Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities
Online seminar

The Primstav Exercise

Elisabeth Schøyen Jensen, PhD candidate on the CALENDARS project at the Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities, will do a presentation in the seminar series "Phenomenal Time: perceiving ecological temporalities."

Poste for arrangementet: Kvit og rosa tekst på grøn bakgrunn, samt ein illustrasjon av ein stor, rosa blome
About the organizers: The Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network presents researchers within the humanities with a forum in which to engage with each other’s work, to share insights, and develop collaborative partnerships.
Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network

Main content

The full title of the presentation is The Primstav exercise - an engaging and creative way to draw, think and talk about local seasons and climate adaptation, and it's based on work she, Scott Bremer and Sissel Småland Aasheim have done in the CALENDARS project.

About the seminar series Phenomenal Time: perceiving ecological temporalities:

It has become a truism that time is intangible, something that escapes our everyday senses. And yet,  we find a wide range of calls within the Environmental Humanities (EH) to reconsider the conceptions of time that guide our understandings of process, coordination and social change.  Anna Tsing (2015), for example, identifies ideologies of progress as particularly detrimental for efforts to cultivate ‘arts of attention’, proposing frameworks where time is multiple, interconnected and multi-directional.  Here we are able to ‘look around’ for alternative possibilities rather than narrow ideas of what ‘lies ahead’.

Others, however, have worried that a needed reorientation within time is hampered by a lack of awareness of other possibilities. Kyle Powys Whyte (2021) has recently challenged discourses of speed and haste in relation to climate change mitigation, which reinstate colonial processes of land dispossession, arguing instead for the responsibilities inherent within ‘kinship time’. We might also think of geologist Marcia Bjornerud, who has argued that humanity is in the grip of ‘chronophobia’ (2018), unwilling to truly understand the scale of geological time and suffering from a dangerous temporal illiteracy as a result. Other avenues for approaching temporal issues such as the ecological study of phenology, or the study of timing in plants and animals, have not yet been explored by EH scholars for their possibilities.

This seminar series takes up the problem of how to conceive of alternative temporal frameworks through the problem of perception. How might we challenge the idea that time is intangible and instead foster an understanding of the ways time can be sensed in myriad ways within our environments? Our focus will be the work of scholars, artists, designers and practitioners who are exploring the question of "what is time?" from an ecological perspective, and how to encourage wider awareness of the ways these times appear in our everyday lives. A particular focus for us will be building connections with the field of phenology, drawing it into conversation with the arts and humanities.