The Climate Crisis and the Digital - connections, causes and complications
In this symposium we focus on the climate crisis and digitalization and the many connections between them since they are indeed related, yet many times not treated as such, even by scholars (Díaz-Pont et al., 2020).
This event is part of UTRI Transformation Talks in collaboration with Humlab and the department of Culture and Media Studies
The idea to arrange this event was born straight after Humlab's 20-year anniversary conference (December 2021) and can be seen as a follow-up to the dialogues held in an environmentally-profiled session about digital transformations where among others, Professor Toby Miller, guest professor at the Umeå Department of Culture and Media studies, took part.
In the time that has passed since, the hopes of a "green" re-industrialization in the north of Sweden, framed as an innovative solution to the climate problem, have grown significantly. The old narrative of the region being the nation's new "Land of the future" (Sörlin, 1988) is now re-told. The so-called green revolution includes large investments, industrial and others, in the region, involving digital techniques in many shapes and forms. The production and use of renewable energy and enough electricity supply are two critical factors in this development. At the same time, the Swedish Research Council Vetenskapsrådet is nowadays calling for more knowledge about the social consequences of digitalization. During the symposium we reflect upon these and engage in a discussion about e.g. the causes of climate change and the role of digital transformations in the handling of the many problems that we face both locally and globally. We also raise questions about how and to what extent "the digital" in itself is a root to the climate problem or whether it makes better sense to frame digitalization as a progressive force to handle the crisis?
Invited speakers to the roundtable
Professor Toby Miller, now based at Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Spain, and recently held the Stuart Hall Professor of Cultural Studies, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana—Cuajimalpa in Mexico. Miller has a long engagement when it comes to "greening" the whole field of media and communication studies (cf. Maxwell and Miller, 2012). He is an invited guest professor in Media and Communication studies at the Department of Culture and Media studies at Umeå University during 2023. For more information about Professor Miller’s work see: https://www.tobymiller.org/
Associate professor Christoffer Boman, Department of Applied Physics and Electronics. Boman specialises in sustainable bioenergy and biomaterials from residual streams and industrial by-products via high-temperature processes and is Program Manager of Bio4Energy that gathers researchers from UmU, SLU and LTU and other partners. Boman is a steering group member of Umeå Transformation Research Initiativ, UTRI. For more information about Associate professor Boman’s work see: https://www.umu.se/en/staff/christoffer-boman/
Dr Keith Larson is the Director of the Arctic Centre at Umeå University. In this role his vision is to build connectivity between research disciplines that leads to novel approaches to tackle the challenges of creating a just and sustainable Arctic. Larson’s research focuses on climate change impacts on plant communities, pollination networks, and migratory birds that cause mismatches between the timing of key life history events. Science communications and the public engagement in science is a strong feature of all his work. For more information about Dr Larson’s work see: https://www.umu.se/en/staff/keith-larson/
Professor Annika Egan Sjölander, from Media and Communication studies, is coordinating Umeå Transformation Research Initiativ, UTRI since 2022 and leads a research program about the role of communication when it comes to creating more sustainable societies in the Anthropocene. Journalism and different kinds of citizen dialogues in complex decision-making processes are often studied here. For more information about Professor Egan Sjölander’s work see: https://www.umu.se/personal/annika-egan-sjolander/
Dr Evelina Liliequist, postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Regional Science, CERUM and affiliated researcher at Humlab, Umeå University, and affiliated researcher in the TechnAct research cluster at Gothenburg University. For more information about Dr Liljeqvist’s work see: https://www.umu.se/en/staff/evelina-liliequist/
Díaz-Pont, J.; Maeseele, P., Egan Sjölander, A.; Mishra, M. & Foxwell-Norton, K. (Eds) (2020). The Local and the Digital in Environmental Communication. UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
Maxwell, R. and Miller, T., 2012. Greening the media. Oxford University Press.
Sörlin, S. 1988. Framtidslandet: Debatten om Norrland och naturresurserna under det industriella genombrottet (With a summary in English: The Land of the Future: The Debate on Norrland and Its Natural Resources at the Time of the Industrial Breakthrough), Stockholm: Carlsson Bokförlag.
This is a hybrid event with the possibility to particpate both on site and online. To participate online, you will need to sign up. Register using the form below and we will send you the link to the online meeting.