In the fall of 2022, University of Stavanger welcomed 12 guest researchers and artists from across the world to engage with each other and the UiS community in a semester-long exploration of the meanings of green transitions. Each fellow gave a talk to present their project and contributed to an international conference on green transitions.
15 August - 15 September 2022
Marianna Dudley is a historian at the University of Bristol. Her work explores environmental change and its impacts on communities, places, and politics in modern Britain. The rise of renewable energy is a current focus, and she is writing a history of wind energy.
The transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy is a key step towards reducing global carbon emissions, and it is already underway. Wind energy in particular is a tested, reliable, and increasingly cheap way to produce electricity. Much of the discourse around renewables is focused on their future potential, but these are technologies already in use, with substantial histories. During my Green Transitions Fellowship, I’ll be exploring how historical understanding of wind energy (and other renewables) can inform the ‘clean’ energy transition. I will be taking a critical look at how new energy infrastructure has been introduced into historical energy landscapes, and thinking about turbines as a generative presence – producing not just electricity, but also contributing to a ‘sense of place’, to locally-forged identities, and to ideas of environment, activism, protest, and politics.
Marianna Dudley presented her project to University of Stavanger in a research talk on Wednesday 24 August 2022. She has written about her experiences as a Fellow on the Greenhouse Green Transitions Fellows blog.
Dr Giulia Champion is a Research Assistant for projects on Ecological Belongings and Ecological Reparation in the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies at the University of Warwick and a Research Assistant for a project on Scottish Shores at Edinburgh Napier University. She currently works on the Blue Humanities and Deep-Water Extractivism.
In June 2021, the International Seabed Authority was given two years to create a legal framework for deep-sea mining (DSM). My contribution proposes to focus on the role of the ocean in envisioning Green Transitions by investigating how DSM has become central to the green automotive industry transition. DSM proponents claim it would “ethically” and “sustainably” source key metals necessary for electric car batteries and other “green” technologies. I explore how cultural productions can help us address these difficult and urgent issues by looking comparatively at a Brazilian novel by Aline Valek, As águas-vivas não sabem de si (2016), and the experimental hip-hop/rap group clipping.’s song “The Deep” (2017). I suggest that by materialising the depth, more eco-systemic relations to the ocean can be fostered, shifting current oceanic depictions from an inert resource for exploitation to an entity pulsing with life, with which we are deeply entangled.
Giulia Champion presented her project to University of Stavanger in a research talk on Wednesday 31 August 2022. She has written about her experiences as a Fellow on the Greenhouse Green Transitions Fellows blog.
Hans Baumann is a Swiss-American artist based in Los Angeles. Drawing from his background in human geography and landscape architecture, his research-based practice reflects upon ecological collapse, the dynamics of climate change, and the decolonization of American land.
Titled “Lithospheric Transference (Norge),” Baumann will produce a short film that frames Stavanger as the center of the Nordic petro-economy, examining how the wealth generated by fossil capitalism manifests itself in the city. Shot over the course of his one-month residency, the film will document a variety of terrains found in and around Stavanger, looking to emphasize the social and cultural objects, institutions and actions that are rendered possible through fossil fuel extraction in Norway. In doing so, Baumann hopes to eschew predictable moralizing and provide the University’s community with a visual document that examines the complex ethics of “green transitions” and foregrounds the role of oil in realizing a post-fossil future.
Hans Baumann presented his project to University of Stavanger in a research talk on Wednesday 7 September 2022.
15 September - 15 October 2022
The history of greenhouse farming in China
Yandong is a PhD student at the University of Washington's Department of Cinema and Media Studies and the STSS program. He works at the intersections of media theory, design, material culture, and ecoculture.
In China, the “green revolution” has been closely associated with “red revolution” since 1949. The science and technology of agriculture have always been shaped by socialist values. However, I would like to complicate the existing scholarships on China’s agriculture and the environment by introducing critical thinking on ideas of “environmental management”, “efficiency”, and “automation”. China’s ambitious goal of achieving “carbon neutrality” by 2060 has been accompanied by numerous frictions in its societal practice. Understanding the current and potential problems of “green transition” requires looking back in history. This project will invest in the history of greenhouse design in China and its intersections with media theory and energy humanities.
Yandong Li presented his project to University of Stavanger in a research talk on Wednesday 21 September 2022.
