Environmental Humanities

Research group – Department of Art and Media Studies

Environmental Humanities

About the research group – frontpage


Human activity has significantly altered the geology of our planet. Climate change and human engagement with it will determine the future of life on Earth. The urgency of this predicament, although widely perceived and lamented, has yet to yield the kind of global consensus-based actions that existing science tells us will be necessary to reverse, slow, or even successfully adapt to the changes to our world already underway. The concept of the Anthropocene increasingly figures in humanities reaserch, as more scholars join this vast transdisciplinary project to give this topic its due. Momentum is building among the myriad research fields comprising the environmental humanities, where scholars and students have exciting new opportunities to lend our expertise to the work already occupying many of our colleagues in the social and natural sciences. 

We in the humanities know that narratives are not merely instruments of direct, objective communication. We are proficient in the language of stories: we bring our knowledge of aesthetics, representation, and emotional engagement to this endeavor. The stories we tell about our world are important and deserve all the tools at our disposal as we work to shape a sustainable future. Environmental Humanities at NTNU seeks to establish a network for environmental humanities scholars across the disciplines and departments of our institution, and to enable and support the developement of research beyond NTNU. Part of our task in the environmental humanities is to emphasize that the environment is not only a backdrop for human activities, and thus we are also interested in widening the notion of storytelling to make space for the perspectives of non-humans sharing the planet with us. The group also aims to build bridges from academia to the public arena, and to contribute to telling more varied stories about human relationships with the environment and other species.

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Call for Applications: PhD Course in Environmental Humanities in Spring 2021 “Environmental Storytelling and Narrative” (May 31-June 4)

PhD Course in Environmental Humanities in Spring 2021

Call for Applications: PhD Course in Environmental Humanities in Spring 2021 “Environmental Storytelling and Narrative” (May 31-June 4)

“Environmental Storytelling and Narrative” (May 31-June 4)

The Norwegian Researcher School in Environmental Humanities (NoRS-EH) invites applicants to attend a week-long PhD course entitled “Environmental Storytelling and Narrative,” held by Environmental Humanities Research Group, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim.

Instructors: Cajetan Iheka (Yale), Garth Paine (Arizona State), Nicole Seymour (Cal State Fullerton), Julia Leyda (NTNU), Hanna Musiol (NTNU), Tore Størvold (NTNU), Ingvil Førland Hellstrand (UiS)

This course will explore the centrality of storytelling and diverse narrative practices in the environmental humanities, not only as tools of communication that promote understanding of complex environmental processes and capture ecological imagination, but also as catalysts to emotion and pathways to civic engagement. Students will examine how several central areas of inquiry within EH research theorize and engage with narration, both broadly across the international field as well as more locally in the Nordic region (including collaborations with the cultural institutions in Trondheim).

During five days of seminars and workshops, students will master practical and collaborative project work facilitated by experts in the field. Streams will include attention to theories and methods appropriate to the study of postcolonialism, popular culture, music and sound studies, and intermediality in connection to environmental storytelling and narrative. In addition, this course will include a practical hands-on component and a special focus on public dissemination and cooperation with community partners. Students will develop an outward-facing public engagement output as their final project.

The course is currently planned to happen online, with some in-person component if possible, pending the status of the pandemic. However, in these COVID-19 times, we have designed a flexible format that will work online if necessary. Teachers not based in Europe will participate remotely. We will make a final decision two weeks before the course starts if we must change the teaching mode to fully remote for all participants.

Who can apply:

Participants must be enrolled in a PhD program to join this course. You can attend this course either at the beginning of your research or at a later writing-up stage of your project. Other candidates such as early stage postdoc researchers and specialized final stage master students can be accepted. Priority is given to applicants who are NoRS-EH members; membership is open to all current PhD students based in Norwegian universities who are working with environmental humanities-related topics and methods (see https://www.uis.no/en/node/1760 for details about the quick and easy membership process). There is no fee to attend the course. However, students are responsible for paying their own travel and lodging, except NoRS-EH members, who will have their travel and accommodation costs covered by the researcher school.

