The research programme The Seed Box has entered its final year. During this time, the project has grown from research seeds to a vital flora of research projects. The results from some of these projects will be presented at a digital festival which will run from 7 to 11 February.
In the Shit Project researchers and artists have collaborated to highlight research on municipal sewage systems.
It’s rare that a research project has its own artistic leader – but The Seed Box does. The Seed Box is an international, interdisciplinary programme, funded by Mistra (the Swedish foundation for strategic environmental research) and Formas (a Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development), with LiU as programme host. It provides a meeting place for environmental issues and humanistic perspectives.
“In The Seed Box our aim is to explore environmental issues across boundaries. Art is useful for this, because by definition it is interested in disrupting established methods. We’ve asked ourselves ‘If we do this instead, what will happen?’”, says Katja Aglert, professor of art at Linköping University. She has been artistic leader and co-director at The Seed Box since 2020.
Katja Aglert’s role in The Seed Box has included investigating, together with researchers, how research results can be presented in other ways than on the white paper on which they are traditionally written.
“Art is good at getting us to see things from another perspective. In The Seed Box, some of the researchers have tried working with visualisations of their results”, says Katja Aglert.
Art can be one way of conveying what is difficult. We hope that the festival can help open up this conversation.
One example of how research has been lifted away from both the white sheet of paper and academia is the Shit Project. Here, researchers from Uppsala University and artists have collaborated to highlight research on municipal sewage systems in Gnesta. To involve the public in the project, an art walk, which passed by a treatment plant, was organised.
“Along the way, the public encountered various works of art which were based on the knowledge created by the researchers and artists”, says Katja Aglert.
Rounding off with digital festival
From 7 to 11 February, The Seed Box will round off the research programme with a digital festival open to everyone – The Community Garden Festival: An Environmental Humanities Festival. Again, the artistic perspective pervades the programme, alongside research related to the environment and humanities.
“We want to invite everyone with an interest in the environment, sustainability, justice, interdisciplinarity and art to experience the festival”, says Victoria Wibeck, professor at the Department of Thematic Studies, Environmental Change, and programme director of The Seed Box.
During the festival, participants will be able to attend lectures and panel talks featuring a number of well-known environmental humanities researchers and artists. They can also participate in various workshops and explore the interdisciplinary research conducted under the auspices of The Seed Box during the past two years.
Art is good at getting us to see things from another perspective.
Participants are also welcome to attend the release of the children’s book Esmeralda och Draken (Esmeralda and the Dragon), and witness the characters’ struggle to achieve the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The book is the result of a research project that studied sustainable development work in preschools.
In addition to the above, the festival will present podcasts based on research into Sweden’s path to becoming fossil free, several documentaries about some of the research projects in The Seed Box, and an animation created from climate-related research in one of the projects.
“For several reasons it can be difficult to approach environmental issues. An individual can feel powerless, and environmental issues can often an apocalyptic feeling. But art can be one way of conveying what is difficult. We hope that the festival can help open up this conversation”, says Victoria Wibeck.
The link to the site where the festival will be held: