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WCCEH Public Lecture: Apprehending environmental change

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WCCEH Public Lecture: Apprehending environmental change


Apprehending environmental change: Imagining perception in art/science collaborations

Lenore Manderson, The University of the Witwatersrand

Climate change embraces a unique breadth of scholarship. Planetary science, evolutionary biology and geology, the social and policy sciences and humanities, come together as a diverse bundle of knowledge systems that are necessary to comprehend planetary and the challenges we face and so avoid catastrophe. We are on the edge of this now. For the past five years, I have curated and produced an art/science program, as Earth, Itself (2015-2019) at Brown University in the US, and as Watershed (2018) at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. The programs brought together scholars from these diverse fields with practicing artists. This was structured through using early understandings of earth systems and bodies, across cultures, time and place, in terms of the elements (and so: earth/dance, air/music, fire/the fire arts, water/text). I will show some of the art produced for and shown at Earth, Itself and Watershed – video clips, sound bites, stills and text -- to illustrate how artists contribute to identifying practical steps forward while celebrating the environment, and how this work provokes us to think of ways forward to protect both the environment and health.


Lenore Manderson is Distinguished Professor of Public Health and Medical Anthropology in the School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand. She previously professor at Queensland (1988-1998), Melbourne (1999-2005) and Monash (2006-13) universities in Australia. She is also Distinguished Visiting Professor of Environmental Science, Institute at Brown for Environment and Society (IBES), where her work focuses on the intersections of art and science in relation to climate change, and on biodiversity and social innovation. She is known internationally as a researcher, educator and through advisory work for her contributions to inequality and the social context of disease, including since 1988 with the Special Programme in Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR). She is editor of the journal Medical Anthropology and editor of the book series Medical Anthropology: Health, Inequality and Social Justice with Rutgers University Press. She is a member of the board of the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health at the University of Exeter.



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