Application details:

Please submit via email a single PDF document that includes your name, department, university, title and expected completion date of doctoral dissertation, as well as a 200-word description of your project and 200-word explanation of why you would like to take part. Also include your contact information with the email address you check most often. Submit your application before January 11.

Applications and inquiries to Professor Julia Leyda julia.leyda@ntnu.no (please include course code in the email subject line EH8000).

Facts about the course:

    Course code: EH8000 Topics in Environmental Humanities (https://www.ntnu.edu/studies/courses/EH8000#tab=omEmnet)

    Credits: 5 ECTS (enrollment deadline in February)

    Teaching language: English

    Examination: Pass/Fail, public engagement project

Contemporary Mediations of Weather and Climate Conference

Contemporary Mediations of Weather and Climate Conference - Postponed to 2021

June 22-23, 2020 - NTNU Trondheim, Suhmhuset


While recent years have seen a steep increase in the study of literary, cinematic, and televisual representations of extreme weather and climate crisis, few scholars have trained their focus on the banal mediations that fly under the radar. Yet the quotidian weather media ecosystem enjoys widespread engagement, operating in its dual drive to provide both information and entertainment: televised weather reporting, topical memes and other shareable social media texts, mobile apps, and digital games. These developments cumulatively promote a notion of “weather citizenship” marked by emergent new relations among individuals and collectives, weather and climate, consumerism, and notions of safety and security. In this conference, we collectively propose that weather and climate discourses are far richer and more complex than customarily supposed. In banal manifestations, whether via national public broadcasters or commercial media platforms, they serve as a proxy for the uncertainties and volatilities of contemporary life. Mediations of weather are situated in a contemporary context of neoliberal capitalism, worldwide political shifts to the right, and recognitions of accelerated climate crisis. Indeed, the public’s enhanced attentiveness to weather mediation and its more frequent embeddedness in climate crisis in recent years reflects its capacity to indirectly narrate the experience of losing control of capitalism, national identity, and anthropocentrism itself. 

Participants include: 
Soledad Altrudi, University of Southern California 
Hans Joachim Backe, IT University Copenhagen
Håvard Futsæter, Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Oslo 
Anne Gjelsvik, NTNU 
Liv Hausken, University of Oslo 
Bogna Konior, New York University Shanghai 
Julia Leyda, NTNU
Diane Negra, University College Dublin 
Peter Nelson, Hong Kong Baptist University
Anne Pasek, University of Alberta 
Katarzyna Paszkiewicz, University of the Balearic Islands
Thomas Patrick Pringle, Brown University
Jan Ketil Rød, NTNU 


Organized by Julia Leyda, NTNU Department of Art and Media Studies / NTNU Environmental Humanities Research Group

Open to the public—free registration requested before June 10: julia.leyda [at] ntnu.no

Supported by Fritt Ord, NTNU Department of Art and Media Studies, and NTNU Oceans

PhD EH Course: Environmental Storytelling and Narrative

PhD EH Course: Environmental Storytelling and Narrative - Postponed to 2021

June 15–19, 2020 - NTNU Trondheim, Norway


This semester’s course offering in the Norwegian Researcher School for Environmental Humanities (NoRS-EH) will be held in Trondheim, hosted by the NTNU Environmental Humanities Research Group and supported by NTNU ARTEC. The course will focus on environmental storytelling across media—in literature, film, theater, sound, and transmedia projects. While environmental crises often demand that we turn to the sciences, this course will be explicitly devoted to the role that aesthetics and fiction play in environment al storytelling, beginning the premise that environmental crises are also narrative crises. Narrative practices are often instrumentalized as tools of communication that promote understanding of complex environmental processes, but, in this course, we will explore how stories and storytelling serve as catalysts to emotion that can transform ecological imagination, foster speculation, and open pathways to civic engagement and community building.


