JENNY PICKERILL is Professor of Environmental Geography at Sheffield University, England. Her research focuses on how we understand, value and (ab)use the environment. She is particularly interested in inspiring grassroots solutions to environmental problems and in hopeful and positive ways in which we can change social practices. This work includes a concern for justice; recognising that the broader context of environmental problems is often inequality, colonialism, racism and neo-liberalism. She is currently researching global eco-communities and activism in Australia. She has published 3 books and over 30 articles on themes around environmentalism.

Keynote Lecture: Friday 5th May 5:15 Geography Lecture Theatre

Disrupting the environment: Eco-communities and the reconfiguration of place

Self-build, self-organised and collective attempts to provide homes and livelihoods in rural Britain are driving the growth of eco-communities. These grassroot, often deep green ideologically-driven projects are benefitting from state support for self-build and, in Wales, One Planet Development legislation allowing low impact lifestyles in previously restricted greenfield sites. These eco-communities are radically reconfiguring landscapes from farmland to permaculture gardens, off-grid homes and learning spaces. Such projects are putting into practice new forms of nature-culture relations and new social relations. They are building new forms of lived-in peopled landscapes that are not so much a nostalgic quest for a rural idyll of the past, but rather new climate change resilient dynamic places where the inseparability of people and the environment is understood and practised. This lived environment disrupts conventional notions of nature in multiple and challenging ways. The environment is being reconfigured to accommodate the new socio-materialities of eco-communities and, in so doing, map out an alternative environmental future. The possibilities and implications of these disruptions are examined using empirical examples from recent research in Britain.

Keynote speaker at CIG2017, UCC