SEK 4 million to environmental humanities

The Seed Box, Sweden’s largest research programme in the environmental humanities, is now allocating grants to researchers, writers and artists around the world. The projects investigate urgent environmental problems and present new, often artistic methods and pathways forward, aimed at exploring our relationship with the environment.

träd“Until now, the environment has mainly been a subject for natural science and engineering. But environmental issues are also very relevant for the humanities and social sciences. They concern values and human conditions, and these are the domains of the humanities. With the Seed Money we want to nurture good ideas and green initiatives from the humanities, from all round the world,” says Cecilia Åsberg, professor of gender, nature and culture at Linköping University and programme director of the Seed Box, which is based at Linköping University.Cecilia ÅsbergPhoto credit: Peter Holgersson

The Seed Box’s Seed Money venture aims to foster research in interdisciplinary and environmental humanities, by increasing researcher mobility and facilitating knowledge exchange between Swedish and foreign universities. To this end, 16 projects involving 40 individuals have received funding. The grants will go to exchanges for researchers, writers and artists, and to workshops, travel grants and a project on citizen science.

Herbarium 3.0, a project that has secured 400 000 SEK (USD 43,434, EUR 40,854), investigates the plants around us that we no longer see. Our history is full of collected and pressed plants that have been put into herbaria with data on how, where and when they were found. And yet, despite this robust botanical history, many humans are now notably blind to the plants that share our world.PlanteraPhoto credit: iStock Photo

“Plant blindness can make us insensitive to both the lives of plants and the deeply connected history of plant-human interactions. We want to move herbaria out of the archive and back into people’s lives,” says Tina Gianquitto, associate professor, Colorado School of Mines.

The project will create a website where the public can share their experiences and relationships with plants. The narratives will be collected in public gardens around the world, including the New York Botanical Garden and the Gothenburg Botanical Garden in Sweden.

The international projects that received funding will collaborate with a Swedish university, to bolster the exchange of knowledge.

“The Seed Box: An Environmental Humanities Collaboratory” is a four-year pilot programme funded by Mistra, the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research and Formas, the Swedish Research Council.

It is based at Linköping University and has received roughly SEK 40 million (USD 4.9 million, EUR 4.1 million) to advance the environmental humanities in Sweden and worldwide. The call for funding was made in consultation with the Seed Box’s funders.

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