During the five-day intensive course, we will discuss several topics in environmental humanities through diverse theoretical prisms —for instance, resource extraction, petrocultures, blue humanities, colonialism—in literary, cinematic, and mixmedia pieces, theater and performance. We will also impart practical, hands-on training in how to engage with aesthetic objects: how to analyze them, make them, play with them, and harness their power to affect local and global communities of interpretation. Reading, watching films and videographic essays, and sharing immersive experiences, as well as theater and sound performances, will lead us to explore the affordances of different narrative and storytelling practices. This multilayered course format will promote public engagement and allow students to develop and practice new narrative and analytical skills, with a nuanced understanding of several central areas of inquiry within EH research

We will be working closely with NTNU collaborators (Department of Art and Media Studies, Department of Languages and Literature, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Environmental Humanities Research Group, Gunnerus Library, NTNU ARTEC, NTNU Oceans) and local partners (Kunsthall Trondheim, Cinemateket, and the Science Center Planetarium); we have also enlisted a diverse international roster of environmental humanities practitioners to facilitate workshops, lectures, field trips, sound walks, deep listening, and hands-on media training sessions.

Keywords: haunting; solastalgia; climate grief; irony; affect; sensorium; apocalypse; “storied matter”; inter-/transmediality; sound and space; climate artivism; aesthetic literacy; public engagement

Application process: PhD candidates from any country and any discipline are welcome to apply. Advanced MA students may be considered in exceptional cases. Admission guidelines are as follows.

Application deadline: February 4

1) NoRS-EH members: The course is offered as part of the Norwegian Researcher School in Environmental Humanities (NoRS-EH), and priority will be given to members. Students based at a Norwegian university in any discipline working on any PhD project related to environmental humanities are encouraged to join the researcher school. NoRS-EH members will be fully funded for travel and accommodation for this course. If you are eligible to join and are not yet a member of NoRS-EH, please complete the process detailed on the school’s main page: https://www.uis.no/forskning-og-ph-d/ph-d-utdanning/forskerskolen-nors-eh/. Persons who are based in Norway but are not NoRS-EH members will be treated the same as applicants outside of Norway (#2 below).

2) Non-NoRS-EH members, including applicants based outside Norway: PhD students based in any country who are not members of NoRS-EH are also encouraged to apply for this course. Any places not filled by NoRS-EH members will be offered to students from outside the school. There is no course fee, but students outside NoRS-EH must cover their own travel and accommodation expenses.

To apply for this course, submit your application as a single PDF file to julia.leyda@ntnu.no and hanna.musiol@ntnu.no before 12 noon on February 4. It should consist of 1) a 1-page description of your research project and explanation of your motivation for participating in the course, and 2) a 1-page CV.

PhD Research Seminar: Theories and Methods in Environmental Humanities

PhD Research Seminar: Theories and Methods in Environmental Humanities

Time and place: Oct. 30, 2019 9:00 AM–Nov. 1, 2019 7:00 PM, University of Oslo/Tøyen Hovedgård/SALT

This three-day intensive course serves as an introduction to theories and research methods in the interdisciplinary field of environmental humanities. In the Anthropocene, it becomes increasingly clear that environmental issues cannot be understood from the perspective of a single discipline. This research-oriented course is aimed at graduates from the humanities and social sciences who work on environmental topics and wish to expand their repertoire of theories, research skills, and creative methods. You will get hands-on experience from lecturers with different disciplinary backgrounds: from literary studies, philosophy, anthropology, history, media studies, and others. The course will lay special emphasis on creative and unconventional research methods and modes of representations, such as the use of film, photography, sound recordings, art installations, or exhibitions. We will pay particular attention to the mechanisms by which individual disciplines come together into the larger whole of environmental humanities. The course is organized by the Oslo School of Environmental Humanities (OSEH) as part of the Norwegian Researcher School in Environmental Humanities (NoRS-EH). Full details available at OSEH website (LINK: https://www.hf.uio.no/english/research/strategic-research-areas/oseh/news-and-events/events/Other/phd-research-seminar-rtmEH%20-2019.html).