Comedy and Humor as a Contribution to Green Transitions
Linda M. Hess is a senior lecturer and postdoctoral researcher in American Studies at the University of Augsburg, Germany. She is the author of Queer Aging in North American Fiction (2019). Her current research focuses on ideas of grievable nature and on intersections of humor studies and environmental literature/film.
As a researcher in the field of literary and cultural studies, I am convinced that stories play a crucial role in green transitions because of their ability to shape environmental awareness as well as relations of humans to the more-than-human world, but also to critically question that same awareness and those relations. While most narratives about climate change are dystopian or cautionary tales, recently, comedy has gained more attention as potential expressions of environmental concerns. As a Greenhouse fellow, I will research the role comedy and humor can play and have played in environmental storytelling. Building on the perspectives of researchers who have previously followed this path (Meeker 1974, Seymour 2018), I will trace ways in which modes of comedy can change our perspective on human relations to the environment and consider their inherent potential to contribute to green transitions.
Linda M. Hess presented her project to University of Stavanger in a research talk on Wednesday 28 September 2022.
Shifting temporalities: Time and the everyday lived experiences of green transitions
Jenny Pickerill is a Professor of Environmental Geography at Sheffield University, England. Her research focuses on inspiring grassroots solutions to environmental problems and in hopeful and positive ways in which we can change social practices. She has published books and articles on themes around eco-housing, eco-communities, social justice and environmentalism.
Jenny will use the residency to explore how time and temporalities are understood and experienced, and what this reveals about the possibilities and challenges of green transitions. By focusing on the concept of time, we can examine the very notion of change, of moving forward, of dynamism and of seeking transition to other ways of being. She will explore this through the experimental spaces of eco-communities. Eco-communities are collective and collaborative projects that seek to balance human with environmental needs. This project asks three research questions: (a) how are different temporalities experienced, articulated and shared in eco-communities? (b) what do these temporalities reveal about the possibilities and challenges of green transitions?, and (c) who is included and excluded in these different temporalities? These questions would be explored through three key temporalities: (1) the time of the everyday, (2) the time of life, and (3) the time of transition.
Jenny Pickerill presented her project to University of Stavanger in a research talk on Wednesday 5 October 2022.
15 October- 15 November 2022
Unseasonable: Climate Arrhythmias in Global Literature
Sarah Dimick is an Assistant Professor of English at Harvard University. Her research, based in Anglophone literatures of the 20th and 21st centuries, focuses on literary portrayals of climate change and environmental justice.
As a Green Transition Fellow, I will focus on phenological transitions—transitions in the timing of blooming, melting, migratory arrivals, and environmental events driven by climatic conditions. As botanists, neighborhood clubs, and schoolchildren submit observations of plant and animal activity, they generate data about the pace of local climatic change, crucial information for predicting crop failures or local extinctions. However, I suggest that these observational practices also allow individuals and communities to attune themselves to the new rhythms of the anthropogenic climate. The concept of a green transition is often understood in terms of technological advances, political mobilization, or economic adjustments, but these next decades of transition also require serious emotional shifts. In this sense, repeated phenological observations begin to function as ritual. They allow observers to adjust to a warmer world not via the temporalities of crisis bur rather through the small-scale temporalities of care and close attention.
Sarah Dimick presented her project to University of Stavanger in a research talk on Wednesday 26 October 2022.
Histories of energy transitions for unnatural resources
Sarah S. Elkind is a historian of urban pollution, politics, and infrastructure, President of the American Society for Environmental History, and a Women’s Environmental History Network co-founder. Her Green Transitions project is part of her global history of conservation. She holds a PhD in History from the University of Michigan.
At the Greenhouse, Sarah Elkind will explore environmental justice and green transitions in the global history of energy. She will ask how the harms and benefits of energy production reflect social, economic, and political power, and if transitions to greener energy can be made more just.
Pollution from energy production and transmission has historically concentrated in communities of poor, minority and other disempowered groups. Market forces, legacies of colonization, and racial or ethnic discrimination all shape government and business policies. Environmental regulations often clean some neighborhoods by concentrating pollution in others. Whatever the cause, energy transitions that ignore inequity and economic redistribution erect real barriers to change. Studying past energy transitions may suggest a path towards greener energy that avoids these barriers by examining who participates, benefits from or is harmed by green transitions, and how might these transitions be made more equitable.
Sarah Elkind presented her project to University of Stavanger in a research talk on Wednesday 02 November 2022.
