WEBINAR: Diverse Ways of Knowing in Environmental Decision-Making. Environmental Lunchtime Discussion

How might diverse ways of knowing, including indigenous knowledges, the humanities and the arts, be more influential in the environmental decision-making that shapes our world? Ecologist, philosopher and political scientist Fern Wickson talks on the value and challenges of inter- and transdisciplinary approaches to research.

maize, corn, close-up

Photo: Maize diversity. Fern Wickson.

There are myriad ways of experiencing and understanding the world around us, and yet, knowledge arising from structured scientific investigation is often favoured in formal processes of environmental management. In this talk, Fern Wickson will briefly present two recently completed projects (biodiverSEEDy and the Agri/Cultures project) that demonstrate the added value of inter- and transdisciplinary approaches to research. One example being how the learning from these two projects grew into the Seed Cultures Initiative and the creation of the Svalbard Ark - an archive of visual artworks telling stories about cultural connections with seeds, buried deep in a mountain in the Arctic alongside the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. The presentation of these projects specifically notes that despite the richness that came with adopting inter- and trans-disciplinary approaches to research, challenges remained for having the social, cultural and ethical aspects revealed incorporated into the more formal structures of environmental decision-making.

Having now moved from academic research on sustainable agriculture into the intergovernmental management of marine mammals, Wickson will close by highlighting how similar challenges can also be found in this arena. Seeing the persistence of these struggles to have diverse ways of knowing inform environmental management and decision-making, participants in the seminar are invited to share inspiring examples and strategies for influence from their own fields of practice.

About Fern Wickson

Committed to ecological ethics and a politics of socio-ecological care, Fern Wickson has always worked across the science/policy interface, with a specific interest in the integration of environmental science, philosophy, indigenous knowledge, and stakeholder views in the pursuit of sustainable food systems. Before becoming the Scientific Secretary of the North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission (NAMMCO) in 2018, Fern worked as a Research Professor of environmental governance and leader of the transdisciplinary collaborative for Responsible and Sustainable Biotechnoscience (RootS) at GenØk Centre for Biosafety in Tromsø, Norway. She has served as an expert delegate to the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) working group on the diverse conceptualization of values in nature, been a member of the Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board, and is a past President of the international Society for the Study of New and Emerging Technologies (S.Net). She is also a yoga and meditation teacher and runs her own studio – The Peaceful Wild – in her spare time.


About the event series

The OSEH Environmental Lunchtime Discussion series consists of short, 10-15 minute presentations by invited guests, followed by a discussion. We invite speakers from a wide variety of fields, both academic and beyond. The presentations are accessible and are aimed at anyone with an interest in environmental issues. All are welcome.

Tags: Environmental Humanities, HF, IKOS, OSEH, Environmental Studies, Art
Published Apr. 29, 2020 6:21 PM - Last modified May 4, 2020 11:45 AM