UCL Press, UCL Institute of Advanced Studies and The Bartlett Development Planning Unit are delighted to invite you to a panel discussion to celebrate the publication of Knowledge Sovereignty Among African Cattle Herders (UCL Press).
Date: 18 March 2019
Time: 6pm – 8pm
Location: IAS Common Ground, Ground floor, South Wing, UCL, London, WC1E 6BT
Dr Zeremariam Fre, Senior Teaching Fellow, Bartlett Development Planning Unit; Founder and Former Director Pastoral and Environmental Network in the Horn of Africa (www.penhanetwork.org PENHA)
Dr Matthew Davies, Associate Professor, Institute for Global Prosperity
Dr Lulsegged Abebe, PENHA Board chair and former Senior Adviser, International Alert;
Dr Keren Weitzberg, Teaching Fellow, Institute of Advanced Studies
Written by 2018 Desmond Tutu Reconciliation Award winner Dr Zeremariam Fre, the first to study Beni-Amer practices, Zeremariam Fre argues for the importance of their knowledge, challenging the preconceptions that regard it as untrustworthy when compared to scientific knowledge from more developed regions. Empirical evidence suggests that there is much one could learn from the other, since elements of pastoralist technology, such as those related to animal production and husbandry, make a direct contribution to our knowledge of livestock production. It is this potential for hybridisation, as well as the resilience of the herders, at the core of the indigenous knowledge system.
Fre also argues that indigenous knowledge can be viewed as a stand-alone science, and that a community’s rights over ownership should be defended by government officials, development planners and policy makers, making the case for a celebration of the knowledge sovereignty of pastoralist communities.
Very shortly humanity needs to begin solving the planetary problems caused by humanity’s activities and moving towards making the world a better place for all its citizens. 10 billion people can’t be provided with the energy, water and food they need without such an effort.
For example, by 2020 or soon thereafter, emissions of greenhouse gases must peak if the impacts of climate change are to be kept in reasonable check. Failure to successfully tackle problems like climate change or to deal with inequalities that mean that there is plenty, or even over-supply, in one place and scarcity in another could lead to social, economic and environmental problems that will put sustainable development out of reach.
Tackling issues like climate change is a fundamentally multidisciplinary exercise. To succeed it will need long-term observation and understanding of planetary processes, modelling and projections into the future, risk assessment and engineering solutions (including biological engineering) that will have to include the public acceptability of new technologies built in from the start. In all likelihood it will need to invent new financial and economic approaches to help those communities and nations that find themselves cast in the role of climate victims (e.g. those living in vulnerable communities in coastal areas). It might even, if we have to resort to geoengineering the planet or engineering plants to enhance the rate of photosynthesis, be forced to ask what the right level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere really is. That would pose legal and ethical and moral questions that there would not be easy agreement on. Just think how difficult it has been to get nations to agree on just emission reductions and ways of measuring that though the processes of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
No one discipline is going to tackle this kind of problem. Neither is any one discipline going to make the world a better place. And making the world a better place is an aim that it is too easy to lose sight of when all around there are problems that are so pressing. It is an aim that the academic community must not forget or, by default, leave solely in the hands of the global economy or global and national politics.
The knowledge and evidential material produced by the endeavour of academic institutions worldwide has a vital role to play in this process. Academic endeavour alone will not find the solutions that are needed but it can provide the knowledge and evidence that people need in order to make decisions and choices that will affect everybody. These decisions and choices cannot be based solely on what people believe to be the case; neither can they be based on or false information that has been reinforced through social media processes. Neither are they likely to be achieved in the current global political and economic climate if academia stands back from the dialogue. Of course once people have the knowledge they need to know how they can act and they need to feel empowered to do so and what benefits will result.
UCL Open: Environment aims to publish material relevant to making the world a better place and tackling the planetary problems brought about by human activity. It will not just publish academic papers but will engage in the dialogue about what we as a species do next. It will engage on the basis of knowledge and evidence. It will not seek to make people’s choices or decision’s for them but it hopes to become a source of respected information and a forum for discourse. It will try to publish material relevant to people’s lives as they live them in their communities as often as possible. It will invite input from decision-makers and policy analysts and is open to the idea that research plans and programmes could use the journal to publish evaluations of progress measured against original aims and objectives as we need some way of moving multi-disciplinary efforts forward and those kinds of evaluations are one way of doing this.
