Reducing Academic Flight Symposium

participants in the room – twice as many again out there online

The Reducing Academic Flight workshop surpassed expectations by a long way. We knew we had a good bunch of speakers, but the range of talks was broader, and more apposite than could be anticipated. They ranged from hitting hard with the fundamental ethical trouble of flight – as banal evil (Johan Gardebo), indirect but real violence (Joseph Nevins) and key to making the climate emergency (Kim Nicholas) – through theoretically informed and deeply reflective understandings of the embeddedness of flying to academic practice (James Faulconbridge, Andrew Glover), the difference that Geography makes to the costs of cutting flying (Debbie Hopkins) and inescapable value of direct interpersonal engagement (Monica Buscher) to findings from surveys into climate scientists flight (Stuart Capstick), details of experiments in doing academia differently (Renee Timmers) and of institutional efforts to make a difference (Sion Pickering ). Contrasts were strong but they worked together to effectively unpick the vexed issue of academic flight and the challenges and opportunities facing measures to radically reduce air travel dependence in academia.

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Advising the G7 on microplastic pollution

Latin quarter not a bad spot to stay and work

Thanks to being part of the Redefining Single Use Plastics project (I guess), I was one of two UK social scientists identified by the French Government’s Ministry for Higher Education and Research to be invited, via UK’s Government Office for Science, to a scientific workshop feeding directly into a G7 policy round table on microplastic pollution.

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Keynote at Practices and Space conference, Martin Luther University, Halle-Wittenberg, Germany

Nearing Halle centre

Where should Geographical research be going with practice theory? And how? Thinking on that was the challenge I set myself for an invited keynote talk in Halle yesterday.

The Summer School was organised by the Practice Theory and Space Group, funded by Germany’s national research council and led by Jonathan Everts, professor of Anthropogeography at Martin Luther University, Halle-Salle.

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Enjoying saving quarter a ton of CO2e – train to Germany for a keynote

image of liege station
Liege station

It’s the second time I’ve taken the train to Germany rather than fly. The first time it was for an invited talk at a meeting at the Cultural Politics of Sustainable Mobility  international network – the irony of flying for that was too great, after a few years of building guilt as hopped on planes around Europe to examine PhD or evaluate grant proposals on themes of sustainability. Finding then that Germany by train is a pleasure, and increasingly motivated to contest the flight dependence of academia, it was easy to say I’d only take on this invitation if I could get the train. So, an enjoyable journey to Halle-Salle and back to deliver a keynote talk at the Practice and Space summer school.

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What role for communication initiatives in reducing energy demand? Talk at knowledge exchange event at the Science Museum

energy descent? steps to the central line

It was a surprise to be invited to speak at a knowledge exchange event on communication and behaviour change to reduce energy use. My work and that of others, not least in the DEMAND centre on which I was co-investigator, challenges the emphasis on communication, and behaviour change as conventionally framed, to effect change in what people do. But the event was part of a follow on project from the excellent Material Cultures of Energy project led by Frank Trentmann at Birkbeck, and seemed an opportunity to deliver the same messages again to a diverse audience of academics and policy professionals at the Science Museum.

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Change Points presentation to inaugural meeting of the Behavioural Science and the Natural Environment group

Change Points

Sam Outhwaite and Matt Watson represented the Change Points team, which was invited to present the approach to the inaugural meeting of the Behavioural Science and the Natural Environment group.

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Talking power in practice theory for the first Practice Theory Podcast

Good to dig out that chapter on power and practice and remember what I wrote, and all I didn’t get round to writing. That was in getting ready for the delight of being guest for the very first Practice Theory Podcast. A friendly but critical conversation with Elizabeth Shove and Stan Blue. It was a bit like a PhD viva, with two scholars reading what I wrote and asking questions, some of them testingly tough. But with nothing riding on it (apart from the judgement of anyone that listens to the podcast…) it was a lot more fun.