This morning I received word that the Marie Curie grant proposal I have been working on over the summer has been accepted! This means that the coming three years*, I will be working at the Catholic University of Leuven, more specifically a the Life Sciences and Society Lab, expertly headed by Prof. I. van Hoyweghen. There, I will be studying how the notion of ecosystem resilience informs, shapes, and is in turn itself shaped in and by, actual environmental management practices. The project description of FosResil is as follows:
Environmental management professionals (EMPs) have a crucial role to play in strengthening ecosystems and mitigating the effects of global warming. Given the fundamental unpredictability of climate change-associated events such as draughts or floods, however, EMPs are increasingly asked to ‘foster ecosystem resilience’, thereby enhancing ecosystems’ capacities to bounce back from, or adapt to, unpredictable environmental stressors.
As a recently emerged environmental policy paradigm, however, ‘resilience’ remains a contested concept. Commentators within sociology and the environmental humanities suggest that ‘fostering resilience’ may in fact preclude political and ethical engagement with the (manmade) stressors on environments, yet these perspectives have not paid empirical attention to resilience in actual environmental management practices. Meanwhile, studies in environmental management point to a concerning lack of comprehensive and empirical studies of the way ‘resilience’ is actually taking shape in environmental management practice.
FosResil is designed to fill these empirical and analytical gaps. By means of a multi-sited ethnography of three pioneering resilience-based initiatives across Western Europe (UK, BE, and NL), FosResil seeks to examine and critically assess the ways in which ‘resilience’ is currently reshaping environmental management practice. Drawing on Science and Technology Studies in particular, it seeks to analyse how ‘resilience’ gives rise to novel forms of knowing, valuing, and managing environments. The first synthetic and comprehensive study of the resilience concept in environmental practice, FosResil seeks to enhance public awareness of environmental management in an age of climate change, foster professional knowledge transfer and exchange, while its pioneering scientific achievement consists of its conceptualization of emerging notions of environmental agency and responsibility as they accompany resilience-in-practice.
The project builds on my research among the judiciary and forensic actors, particularly in its emphasis on everyday practices of knowing and valuing the world. I am over the moon with joy at the prospect of taking my career this crucial step further and further developing important skills along the way. More information on the project, including a project specific website, is soon to follow. For now, follow me on twitter for updates!
*I applied for a grant in the so-called Career Restart Panel after spending a year outside of formal research, and these projects may last up to 36 months.