UCL Open: Environment will have a distinctive approach to accepting articles. There will be a two-stage processes. First, submitted articles will be considered by members of the editorial team and if within the scope of the journal and compliant with the journal’s policies then the article will move to a pre-print server. This is not publication in the journal. This will merely open the article to comment by referees. If an article on the pre-print server is thought suitable by referees then the article will be considered further by the editorial board and the presumption is that such an article will then be formally published in the journal and assigned page numbers. It is hoped that papers will be multidisciplinary in nature and that the double jeopardy that has haunted this area of endeavour for many decades can be largely avoided. Only submissions of good quality and well balanced articles and considered refereeing will make that possible.
I hope you can join me in wishing UCL Open: Environment to succeed in what it is setting out to do, in short:
Help to make the world a better place;
Publish knowledge and evidence needed to tackle the planetary problems caused by human activity;
Encourage the use of evidence in making decisions at every level;
Facilitate dialogue that engages people in their communities in what kind of world they would like to see.
Prof Dan Osborn Editor-in-Chief, UCL Open: Environment
We’re starting the year with a bang: two must-read new open access books.
Our first publication of 2019 is Botticelli Past and Present, a co-publication with the V&A. Featuring contributions from leading voices in art history, this book enagges with the significant and continued debate about the artist. Comprising four thematic parts, spanning four centuries of Botticelli’s artistic fame and reception from the fifteenth century. Each part comprises a number of essays and includes a short introduction which positions them within the wider scholarly literature on Botticelli. The parts are organised chronologically beginning with discussion of the artist and his working practice in his own time, moving onto the progressive rediscovery of his work from the late eighteenth to the turn of the twentieth century, through to his enduring impact on contemporary art and design. Expertly written by researchers and eminent art historians and richly illustrated throughout, the broad range of essays in this book make a valuable contribution to Botticelli studies.
Next up is a must-read of anyone interested in archaeology, egyptology, museums or ancient history: Scattered Finds by former Petrie Museum curator Alice Stevenson. It tells the fascinating story of how, between the 1880s and 1980s, British excavations at locations across Egypt resulted in the discovery of hundreds of thousands of ancient objects that were subsequently sent to some 350 institutions worldwide. These finds included unique discoveries at iconic sites such as the tombs of ancient Egypt’s first rulers at Abydos, Akhenaten and Nefertiti’s city of Tell el-Amarna and rich Roman Era burials in the Fayum.
Scattered Finds explores the politics, personalities and social histories that linked fieldwork in Egypt with the varied organizations around the world that received finds. Case studies range from Victorian municipal museums and women’s suffrage campaigns in the UK, to the development of some of the USA’s largest institutions, and from university museums in Japan to new institutions in post-independence Ghana. By juxtaposing a diversity of sites for the reception of Egyptian cultural heritage over the period of a century, Alice Stevenson presents new ideas about the development of archaeology, museums and the construction of Egyptian heritage. She also addresses the legacy of these practices, raises questions about the nature of the authority over such heritage today, and argues for a stronger ethical commitment to its stewardship.
As always, they can be downloaded from our website as soon as they publish. Happy reading!
A wonderful mix of archaeology, planning, literature, food and water welcomes in November!
Ethics and Aesthetics of Translation: Exploring the Works of Atxaga, Kundera and Semprún is our first title this month. The book engages with translation, in both theory and practice, as part of an interrogation of ethical as well as political thought in the work of three bilingual European authors: Bernardo Atxaga, Milan Kundera and Jorge Semprún. In approaching the work of these authors, the book draws upon the approaches to translation offered by Benjamin, Derrida, Ricœur and Deleuze to highlight a broad set of ethical questions, focused upon the limitations of the monolingual and the democratic possibilities of linguistic plurality; upon our innate desire to translate difference into similarity; and upon the ways in which translation responds to the challenges of individual and collective remembrance.
