Sands of the North Sea Lowlands: Literary and Historical Imaginaries to be published by Routledge. The book is born out of the doctoral dissertation that she defended in 2016, and shows how the fragile landscapes around the North Sea have served as bellwethers for environmental concern both now and in the recent past. Shifting Sands explores literary sources drawn from the countries around the North Sea from the mid-nineteenth century onwards, taking them out of their established national and cultural philological contexts and reframing them in the light of human concern with fast-changing and hazardous environments.

Elizabeth (Lisa) Swanstrom is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Utah.  She also serves as a Co-Editor and “Critical Ecologies” Thread Editor of the electronic book review and as a Co-Editor of Science Fiction Studies.  Her research and teaching interests include science fiction, media theory, and the digital & environmental humanities. Her first book, Animal, Vegetable, Digital: Experiments in New Media Aesthetics and Environmental Poetics, was published in 2016 by the University of Alabama Press and received the Elizabeth Agee Prize for outstanding scholarship in the field of American literary studies. She is committed to the notion that digital art and electronic literature can provide opportunities for experiencing human-environmental contingency, for demonstrating the human body’s coextension with the environment, for aiding in conservation practices, and for expressing the agency of natural spaces. Before joining the English Department at University of Utah, she was assistant professor at Florida Atlantic University, a postdoctoral research fellow at Umeå University’s HUMlab in northern Sweden, and the Florence Levy Kay Fellow in the Digital Humanities in the English Department at Brandeis University in Massachusetts. She earned her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

During her stay in Stavanger, Lisa will be working on her current book project, “Organic Code, the Natural Syntax of Artificial Signs.” She is examining how early science fiction (1818-1917) was wholly fascinated with natural history, especially in terms of the pathways that evolution via natural selection might take in the future, as well as how scientific practice might shepherd its trajectory. With Golden Age science fiction, however, as well as the subsequent pulp explosion of the 1950s and the New Wave of the 1960s, a new interest in computation emerged. This shift in scope is well documented, but the residue of influence that each leaves on the other is not. Her project considers the reciprocal relationship between computational and natural histories, particularly the points of contact that occur between artificially constructed languages of computation and natural sign systems.


Anthropocene Romanticism: Ecopoetics in the ‘light of things’

On Monday, 12 March 2018, Professor Kate Rigby from Bath Spa University, UK and Monash University, Australia, will give an open lecture “Anthropocene Romanticism: Ecopoetics in the ‘light of things'” in the Greenhouse speaker series. We will be in Hulda Garborgs hus room R-218, 12:30-14:00.

Professor Kate Rigby FAHA is Director of the Research Centre for Environmental Humanities at Bath Spa University and Adjunct Professor at Monash University (Melbourne). Her research lies at the intersection of environmental literary, philosophical, historical and religious studies, with a specialist interest in European Romanticism, ecopoetics, and eco-catastrophe. She is Senior Editor of the journal Philosophy Activism Nature, co-editor of the University Press of Virginia series, Under the Sign of Nature, and her books include Topographies of the Sacred: The Poetics of Place in European Romanticism (2004), Ecocritical Theory: New European Approaches (co-edited, 2011) and Dancing with Disaster: Environmental Histories, Narratives, and Ethics for Perilous Times (2015). A key researcher with the Humanities for the Environment Mellon Australia-Pacific Observatory, she was the inaugural President of the Association for the Study of Literature, Environment and Culture (Australia-New Zealand), and the founding Director of the Australia-Pacific Forum on Religion and Ecology.

Here is an abstract of the lecture:

This paper responds ecocritically to the invitation issued by Wordsworth’s poem “The Tables Turned” to “come forth into the light of things”: an invitation, I argue, that repays reconsideration in relation to contemporary “thing” theories; and one that has acquired a new cogency in light of the socio-ecological imperilment of so many of the particular things that co-constitute the earth’s dwindling biosphere in the calamitous era, problematically dubbed ‘the Anthropocene’. Drawing in particular on the speculative realism of Steven Shaviro, in conjunction with Jane Bennett’s vital materialism and Douglas Christie’s contemplative ecology, I advocate a “contemplative ecopoetics” of things that is attentive both to the ungraspable singularity of particulars and to their constitutive interconnectivities.

