The recent UN Climate Change Conference has clearly demonstrated that the climate debate requires urgent intervention. To begin with, there is a need for new, constructive language and adequate metaphors. The way in which the greatest planetary challenges and their possible solutions are presented also requires rethinking. With this ambitious goal in mind, we need to understand that these new ways of communicating about climate-related challenges can only emerge at the intersections of science, literature and art.
The creation of new, compelling metaphors is only possible if literature becomes receptive to the insights of science. On the other hand, it is impossible to engage convincingly with the latest scientific developments without understanding that the rational mind is not the only means of knowing and experiencing reality. Poetry and art also offer important insights into the world. The mutual influence of different disciplines and ways of looking at reality – scientific and poetic – could mark the beginning of a profound transformation of ecological narratives.
13:00 – 14:30 – Session 1
On the possibility of an alliance between the natural sciences and the arts in counteracting climate change
- Julia Fiedorczuk, University of Warsaw
- George Marschall, Climate Outreach
- Piotr Skubała, University of Silesia
Moderator: Marta Werbanowska, University of Vienna
14:35 – 16:00 – Session 2
How to build, communicate and teach „ecological intelligence”
- Eva Meijer, artist
- Zoë Skoulding, Bangor University
- Aleksandra Gołdys, EIT Climate-KIC
Moderator: Grzegorz Czemiel, Maria Curie Skłodowska University in Lublin
The project is supported by a series of lectures on the climate debate:
„Why science needs art” – Grzegorz Czemiel
Evidence-based science is our most reliable source of knowledge about the world. Meteorology, oceanography, physics, chemistry and other natural sciences study the structure and dynamics of Earth’s climate system, forming a body of research known as climate science. Climate science is the foundation upon which we must build our strategies to address the current planetary emergency. However, as many scientists note, scientific data is notoriously difficult to communicate. The dry, scientific language lacks the affective power necessary to truly reach a broader audience. In this talk, botanist and poet Grzegorz Czemiel analyzes the limitations science encounters in articulating its achievements. Opening up the scientific community to new ways of talking about the world not only leads to building bridges between different disciplines and fields of knowledge but also to creating entirely new ways of exploring the world and our place in it.
„On the concept of ecological intelligence” – Julia Fiedorczuk
The lecture will attempt to formulate the concept of “ecological intelligence”, a concept that belongs to the “third culture” and integrates scientific knowledge and the forms of competence developed through literature and art. It is now widely known that the ecological crisis is primarily a crisis of the imagination. Despite sufficient knowledge of the planetary emergency, world leaders are not taking adequate action to counteract runaway climate change. The problem is not technical in nature; rather, it is a lack of vision. Neither the dryly scientific language nor the technocratic language of institutions can articulate a vision of a truly sustainable culture. “Ecological Intelligence” involves ways of knowing that cannot be limited to traditional, instrumental approaches to the environment. This talk will demonstrate how art and literature, including poetry, learn from science and complement it with their own methodologies in ways that activate imagination and empathy.
- Julia Fiedorczuk (Poland), poet, writer, translator and researcher, has published extensively on ecocriticism and ecopoetics. She holds an academic post at the Institute of English Studies at Warsaw University. Her first poetry collection „Listopad nad Narwią” (November by the River Narew) was awarded the Polish Association of Book Publisher’s prize. She is also a recipient of the Hubert Burda Award (Austria) and the Szymborska Prize (for „Psalms,” 2018). She is a co-founder (with Filip Springer) of the School of Ecopoetics at Warsaw’s Institute of Reportage. She is a columnist for Przekrój and for the most popular Polish weekly, Polityka. Her last novel „Pod Słońcem” was published in 2020. Her work has been translated into over 20 languages.
- George Marshal (United Kingdom) – George has 30 years of experience at all levels of communications and advocacy – from community-level protest movements to senior positions in Greenpeace and the Rainforest Foundation to advisory roles for governments, businesses and international agencies. He is an award-winning documentary maker and writes regularly on climate change issues, including articles for The Guardian, The New Statesman, New Scientist and The Ecologist.
- Piotr Skubała (Poland) – Professor of biological sciences, PhD from the Faculty of Natural Sciences at the University of Silesia in Katowice. Soil ecologist, acarologist (dealing with the ecology of Oribatida soil mites), environmental philosopher, educator and climate activist, ethic expert for the European Commission in Brussels (HORIZON 2020), member of the GMO and GMM commission working under the Ministry of the Environment, a contributor to the monthly magazines “AURA. Ochrona środowiska” [Aura. Environmental Protection] and “Dzikie życie” [Wild Life], co-organiser of Environmental Culture Festival “Zielono Mi” [I’m feeling Green], organiser and co-host of meetings held by the Environmental Thought Club.