Next up is Integrating Food into Urban Planning, a co-publication with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). It’s a fascinating book that examines a crucial and emerging topic: the integration of food into urban planning is a crucial and emerging topic. Urban planners, alongside the local and regional authorities that have traditionally been less engaged in food-related issues, are now asked to take a central and active part in understanding how food is produced, processed, packaged, transported, marketed, consumed, disposed of and recycled in our cities.
By studying and comparing cities of different sizes, from both the Global North and South, in developed and developing regions, the contributors collectively argue for the importance and circulation of global knowledge rooted in local food planning practices, programmes and policies. If you liked Robert Biel’s book Sustainable Food Systems: The Role of the City, this one is well worth a look!
Our final book of the month is Water Societies and Technologies from the Past and Present. We may think that the challenges that modern societies face with water, in terms of both quantity and quality are unique, but many of these challenges have already existed in the past.
This book, with specific focus on Asia, seeks to highlight the issues that emerge or re-emerge across different societies and periods, and asks what they can tell us about water sustainability. Incorporating cutting-edge research and pioneering field surveys on past and present water management practices, the interdisciplinary contributors together identify how societies managed water resource challenges and utilized water in ways that allowed them to evolve, persist, or drastically alter their environment.
As always, they can be downloaded from our website as soon as they publish, and we love to hear your feedback and thoughts. Happy reading!
Shortly after the conference, Aletta Bonn and Susanne Hecker, who coordinated it, suggested the development of a book that will capture the breadth of the field of citizen science that the conference captured. Within a month, the editorial team which include Susanne Hecker, Anne Bowser, Zen Makuch, Johannes Vogel, Aletta Bonn, and myself started to work on the concept of the book and the appropriate publisher. We were committed to publishing the book as open access so it can be read by anyone who wishes it without limitations, and also so the chapters from it can be used widely. By publishing with UCL Press, which agreed to publish the book without charges, we had additional resources that we have used to work with Madeleine Hatfield of Yellowbackto ensure that the book chapters are well edited and readable,and with Olaf Herling, a Berlin graphic designer, who helped us in developing and realising the graphic design of the book.
The chapters made quite a journey – they were submitted in late 2016, and were peer-reviewed and revised by mid-2017. As always with such an effort, there is a complex process of engaging over 120 authors, the review process, and then the need to get a revised version of the chapters. This required the editorial team to coordinate the communication with the authors and encourage them to submit the chapters (with the unavoidable extensions!). Once the chapters were in their revised form, they continued to be distilled – first with comments from the editorial guidance by Madeleine, but also with suggestions from Mark Chandler from Earthwatch, who provided us with an additional review of the book as a whole.
Susanne Hecker, the lead editor, put in a lot of time into communicating with the authors, the publishers, and the professional editors. Even as late as two months ago, we had the need to check the final proofs and organise the index. All that is now done and the book is out.
The book contains 31 chapters that cover many aspects of citizen science – from the integration of activities to schools and universities to case studies in different parts of the world.
Here is what we set out to achieve: “This book brings together experts from science, society and practice to highlight and debate the importance of citizen science from a scientific, social and political perspective and demonstrate the innovation potential. World-class experts will provide a review of our current state of knowledge and practical experience of citizen science and the delivery of will be reviewed and possible solutions to future management and conservation will be given. The book critically assesses the scientific and societal impact to embed citizen science in research as well as society.
The aim of this volume is to identify opportunities and challenges for scientific innovation. This includes discussions about the impact of citizen science at the science-policy interface, the innovative potential of citizen science for scientific research, as well as possible limitations. The emphasis will be to identify solutions to fostering a vibrant science community into a changing future, with actors from academia and society. Five main sections are envisaged with an editorial introduction and a thorough final synthesis to frame the book.
Innovation in Science: What are the governance and policy frameworks that will facilitate embedding citizen science in agenda setting, design and data collection of research projects and communication? What are innovation opportunities and challenges and where support is needed? How to ensure data quality and IP rights?
Innovation at the Science-Policy interface: What are the opportunities for citizen science to provide an input to better decision making? How is participation ensured across society and how does it lead to enhanced problem-solving?
Innovation in Society: How can citizen science lead to empowerment and enhanced scientific literacy and increase science capital? What is the social transformation potential impact of citizen science?