The paper emerges from my current book project, Anthropocene Romanticism: Poetry/Ecology/Decolonisation (Bloomsbury, forthcoming 2019), which returns to Romanticism in the horizon of current Anthropocene debates. The book sets out to counter what I take to be reductive critiques of Romanticism by demonstrating the continuing significance (at once aesthetic, ethico-political and pragmatic) of the ecopoetic arts of resistance/recollection/reconnection/recalibration that were first practiced and theorised by British and German writers of the Romantic period at the onset of fossil-fuelled industrialisation and in the face of new forms of colonisation of non-dominant peoples and beyond-human nature. Discussing also the work of a number of modern and contemporary poets from North America and Australia, I consider what it might mean to creatively re-inherit Romanticism in crafting decolonising practices of sympoiesis.

Environmental Archeology with Phil Buckland

Phil Buckland will give a lecture “Understanding past environments through digital environmental archaeology” on Monday, February 26 from 13-15, in R-218, Hulda Garborgs hus, University of Stavanger, in the Greenhouse speaker series. All are welcome!

Environmental archaeology deals with the reconstruction of past environments and climates through the interpretation of proxy indicators such as fossil plant and insect remains. Most often, these reconstructions take the form of a written narrative, describing the past in terms of equivalent modern or historical landscape components or anthropogenic environments. However, there are always data behind these narratives, and quantitative reconstructions, using simple statistics and graphics to summarise the key aspects of the implications of the fossils are common in both environmental archaeology and its more natural science orientated cousin Quaternary science. When these raw data are collated into large databases, the possibilities for making large-scale, inter-site and inter-subject inferences and comparisons become considerable. Similarly, the challenges of making intuitive data exploration systems and visualizations interfaces grow massively. This presentation will explain all of the above, and present some ongoing work on research data infrastructures for environmental archaeology and Quaternary Science. It will also present some interesting developments in the use of the semantic web to link these data to information as diverse as Icelandic sagas and land ownership records, in an attempt to provide tools for a more holistic interrogation of the past. This is digital environmental archaeology.

Phil Buckland is associate professor of archaeology at Umeå University, where he is the director of The Environmental Archaeology Lab (MAL). He also runs the Strategic Environmental Archaeology Database (SEAD) project, a national and international research infrastructure for data from the application of scientific methods in archaeology.

Earlier on the same day, 9:00-11:30, Buckland will also hold a workshop at the Archaeology Museum (room 123), titled “The Strategic Environmental Archaeology Database as a tool for data management and analysis in environmental archaeology.” Contact Kristin Armstrong Oma (kristin.a.oma@uis.no) if you would be interested in participating.

UiS Auditorium podcast on environmental humanities

In September 2017, Finn Arne Jørgensen and Dolly Jørgensen participated in the UiS Auditorium podcast series with a conversation about environmental humanities. You can find the whole podcast here: http://nettop.guru/wordpress/auditorium-uis-28-september-2017/

I hovedsak er det ingeniører og teknikere som har forsket på klima- og miljø-utfordringer. Men i september lanserte professorene Finn Arne Jørgensen og Dolly Jørgensen The Greenhouse, et prosjekt for humanistisk miljøforskning ved UIS. Hva kan en litteraturviter eller filosof bidra med i miljøforskningen? Blant annet kan de endre fortellingen om oss selv og avsløre grunnleggende holdninger som gjør det mulig å drive miljøfiendtlig politikk. Espen Reiss Mathiesen i samtale med miljøhistorikerne Finn og Dolly Jørgensen ved Fakultetet for utdanningsvitenskap og humaniora ved UIS.

Anthropocene Art? Guest lecture with Katja Kwastek

On January 18, 2018, from 13:30-14:30, The Greenhouse arranges a guest lecture with Katja Kwastek at Stavanger Art Museum.

This talk will discuss works of contemporary art which strive to disentangle and make graspable the complex interrelations of environmental, social, and technological processes of what has been called the Anthropocene, to denote the geological epoch in which humans have started leaving irreversible traces on our planet. Artists to be discussed are Femke Herregraven, Angela Melitopoulos, Mark Dion, and Hito Steyerl, all of whom work with forms of technological media to make social and environmental commentary. The talk will be given in English.

