Katharina Weise, Master student at Lund University, has received this year’s RLC fieldwork grant to carry out research on energy justice in relation to the Grand Renaissance Dam project in Ethiopia and its implications from a social and environmental perspective. The Ethiopian Right Livelihood Award Laurate Melaku Worede has endorsed the project and will support Katharina’s fieldwork.
The Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS) is organising a series of RLC mini-lectures for students and teachers at one of the local high schools in Lund, Sweden. The lectures focus on climate strategies, energy justice, sustainable agriculture and carbon footprints, and are organised around the Right Livelihood Award exhibition “Who cares?” and the ongoing research at the RLC Campus Lund.
On November 17th 2016, the RLC Lund invited several scholars and small-scale farmers from different countries to discuss the issues posed by the current global food system. Questions of how and by whom food is produced as well as how it is distributed were among the topics of interest to the participants and experts. The event was attended by the RLA Laureate Pat Mooney, representatives of La Via Campesina like Torgny Östling, the Rural Women Assembly, and the human rights group Evidence, among others.
On April 8th 2016, Miguel Carter and Ana Terra presented the book Challenging Social Inequality: The Landless Rural Workers Movement and Agrarian Reform in Brazil at the RLC Lund and further discussed the causes and consequences of Brazils agrarian structure and the connected Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST).
The Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais sem Terra (MST) is an organization that works in defense of Brazilian landless families. In 1991 the the organization and it’s members received the Right Livelihood Award (RLA). Brazil has the most inequitable distribution of land ownership in the world, with a high infant mortality rate, millions of street children and situations akin to slavery in the countryside.
On April 11th to 13th 2016, the RLC Lund and the LUCSUS (Centre for Sustainability Studies) held a PhD course revolving around the various theories of nature, focusing on the areas of evolution, ecology, geomorphology and soils as well as agriculture.
Following themes were covered:
- Evolutionary theories: From Darwin to Synthetic biology.
- Ecological theories: From ”balance of nature” to resilience and ”coupled social ecological systems”.
- Theories of the geosphere: From Davis’ and Penck’s theories of geomorphology to “Humanity as a geological force”
- Theoretical challenges of agriculture: From annual monocultures to perennial polycultures
During the three-day workshop, the participants had the opportunity to discuss the concept of the Anthropocene, the proposed epoch marked by humanity’s impact on the earth starting around 1950, as well as seminal papers with several senior scholars. Contributions in form of lectures and presentations came from, for instance, Dr. Tim Crews of The Land Institute in the USA and Prof. Johannes Persson of the Lund University.
A report on the PhD course “Critical Urban Theory in Practice” Module II, Sweden Lund 4-8 April 2016
by Dr. Maryam Nastar: Course Organizer, Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies
The second module of the PhD course, Critical Urban Theory in Practice started off on 4 April 2016 with 8 students from India, UK and Sweden. This module was organized and funded by Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS), one of the Right Livelihood College (RLC) campuses. The initiative was also co-funded by the Robert Bosch Foundation through the Global Secretariat of RLC in Bonn, Germany. Further information on the first module can be found in the section Campus-News of RLC Mumbai.
After an introduction to the course by Dr. Maryam Nastar, Dr. Turaj Faran presented elements of social movements and contributing factors to their success and failure. This was followed by Prof. Eric Clark’s lecture on political, historical and economic forces that social movements are up against, within the urban context. On the second day of the course, Dr. Anders Lund Hansen and Emmerik Warburg, from Christiania Researchers In Residence (CRIR.net), led a fieldtrip to Freetown Christiania, in Copenhagen, Denmark. During the excursion, students got to know about the history of the community struggles and the challenges that community activists have faced over the last decades in relation to public spaces and property in Christiania.
Students during the fieldtrip to Freetown Christiania. Photo by
Dr. Maryam Nastar, LUCSUS.
The fieldtrip and earlier literature reviews formed the basis for seminar discussion on the day after. This was followed by Dr. Maja Essebo’s lecture on instances of struggles for urban spaces in the global North and the notion of the right to the city in practice. By taking off from the field observations and going back to critical urban theory, Dr. Andy Merrifield, the course guest lecturer, expanded on Lefebvre’s notion of the right to the city through an excellent lecture on the origin of the concept and how it is co-opted by different organizations in contemporary urban studies and research.
The public lecture by Dr. Andy Merrifield. Photo by Dr. Maryam Nastar, LUCSUS.
On the last day of the course, Dr. Merrifield gave an open lecture about Professional and Amateur Urbanism in our Urban Age, wherein he discussed the dominant camps of urban studies and how critical urban thinkers can contribute to challenging these perspectives. For more info about this public lecture, can be found here.
Finally, Dr. Mine Islar presented a lecture on new vocabulary of citizenship and the figure of activist citizen and the course was ended by the students’ presentations over two main themes: 1.The impact of the transformation of urban spaces on urban struggles and 2. Social movements and citizenship practices that can potentially address the urban issues. Students impressively used the course materials and concepts to apply these themes to the case study of Christiania and they well demonstrated how critical urban theory can be used in analyzing urban challenges and opportunities.
The course organizer would like to thank all the lecturers and students for their contributions to and participation in the course. Particularly, many thanks to Dr. Turaj Faran for his time and support in the planning phase and in participating the course activities which lifted up the level of teaching and learning to the fullest.
A collective picture of the course participants in Christiania, Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo by Dr. Maryam Nastar, LUCSUS.
The first module of the PhD course, “Critical Urban Theory: Citizenship, Marginalities, Livelihood Struggles and Innovations in Practice” took place in Mumbai, India from 4 to 8 of January.
The joint Phd Course is organized by Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS) in collaboration with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and its Centre for Livelihoods and Social Innovation (CLSI).
A more detailed report on the first part of this seminar can be found
in the section Campus-News of RLC Mumbai.
RLA Laureate Wes Jackson’s Land Institute and Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies intend to establish a long-term research initiative with the bold aim of advancing a new agriculture. A sustained commitment in terms of funding and research enthusiasm for 10-15 years is envisaged. Continue reading Visions of a New Agriculture
The RLC campus at the Lund Centre for Sustainability Studies is strengthening its research capacities. A long-term cooperation with RLA Laureate Wes Jackson’s Land Institute will start in 2015. After having secured funding for a 15-year period, a fully-fledged trans-Atlantic research consortium between the two institutions is foreseen. Continue reading RLC Lund Cooperating with Land Institute