Innovation in Technology and Environmental Monitoring: What policy and technical issues citizen science and mobile sensor technology bring? How can it contribute to advances in environmental monitoring within existing and emerging regulations? What policy and practical framework can facilitate or harm this?
Innovation in Science Communication and Education: How have new media transformed science and what are the implication to scientists, public and science funders? How can new techniques open new opportunities and to whom? ”
The final book does not follow these exact sections, but the topics and questions are the same.
In the early decades of the twentieth century, engagement with science was commonly used as an emblem of modernity. This phenomenon is now attracting increasing attention in different historical specialities. Being Modern builds on this recent scholarly interest to explore engagement with science across culture from the end of the nineteenth century to approximately 1940.
Addressing the breadth of cultural forms in Britain and the western world from the architecture of Le Corbusier to working class British science fiction, Being Modern paints a rich picture. Seventeen distinguished contributors from a range of fields including the cultural study of science and technology, art and architecture, English culture and literature examine the issues involved. The book will be a valuable resource for students, and a spur to scholars to further examination of culture as an interconnected web of which science is a critical part, and to supersede such tired formulations as ‘Science and culture’.
Citizen science, the active participation of the public in scientific research projects, is a rapidly expanding field in open science and open innovation. It provides an integrated model of public knowledge production and engagement with science. As a growing worldwide phenomenon, it is invigorated by evolving new technologies that connect people easily and effectively with the scientific community. Catalysed by citizens’ wishes to be actively involved in scientific processes, as a result of recent societal trends, it also offers contributions to the rise in tertiary education. In addition, citizen science provides a valuable tool for citizens to play a more active role in sustainable development.
This book identifies and explains the role of citizen science within innovation in science and society, and as a vibrant and productive science-policy interface. The scope of this volume is global, geared towards identifying solutions and lessons to be applied across science, practice and policy. The chapters consider the role of citizen science in the context of the wider agenda of open science and open innovation, and discuss progress towards responsible research and innovation, two of the most critical aspects of science today.
As always, they can be downloaded from our website as soon as they publish. Happy reading!
Today’s guest post is by Professor Laura Vaughan, author of Mapping Society (published today), editor of Suburban Urbanities, and Professor of Urban Form and Society at the prestigious Bartlett School of Architecture.
The inception of Mapping Society was over quarter of a century ago, whilst sitting in a seminar room at UCL while studying for my Master’s in Advanced Architectural Studies and seeing Charles Booth’s maps of poverty. The period of the early 1990s was a time when Bill Hillier, the founder of the field of space syntax, was developing his conception of the city as a ‘movement economy’. By identifying a phenomenon of ‘marginal separation by linear integration’, Hillier was using the historical map not only as a source of information on how cities worked in the past, but also as source of inspiration for building a broad theory of how cities work in general.
A few months after my first introduction to the Booth map I was browsing in the Hebrew and Jewish Studies section of UCL library and came across a fragile book from 1901, with an even more fragile map inside: the map of Jewish East London, 1899. Looking at the way the map, with its shadings of blue from light to dark, was used to accentuate the density of Jewish immigrant settlement in the area, immediately struck me as showing some fundamental spatial regularities beyond simply being a ghetto – as it was known then.
In fact, this book reflects two decades of enquiry into the spatial nature of society, with a specific focus on the detailed patterning of social patterns as these are laid out in historical maps. Going beyond placing the data on the map to a deeper analysis of the geographical patterning of the data allows the researcher to pose a variety of questions: regarding the spatial character of the urban setting, regarding whether social data of a single type have spatial characteristics in common, and – in general – to control for spatial effects when analysing social patterns.
For me, the Booth maps have become the quintessential starting point when exploring the relationship between the spatial organisation of cities and how societies take shape over time. This book does so by taking maps of social statistics and developing a close reading of the maps themselves as well as the context within which they were created. A side product of this inquiry has been the discovery of the extent to which social cartography is frequently used not only as a tool for communicating information on patterns of settlement, but also for other purposes: for propaganda, to collate evidence or to support scientific argumentation. The use of social maps as an analytical device is less prevalent and this book will show how a reading of the spatial patterns captured by such maps can reveal some fundamental rules about how cities work according to a specifically spatial logic of society.