- Grzegorz Czemiel (Poland) holds a Ph.D. in the humanities from the University of Warsaw and is Assistant Professor at the Institute of English Studies, Maria Curie Skłodowska University in Lublin. His academic interests include English language poetry, cartography, and ecological criticism and philosophy, with an emphasis on speculative realism. He has published a monograph on Ciaran Carson (Peter Lang, 2014) and articles on contemporary poetry and speculative realism. He is also a translator of academic and essayistic prose and poetry.
- Aleksandra Gołdys (Poland) – Education Design Developer at EIT Climate-KIC. Her role is to co-design the educational dimension in all the innovative processes that Climate-KIC is leading in our region. She works with partners: universities, schools, municipalities and entrepreneurs – all those who focus on systemic change for a sustainable future.
- Eva Meijer (Netherlands) – artist, writer, philosopher and singer-songwriter. Meijer has written eleven books and her work has been translated into eighteen languages. As a visual artist, Meijer works in different media, ranging from performance art, music theatre, installation, video, drawing and photography. She is currently working on new drawings. As a singer-songwriter, she has released four albums and two EP’s and has played concerts in The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, England and the USA.
- Zoë Skoulding (Wales) is a poet and literary critic interested in translation, sound and ecology. She is a Professor of Poetry and Creative Writing at Bangor University. Her collections of poetry (published by Seren Books) include The Mirror Trade (2004); Remains of a Future City (2008), shortlisted for Wales Book of the Year; The Museum of Disappearing Sounds (2013), shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry; and Footnotes to Water (2019), which was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and won the Wales Book of the Year Poetry Award 2020. In 2020 she also published The Celestial Set-Up (Oystercatcher) and A Revolutionary Calendar (Shearsman). She received the Cholmondeley Award from the Society of Authors in 2018 for her body of work in poetry and is a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales.
- Marta Werbanowska (Poland) is a postdoctoral University Assistant at the Department of English and American Studies, University of Vienna, Austria. She obtained her Ph.D. in English from Howard University in 2019. Her research and teaching interests include African American and Caribbean literature with a focus on poetry, poetics of social and environmental/climate justice, Environmental Humanities, and Black Studies. Her work has been published in ISLE and the CLA Journal, among others. In 2014-15, she was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte. She is currently working on her first book project, tentatively titled African American Ecopoetics and Black Atlantic Ecological Thinking.
- Marta Marczuk (Poland) – Partner and co-founder in Lata Dwudzieste company. A person who is extremely worried about the planet and environment, so helps businesses and institutions to make their products and strategies friendly for them, for people, and for Our Planet.
- Magdalena Budziszewska (Poland) – psychologist and researcher at the Faculty of Psychology, University of Warsaw. My research focus lies in narrative analysis, qualitative methods in psychology, emotions, identity, and development in the life course. I have earlier research expertise in family psychology, social identity, understanding inequality. Besides academic activity, I also had a few years’ experience as a practitioner, psychotherapist, and school psychologist. Currently, in my research, I focus on experiences, knowledge, and emotions related to changing climate and environment, including climate anxiety and depression, as well as the psychology of collective action. I am also a co-founder of the University of Warsaw Climate initiative.
- Maciej Jakubowiak (Poland) – Born 1987, essayist, literary critic, doctor of literary studies, editor of the magazine Dwutygodnik. Author of the books “Last People. Inventing the End of the World „(premiere on August 18, 2021) and” Inevitable plagiarism. Copyright in modern literary discourse ”(2017). His texts can also be found in „Tygodnik Powszechny”, „Polityka”, „Znak” and „Scripture”. From 2021, the juror of the Literary Award of the Capital City of Of Warsaw. Vegan, wife, daughter, two dogs, comes from Żory, lives in Krakow.
- Andrzej Marzec (Poland)- Philosopher, film critic, vlogger („Widma Marca”), editor of „Czas Kultury”. His research interests focus on deconstruction, hauntology, object-oriented ontology and contemporary alternative cinema. The author of a book: „Widmontologia. Teoria filozoficzna i praktyka artystyczna ponowoczesności” (2015). and „Antropocień” (2021).