The Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network PhD Lab were recently awarded a Student Experience Grant (University of Edinburgh) which supported a research retreat to Cove Park between the 12th-15th May.
The attending students, representing a range of disciplinary approaches and institutions, were treated to the beautiful landscapes surrounding Cove Park, glorious weather for sessions in the surroundings as well as to Cove Park’s well-stocked library, meeting rooms and studio spaces. The group were also pleased that the 2023 international SGSAH Earth Scholar, Sonja Åman (University of Oslo) was able to join and contribute to the retreat.
The group took part in a workshop on ritual and more-than-human encounters, led by Yuning Chen; a more-than-human storytelling game, led by Marion Troxler; group activities focusing on the doctoral annual review process; and a workshop exploring blackout poetry, led by Matthew Lear. Space in the schedule was provided for participants to consider our chosen theme for the weekend, which was ‘Retreat(s), a framing that allowed for an exploration of the different layers of the term. Individually and collectively, we considered what ‘retreat’ might mean in relation to practices of care and/or neglect; how the language of ‘retreat’ and ‘advance’ relates to research practices, disciplinary fields and interdisciplinarity; and how we might consider ‘retreat’ in terms of our stay at Cove Park. The group reflected on our retreat from the university campus, but also on our simultaneous advance into the local community around Cove. We also thought about the concept in relation to the animal and plant species in the nearby Atlantic rainforest spaces and what kinds of retreats are available to people and more-than-human species impacted by climate change.
Ellie Bush (Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh)
Eszter Erdosi (Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh)
Felix Clarke (School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh)
Grace Garland (School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh)
Hannah Imlach (School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh)
Harriet Fraser (University of Cumbria)
Keili Koppel (Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh)
Marion Troxler (visiting researcher at Edinburgh Napier University; PhD student at the University of Bern)
Matthew Lear (School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures, University of Edinburgh)
Priyanshu Thapliyal (School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh)
Sonja Åman (visiting SGSAH Earth Scholar, University of Oslo)
Yuning Chen (Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh)
Support and guidance was provided by Dr Michelle Bastian, who kindly accompanied the students on the retreat.
The Edinburgh Student Experience Grant 2023 applicants and retreat organisational team were Eszter, Ellie, Matthew, Felix and Adam.
(Photo courtesy of Matthew Lear)