Landscape Literacy: Weaving as Practice-Based Research
I am an artist, researcher, and educator whose work is informed by my curiosity and critical engagements with human interactions in their environments: natural, cultural, and constructed. My interdisciplinary practice draws from the fields of political ecology, geohumanities, critical human geography, and queer theory, while primarily working with fibres, textiles, sound, and installation.
Using an arts and practice-based research method, this project investigates the use of natural materials as they relate to climate justice and connection to land-base. Specifically, I connect my work as an artist to environmental awareness through the practice of weaving. Weavers once held knowledge about natural cycles and seasons, knowing when to gather fibres and how to intervene in their environments to increase yields and protect plants from over-harvesting. This gave them a deep land-based knowledge that also demonstrated a sophisticated understanding of biology, ecology, and technologies. Situating weaving as a form of land-based research, I suggest that ancient skills and cultural practices have the potential to provide models for green transitions through developing what I have termed a landscape literacy.
Estraven Lupino-Smith presented their project to University of Stavanger in a research talk on Wednesday 9 November 2022.
15 November- 15 December 2022
What does it mean to envision ‘sustainable futures’, specifically, via the color green?
Susanne Ferwerda is a lecturer in Comparative Literature at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. Her research brings together art and literature from Europe and Oceania in order to question normative approaches to human-ocean relationships. She pays particular attention to how colonial oceanic pasts and presents inform our imagination of oceanic futures.
This project looks into the centrality of green as a color to symbolize the world’s transition to more sustainable ecologies. What does it mean to envision ‘sustainable futures’ via the color green? If we look at the larger spectrum of greens what, for instance, happens when we consider green via ‘avocado green’ and its connections to both the rise of environmental consumerism in the 1970s as well as the resistance of the millennial generation to increased precarity via their supposed overconsumption of avocado-on-toast? Or ‘absinthe’ and its poisonous but countercultural connections? This project goes beyond simplistic interpretations of green transitions as homogenous, only starting from a single color. We will walk around Stavanger to engage with the varieties of greens we encounter and create a ‘new green’ for future earthly survival. What kind of stories can our future greens tell?
Susanne Ferwerda presented her project to University of Stavanger in a research talk on Wednesday 23 November 2022.
Tipping Points: Reindeer on the Move
Nancy Langston is Distinguished Professor of Environmental History at Michigan Technological University. In 2021, she was awarded the Distinguished Scholar Award from American Society for Environmental History, and she is author of five books, most recently Climate Ghosts: Migratory Species in the Anthropocene (Brandeis University Press. 2021).
Langston’s Tipping Points project uses visual arts to grapple with the unsettling contradictions of climate change and just transitions. Her paintings convey changes primarily in cold regions, where the waters are rising, forests are dying, fire cycles are changing, wildlife is vanishing, and people are struggling. But these are the places that we still love, places that remain beautiful even as they undergo massive transformations. In Stavanger, Langston will focus on a section of the project titled “Reindeer on the Move,” which examines wildlife translocations—particularly assisted colonization--as a controversial tool for a green transition. Moving wildlife about the world has always involved questions of power, social relations, and visions of a desired future. Langston’s goal for this project is to engage viewers in contemplating what kind of world we will bequeath to future generations. How will they look back at traces from our snowy world?
Website: Nancy Langston
Website: Tipping Points: Ice and Snow
Nancy Langston presented her project to University of Stavanger in a research talk on Wednesday 30 November 2022.
Green transitions from below
Tarini's interest in the environment began early, as a response to her experiences and supported by her primary education. Tarini studied Environmental Policy at Colby College and encountered several ecological and social movements on the International Honors Program. Tarini’s career has focused visual anthropology from an ecological lens, documenting contamination and human-forest relationships.
Through my experiences with work on environmental justice, it is my belief that the green transition must suit those who are most marginalized, even if it has to address aspirations for a comfortable life. Daily power cuts cannot enable someone’s belief in green transitions towards renewable energy. How can a transition become accessible across social class?
In this project, I will co-write a series of short fictional stories about peoples’ lived experiences in three-four locations across India. My belief is that shared lived experiences create empathy for diverse people. The project is a set of humorous and engaging stories based on data and footage collected over time. As I put my observations into a speculative format, I will engage in an exercise to help the reader imagine the green transition’s potential impact on the lives of the most marginalized, these encounters will reveal cracks, corners and margins that are actually quite large.
Tarini Manchanda presented her project to University of Stavanger in a research talk on Wednesday 7 December 2022.