Ecocultures 2012: Final Programme

We’re there! Attached to this post is the final programme for Ecocultures 2012! We’ll be also be posting about the conference on the Ecocultures Facebook page and Twitter (@EcocultureEssex / #Ecocultures2012) – do join us there!  

For delegates who will be presenting papers, could we remind you that presentations will generally be limited to 15-20 minutes each. The conference rooms  are equipped with Powerpoint, sound and internet, and we’re happy to help with anything else you may need. Let us know at zpbhar at, if you haven’t already.  

A few words on local travel: The Wivenhoe Park campus is located just outside Colchester (see here for a Google Map). For delegates who will be staying at local hotels or B&Bs, directions to the campus are available here. Depending on where you are travelling from, bus travel to the campus can take 20-45 minutes including waiting times. The link above contains details on which bus numbers to take. If you prefer to travel by cab, there are taxi ranks at the main bus station, outside Colchester North Station and outside the Red Lion Hotel in the town centre. You can also call a cab via the following local cab companies:

  • Colchester Taxis: 01206-524 524
  • Hawai Five-O: 01206-543 210
  • Panther Cabs: 01206 525 525

Taxis should be requested to go to / wait at the North Towers taxi stand, which is the closest stand to the Teaching Centre where the conference will take place. Please feel free to circulate this programme and news about the conference amongst your networks. There are a few places left to register at  

If you have any further questions, please contact Zareen Bharucha (zpbhar at or Steffen Boehm (steffen at

We’re looking forward to welcoming you to the event next week. Safe travels to those joining us from overseas, and if you have already arrived, a very warm welcome to the UK!

Download Programme-Final.pdf

Ecocultures 2012: Reaching towards sustainability through artistic practice

Photo: Natalia Eernstman

We’re excited to share details on an interactive panel to be held at Ecocultures 2012 which will explore futures thinking, artistic practice and imagination in relation to learning for sustainability. The panel will address questions such as: Do we have to plan from or for the future? How we foster futures thinking? How can art facilitate or catalyze this process? How can we stimulate the envisioning of different and positive futures in communities? And how do we proceed from the mere imagined visions and ‘good’ intentions to actual realization and steps in the right direction?

The panelists who have come together to craft this session are Oleg Koefoed, Natalia Eernstman, Eva Bakkeslett, Karen Blincoe and Lucy Neal.

Oleg Koefoed

Oleg is an action-philosopher and head of Cultura212 Nordic group.  Natalia is an artist and is pursuing her doctoral studies at University College Falmouth. Eva is also an artist, and engages in the crossover between art and ecology. Karen is Present of Danish Designers and also a PhD student at the Faculty of Arts, Brighton University. Lucy is initiator and co-chair of Transition Town Tooting. 

The panel will be held in Room TC 2.9 at the Tony Rich Teaching Centre from 10:30 to 12:30. 

Ecocultures 2012: Keynote Address by Dougald Hine

Dougald Hine

Dougald Hine will deliver a keynote address at Ecocultures 2012 on the theme of the practical power of stories.

Dougald is a writer and thinker who is fascinated by how we change things and how things change, with or without us. He develops his ideas in practice, creating projects and organisations such as Space Makers Agency, the School of Everything, New Public Thinking and the Institute for Collapsonomics.

In 2009, he published the Dark Mountain Manifesto with Paul Kingsnorth, which has led to an international cultural movement to respond to the deep roots of today’s crises in the stories our societies have been telling for generations.

More on Dougald’s work here.

Ecocultures 2012: Conference dinner

Leon Lewis

Leon Lewis is an award-winning chef based at Brentwood, in Essex.  Leon gave up his job as a Mathematics teacher to become a vegetarian caterer in 1980.  Since then, he has catered for thousands of people each year, at buffets and festivals.

Leon’s food ethic is to use locally sourced, fresh vegetarian food and handpicked wild ingredients.   For our conference dinner, Leon will serve a selection of homemade breads and dips, nettle balls, a pie, quiche and nutroast with St. George’s mushrooms. Salads will feature Egyptian marinated aubergines, tabbouli, wild rice and wild greens. To finish, we’ll have plum and wild apple crumble, poppyseed gateau and white chocolate cheesecake with a blueberry and creme de cassis topping.

We’ll  post a full menu as soon as this is finalised, as the wild foods used will depend on weather conditions closer to the time. Leon will be on-hand on the evening to talk us through the beautiful wild ingredients he will incorporate into every dish.