Ultimately this book’s ambition is to demonstrate how an interdisciplinary reading of social maps can provide a richer understanding of how society and urban spatial systems interact with each other. Thus, phenomena such as segregation can only be fully understood once we take account of a wide variety of factors, including economic, political, social as well as spatial context – and all this in addition to the changes that cities and their inhabitants undergo over time.
From polar ghosts and country houses to how data can be used for good and digital museums, we’ve got an exciting host of new publications this month.
First up on May 1, is the Shane McCorristine’s spooky The Spectral Arctic, a fascinating history of ghosts and dreams in the Arctic. In contrast to oft-told tales of heroism and disaster, this book reveals the hidden stories of dreaming and haunted explorers, of frozen mummies, of rescue balloons, visits to Inuit shamans, and of the entranced female clairvoyants who travelled to the Arctic in search of John Franklin’s lost expedition. Well worth adding to your Summer reading list!
Consumer Data Research follows on 2 May. Based on the work of the innovative Consumer Data Research Centre, it provides the first consolidated statement of the enormous potential of consumer data research in the academic, commercial and government sectors – and a timely appraisal of the ways in which consumer data challenge scientific orthodoxies.
The fascinating Museum Object Lessons for the Digital Age by Haidy Geismar follows on 14th May. This book is sure to be essential reading for anyone in anthropology, archaeology, the heritage and museum sector and beyond. Drawing on the author’s extensive experience working with collections across the world, Geismar argues for an understanding of digital media as material, rather than immaterial, and advocates for a more nuanced, ethnographic and historicised view of museum digitisation projects than those usually adopted in the celebratory accounts of new media in museums.
Next up is Fonthill Recovered: A Cultural History on May 16. Wealth, collections, politics, power, sexual misdemeanours… this one has it all. If you’ve ever wondered what kinds of secrets a country house can tell you, this is a great place to start.
Finally, our last book of the month: The World of UCL. Publishing on 21st May, this book charts the history of UCL from 1826 through to the present day, highlighting its many contributions to society in Britain and around the world, and its rise to becoming one of the powerhouses of research and teaching, and a truly global university.
Join Michaela Benson and Iqbal Hamiduddin for the reception style launch of Self-build Homes: Social Discourse, Experiences and Directions with an overview of the book, case study presentations and networking.
Date: Friday 11 May 2018 Time: 17:30 – 19:30 Location: G12 The Bartlett School of Architecture, 22 Gordon Street, London, WC1H 0QB
Published by UCL Press, Self-Build Homes is available in a variety of formats, including as a free Open Access PDF, and in print.
Self-Build Homes connects the burgeoning interdisciplinary research on self-build with commentary from leading international figures in the self-build and wider housing sector. Through their focus on community, dwelling, home and identity, the chapters explore the various meanings of self-build housing, encouraging new directions for discussions about self-building and calling for the recognition of the social dimensions of this process, from consideration of the structures, policies and practices that shape it, through to the lived experience of individuals and households.
This volume comes at a time of renewed focus from policy managers and practitioners, as well as prospective builders themselves, on self-build as a means for producing homes that are more stylised, affordable and appropriate for the specific needs of households.
Alena Ledeneva invites you on a voyage of discovery, to explore society’s open secrets, unwritten rules and know-how practices. Broadly defined as ‘ways of getting things done’, these invisible yet powerful informal practices tend to escape articulation in official discourse. They include emotion-driven exchanges of gifts or favours and tributes for services, interest-driven know-how (from informal welfare to informal employment and entrepreneurship), identity-driven practices of solidarity, and power-driven forms of co-optation and control. The paradox, or not, of the invisibility of these informal practices is their ubiquity. Expertly practised by insiders but often hidden from outsiders, informal practices are, as this book shows, deeply rooted all over the world, yet underestimated in policy. Entries from the five continents presented in this volume are samples of the truly global and ever-growing collection, made possible by a remarkable collaboration of over 200 scholars across disciplines and area studies.
An open access edition of both volumes of the book is available to download free from UCL Press, in addition hardback and paperback editions.