Keynote speakers and programme – NGM Trondheim 2019 – Department of geography - Department of Geography
Professor Håvard Haarstad
Professor Håvard Haarstad
Håvard Haarstad is Professor of Human Geography and Director for the Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation (CET), University of Bergen, Norway. His current research addresses the geography of sustainability transformations. Primarily, he has focused on how cities and local actors are working to achieve sustainability through inter-city networks on the one hand, and material and technological interventions on the other. One of his current research projects, European Cities as Actors in Climate and Energy Transformations, uses multiple case studies to understand the spatiality of the policy formation process of making sustainable cities. A key hypothesis is that networks between cities are critical to how local actors are promoting urban sustainability. He has also contributed to the broader theoretical debate on the spatiality of sustainability transformations. Several of his recent papers have argued that transformations are better understood through geography’s relational concepts of space – scale, place, landscape – than the now prevalent notions of niches and socio-technical regimes. As Director of CET he works to facilitate socially relevant research and capacity building on climate and energy transformation.
His NGM keynote presentation will be on the geography of sustainable transformations, discussing what the relational human geography perspective contributes to the social sciences – using cities and urban actors as empirical examples.
The interconnected geographies of sustainability transformations
What does human geography have to offer for understandings of sustainable transformation? In this talk I argue that we should make more use of our core concepts and relational thinking, rather than relying on imported concepts from socio-technical systems theory and the like. Standard frameworks tend to portray transitions and transformations as stable and gradual processes, with little role for space, local contexts and active agency. In the SpaceLab group at the University of Bergen we are aiming to use core concepts from human geography to foster a more vibrant and spatially attuned understanding of the politics of transformations: highlighting instabilities, inequalities and interconnections. I discuss an ongoing project, where we examine multiple cases of urban sustainability interventions in Europe and beyond and trace the transurban relations through which these local interventions are created. We find that transformations are not primarily results of technological innovation, but as results of assembly and mobilization of agencies across space and time. Human geography can make a substantial contribution both to the understanding and the practice of sustainable transformation by making these interconnections visible and giving them significance in academic and public debate.
Professor Lesley Head
Professor Lesley Head
Lesley Head is Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor and Head of the School of Geography at the University of Melbourne, Australia. She has researched human-environment interactions across a range of timescales and in diverse cultural settings, with a particular recent focus on cultural dimensions of climate change. Her books include Hope and Grief in the Anthropocene (Routledge 2016) and Nature, Temporality and Environmental Management: Scandinavian and Australian perspectives on landscapes and peoples, co-edited with Katarina Saltzman, Gunhild Setten and Marie Stenseke (Routledge 2017).
Lesley’s connections to Nordic Geography were forged during stints as the King Carl XVI Gustaf Visiting Professor in Environmental Science, Högskolan Kristianstad, Sweden (2005-06), and Visiting Professor at Göteborgs Universitet, Sweden (2012-14). In 2015 she was awarded the Vega Medal of the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography.
Lesley is thrilled to have the chance to return to Scandinavia to present a keynote lecture at NGM2019. The lecture will focus on migrant environmental knowledge, thinking from the edge, and other small signs of hope for sustainable futures.
Beyond the whiteness of green
The state of the world and the sustainability challenges ahead of the human species demand paradigm shifts in environmental scholarship and practice.
Much of our green thinking has come out of the colonial experience and its limitations are now well exposed. One key thread is on Indigenous knowledge and critique of the wilderness myth over the last several decades. A second more recent thread examines the environmental knowledge and behaviour of Majority World migrants to the Minority World. This research challenges western environmental scholarship and practice in a number of ways, including that straightforward assumptions about the ‘pro’ in pro-environmental behaviour need to be challenged.
In this presentation I summarise implications from these two threads of research to consider what a less-white green might look like, and what this means for geographers in Scandinavia and Australia. The comparisons between Sweden, Norway and Australia have been instructive in our previous collaborative research. They are countries with both similarities and differences in environmental management and biodiversity protection, and the role of people in those processes. As geographers on a particular kind of edge of the Anglo-American centre, I argue we have a particular kind of contribution to make.
Dr Kirsi Pauliina Kallio
Dr Kirsi Pauliina Kallio
Kirsi Pauliina Kallio is senior researcher at the University of Tampere, Finland, where she works with the Political Agency Research Group (SPARG) as part of the RELATE Centre of Excellence. Her research interests include political subjectivity and agency, relational space, transnational human rights, everyday practices of democracy, refugeeness, and intergenerationality. In her previous research, Dr. Kallio has focused on youthful political agency as a developing and a practiced relational human capacity. Her research on political subject formation and spatial socialisation underlines the experiential perspectives of children and youth concurrently with the governing perspectives of institutions and authorities. In her present work, Dr. Kallio continues this line of research within the context of forced migration, with specific attention on ‘refugeeness’ as political subjectivity and agency, and ‘humanitarian border’ as its spatial context.
Her talk at the NGM 2019 conference draws from this ongoing research with focus on refugees’ familial relations, as experienced and practiced by asylum seekers, and as defined and practiced by Finnish and European migration and welfare policies and institutions.
Geosocial familiality in enforcing social sustainability
While family is something that nearly all people in the world relate with, people’s familial lives differ notably from place to place, throughout the life course, between life situations, and personally. The familial relations that we maintain, create and repair, or dissolve, challenge and reconstruct, as part of everyday living, involve significant geographical diversity. The lecture will consider such intimate yet institutionally conditioned relations and agencies as ‘geosocial familialities’. Specifically, I will engage with intergenerational relations and agencies of refugees and asylum seekers, whose familial lives are often contested, not only by their geosocial situations, but also through geopolitical and geo-economic dynamics. Drawing from my recent research, I will portray distinct facets of familiality as experienced and expressed by refugees and asylum seekers, and discuss them in the context of Finnish welfare and migration policies. Thus, my research challenges categorical conceptions of the family, manifested prominently by Western ideals, and emphasizes instead people’s tactical intergenerational relationships and agencies in and amidst their transnational and translocal ties. In the talk I will argue that geosocial familial relations and agencies, embedded in specific geopolitical and geo-economic realities, are an important yet underused resource in enforcing social sustainability though institutional and mundane means.