To read more about Leon, visit his website. He also has two cookbooks, which you can order from here.

[Slider photo from here]

Ecocultures 2012: Keynote address by Paul Wimbush

Paul Wimbush

Paul Wimbush will deliver a keynote address at Ecocultures 2012, entited The Lammas ecovillage project – Redesigning the human relationship to resources.

Paul Wimbush was the driving force behind the creation of the Lammas project in Pembrokeshire. Having studied Architecture, he went on to live in a wide range of alternative communities throughoutWest Wales. In 2005 he co-founded Lammas and spearheaded a 3 year campaign to win planning permission for the Tir y Gafel ecovillage. The replicable model is pioneering in its grass-roots approach, empowering people to generate their own solutions to the challenge of sustainability. He has been influential in shaping both local and national planning policies and is actively involved in supporting the emergence of a low-impact movement inWalesthat seeks to promote an alternative rural lifestyle model that is productive, affordable and attractive.

Paul’s talk will describe key issues in rural sustainability, land productivity and understanding human impacts. It will set out the the core concepts of the Lammas project, which combines a conventional social model with an alternative ethos. The talk will cover the importance of harnessing creativity, the role of research and academia, opportunities provided by the media, political and policy process, and appreciating and negotiating key obstacles to the design and creation of intentional communities.

More information on Lammas is available here, and here are some wonderful images sent by Paul of the low-impact housing in Wales …

Hay-bale workshop, plot 1, Lammas Ecovillage, Tir y Gafel. Photo: Paul Wimbush

Roundhouse/ workshop, plot 2, Lammas Ecovillage , Tir y Gafel. Photo: Paul WimbushPhoto: Paul Wimbush
Earth sheltered dwellinghouse, plot 7, Lammas Ecovillage, Tir y Gafel. Photo: Paul Wimbush

Registration for Ecocultures 2012 is available online here, and full details on the programme of events as they evolve are here. We look forward to hearing what you think and meeting you in April!

Ecocultures 2012: Transitions to Sustainability

A Conference to take place at the University of Essex between the 17th and 18th of April 2012. 

The aim of Ecocultures 2012 is to advance knowledge of how communities adapt successfully to social-ecological change, maintain resilience and enhance wellbeing. The conference will bring together members of these communities, researchers who work with them, policy makers interested in applying their lessons and development practitioners looking for innovative ways to enhance social-ecological well-being. Together, we will examine the principles and practices of ‘Ecocultures’ from multiple disciplinary perspectives and at every scale, from the individual to the community and beyond. The questions we will address will range from the deepest organising principles of alternative development paradigms (how do the members of Ecocultures view their place in the world and accord value to nature?) to the practicalities of their social and economic organisation. We invite submissions from across the spectrum of the social sciences and humanities; trans-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary submissions are particularly encouraged.

Conference keynote address 

One of the conference’s keynote addresses will be delivered by Professor Jules Pretty, Professor of Environment and Society at the University of Essex. He is Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Sustainability and Resources), Pro-Vice-Chancellor responsible for the Faculty of Science and Engineering, and Deputy Vice-Chancellor. His books include This Luminous Coast (2011), Nature and Culture (co-authored, 2010), The Earth Only Endures (2007), Environment (4 vols, ed 2006), The Earthscan Reader in Sustainable Agriculture (2005, ed), The Pesticide Detox (2005, ed), Agri-Culture (2002) and Regenerating Agriculture (1995). He is a Fellow of the Society of Biology and the Royal Society of Arts, former Deputy-Chair of the Government’s Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE), and has served on advisory committees for a number of government departments. He is currently member of the Lead Expert Group for the UK Government’s Foresight Global Food and Farming Futures Project, member of the Expert Panel for UK National Ecosystem Assessment and member of BBSRC’s Strategy Advisory Board. He received an OBE in 2006 for services to sustainable agriculture, and an honorary degree from Ohio State University in 2009.

The conference will take place on the Colchester campus of the University of Essex from the morning of Tueday, 17th April until the afternoon of Wednesday, 18th April 2012.

Paper proposals, in the form of an abstract (400-700 words) and Panel proposals (max 1000 words), should be sent to Prof. Steffen Böhm (steffen at and Zareen Bharucha (zpbhar at by 16th  January 2012.

For general inquiries, please email Zareen Bharucha (zpbhar at

For a full version of this call please see the attached .pdf file. 


Download Call-for-Papers-Final.pdf