Norwegian Research School in Environmental Humanities

Norwegian Research School in Environmental Humanities

NTNU Environmental Humanities Research Group is proud to represent NTNU in the Norwegian Research School in Environmental Humanities, a groundbreaking new program funded from October 2019 to August 2025 by the Research Council of Norway and coordinated from by Professor Dolly Jørgensen (UiS). NoRS-EH is a transdisciplinary initiative to strengthen Norwegian humanities' contribution to environmental research and the major global challenges facing the world. Members will have the opportunity to participate in seminars at the NoRS-EH partner institutions at the Universities of Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger, Agder, and NTNU. The research school's courses will complement the offerings of the partner institutions' PhD programs and aims to ensure that EH PhD candidates across Norway have opportunities for specialized seminars and nationwide networking. NoRS-EH offers members a three-part program consisting of an overview course in environmental humanities, an in-depth course in environmental humanistic themes with international participation, and the development of a larger community for researchers and students in the field. PhD candidates based in Norwegian universities and working with topics and research methods related to environmental humanities are invited to apply. See the official website: https://www.uis.no/forskning-og-ph-d/ph-d-utdanning/forskerskolen-nors-eh/.


NTNU Environmental Humanities wins 3rd Prize for Best Stand at Forskningstorget!

NTNU Environmental Humanities wins 3rd Prize for Best Stand at Forskningstorget!

Can you get involved in environmental and climate change by watching disaster movies? Can immersing yourself in a color-by-numbers activity give you a better understanding of the consequences of temperature changes in the ocean? Can you be more aware of temperature fluctuations by knitting a hat? We set up a stand called “Miljø og Kultur” at the Forskningstorget on Friday and Saturday September 20 and 21. At our booth, we showed how environmental and climate awareness can be created through popular culture, creative pastimes, and hobby activities.  We were happy to see that our stand not only was well-visited, but we also to won the third prize for best stand at Forskningstorget 2019!  Thank you to all of you who visited us and contributed to our success.

Read more about our participation in this NTNU News article.

NTNU Ocean Week 2019

Contributions by the Environmental Humanities Reaserach Group

NTNU Ocean Week 2019

We are happy to announce that we were represented at the NTNU Ocean Week 2019.

On day 1, May 6th, Julia Leyda and Hanna Musiol made presentations in the "Other voices - Other Stories" sessions. 

  • Time:.14.25 - Julia Leyda; Oil, Ocean and the Climate Unconscious in Norwegian scripted television.
  • Time: 16.05 - Hanna Musiol; “Plotting Futures: Hydro Magic, Sacrificial Landscapes, and Ecological Imagination.”

For the complete programme, visit NTNU Ocean Week 2019's homepage here.

Link to registration for for Ocean Week you will find here.

PhD Position in Environmental Humanities

Call for applications

PhD Position in Environmental Humanities

– Deadline: March 5th, 2019

The Faculty of Humanities at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU, Trondheim) offers a full-time 3-year PhD position, to be based in the Departments of Art and Media Studies and/or the Department of Language and Literature.

The PhD position is connected to the strategic research area NTNU Oceans, through the pilot programme Responsible Ocean Research and Innovation (HAVANSVAR). The PhD candidate will here be part of a substantial network of interdisciplinary scholarship addressing ethical, cultural, political, economic, narrative and historical dimensions of the marine environment. Further information can be found here (NTNU OCEANS)

For full job description and information about the application process, go to Jobbnorge.no. 


Core members

Heli Aaltonen
Associate Professor
Sophia Efstathiou
Senior Researcher
Anne Gjelsvik
Ilona Hongisto
Professor in Film Studies
Ulla Angkjær Jørgensen
Associate Professor
Tore Kirkholt
Associate Professor, Head of Department
Julia Leyda
Professor in Film Studies
Hanna Musiol
Associate Professor of English, Ph.D. Northeastern University
Celina Annabell Stifjell
PhD Candidate
Tore Størvold
Postdoctoral Fellow


Associated members

Jennifer Branlat
Postdoctoral Fellow
Sigurd Hverven
PhD Candidate in philosophy
Kim Menage
PhD Candidate
Nina Lager Vestberg
Professor of Visual Culture