In September 2016, the Scottish parliament voted narrowly in favour of a ban on fracking; US shale gas however arrived at Ineos plant in Scotland in the same month. Meanwhile, energy companies still hold licenses to carry out petroleum exploration in the North. In Lancashire, the local council’s rejection of a fracking site has been overturned to pave the way for shale company Cuadrilla to drill in the county. Singapore, where I am from, is expanding her coastline and filling new man-made islands with sand from Cambodia. Global Witness criticises this excessive sand dredging in the Koh Kong Province in Cambodia, where the unstainable purchase of sand has devastated the rivers and affected local fishing communities. The multiple threats and cases of anthropogenic action and inaction call into question notions of mediality and agency. In the face and aftermath of referendums and elections, where spaces are contested and environments are irrevocably altered, we are also witnessing new waves of resistance and challenges to existing state apparatuses.
The workshop aims to address issues relating to human and non-human agency, in a supposed climate of what American journalists call ‘post-truth’, where ‘alternative facts’ can undermine ‘expert knowledge’ and objective facts. In the current geopolitical climate and entangled environment, it becomes necessary to ask how humanities scholars can participate more actively. Does this entail a closer collaboration with scholars from other disciplines and fields, in an attempt to become more ‘inter-disciplinary’? Or does this also mean we must perform better, and ‘perform or else’ (Jon McKenzie 2001, Perform or Else)? If we were to perform, do we act as a collective species, i.e. human beings vis-à-vis other species in a shared environment? How would we even begin to describe or recognise this environment?
Carl Lavery, Professor of Theatre and Performance (Theatre, Film and Television Studies), University of Glasgow
Wallace Heim, Writer, Independent Researcher
Pauline Phemister, Professor of Philosophy, University of Edinburgh
Hayden Lorimer, Chair of Cultural Geography, University of Glasgow
Tim Barker, Senior Lecturer in Digital Media, University of Glasgow
Cara Berger, Lecturer in Drama, University of Manchester
Minty Donald, Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Performance Practices, University of Glasgow
Alvin Eng Hui Lim, Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh; National University of Singapore
Contact: Alvin Eng Hui Lim