Katja Kwastek is professor of modern and contemporary art at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. For more information, see http://www.kwastek.de/

The lecture is arranged in partnership with Stavanger Art Museum.

Putting the human into a sustainable campus

Finn Arne and Dolly Jørgensen, as founders of The Greenhouse, presented the opening talk at a miniseminar on Sustainable Campus Development put together by Statsbygg (the owner of campus buildings) and the UiS Forskningsnettverket for miljøvennlig energi (Research Network for Alternative Energy). Their talk stressed that we need to have three things to make a successful sustainable campus initiative:

  • Lesbarhet (legibility)
  • Grønn medborgerskap (green citizenship)
  • Medskapelse (co-creation)

The legibility part has to do with how environmental actions, goals, and situations are visualized for campus users, and how those users read and understand the visualizations. Green citizenship has to do with giving the people on campus the ability to make environmentally-friendly choices and creating a culture of environmental awareness on campus. Finally, co-creation is about working the initiative from the bottom up so that students and employees are empowered and have ownership of the activities.

Most of the other presenters stressed the technological and built aspects of campus, so it was good to start things off with a humanities angle.

This miniseminar was just a baby step on the way to creating a sustainable campus initiative here at UiS, but The Greenhouse is there to help the initiative walk the right way! The write-up by a journalist who attended the workshop highlighted the Jørgensens’ humanistic contribution, so the message that humans, not just technologies, are integral to a sustainable campus is getting out there.

Greenhouse at Fagdag 2017

At Fagdag 2017 on the UiS Campus on November 14th, a number of Greenhouse participants presented their research for more than 450 teachers. The most environmental humanities-related were Dolly Jørgensen, who presented on “Da pingvinene kom til Norge: Den norske imperialismens miljøhistorie” and Frode Skarstein who talked about “Digitale hjelpemidler i naturfagundervisning.”


In addition, Finn Arne Jørgensen presented on “Hvordan lese en million bøker: Nye historiske forsknings metoder i en digital tidsalder,” Eva Jakobsson discussed “Elise Ottesen Jenssen – Seksualopplyseren fra Sandnes” and Benedikt Jager talked about “Welcome non-reader. Lydboken som fenomen og utfordring.” Maybe next year we’ll have a full environmental humanities theme here?

Lecture: Libby Robin, Environmental Humanities and Climate Change

The Greenhouse lecture series will continue November 22, 14:00-15:30, in Hulda Garborgs hus R-354 with the lecture:

Environmental Humanities and Climate Change by Professor Libby Robin


The task of reconceptualising planetary change for the human imagination calls on a wide range of disciplinary wisdom. The Environmental Humanities is not so much a new discipline or method, as a fresh combination of humanistic perspectives. Since the 1970s a range of humanities sub-fields, such as environmental philosophy, environmental history, ecocriticism, cultural geography and environmental anthropology have explored the relations between people and environments. Environmental humanities extend the idea of the human within the transdisciplinary mode of environmental studies. They also engage with the ethical and justice dimensions of environmental change, including climate change. Bishop Desmond Tutu has described climate change as the greatest human rights issue of our times.

Environmental humanities projects often demand collaborations between researchers with many different backgrounds, including natural sciences, arts and creative practitioners beyond the academy, particularly in relation to increasing concerns about global warming and climate change in the 21st century. The talk will consider some of the projects that imagine planetary futures in new ways, deploying environmental humanities collaborations including museums and art practice. Paying attention to the history of environmental changes over time can help explore changing power relations between ‘experts’ and local communities, and map the ways different disciplines and institutions speak for the future as we try to understand humans geologically and other life forms ethically in times of rapid global change.

Libby Robin is a historian of science and the environment. She is Professor in the Fenner School of Environment and Society at the Australian National University, Canberra. She is co-convenor (with Thom van Dooren) of the Australian Environmental Humanities Hub (www.aehhub.org), and has worked extensively with museums in Australia, Sweden and Germany. She was elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities in 2013. Her recent books include The Future of Nature: Documents of Global Change (Yale 2013, with Sverker Sörlin and Paul Warde), and Curating the Future: Museums, Communities and Climate Change (Routledge 2017, with Jennifer Newell and Kirsten Wehner). Her next book, The Environment: A History (with Paul Warde and Sverker Sörlin), will be published by Johns Hopkins University Press in 2018.