The contribution of the amateur to understanding environmental change

Earlier this week I presented some new material on lay knowledge and climate at an event organised by Georgina Endfield and Carol Morris at the University of Nottingham. The event was sponsored by the British Academy and related to their recent work with amateur meteorologists in the UK.  Here cultures of enthusiasm and ways of knowing were brought together in the figure of the amateur, citizen scientist, lay person and enthusiast. My own paper drew on the experiences of a retired National Trust warden and the blurred position they hold as both an amateur/lay-person/professional. The main thrust of my paper was to highlight the messy and contradictory positions and ideas we all hold in light of environmental change, drawing on our local experiences of those landscapes familiar to us and forming our everyday. I concluded by arguing for a re-population of the environmental change discourse with colourful characters (like the eccentric amateurs from yesteryear) in order to approach issues such as climate change from a position of hope and for the love of it. This event really marked a departure in my work – drawing together my fascination with the figure of the enthusiast and expert ways of knowing AND my new research on climate and the ways it might change. Paper title: To have a field day – familiar landscapes, lay knowledge and climate change.

One thought on “The contribution of the amateur to understanding environmental change

  1. Pingback: Enthusiasm and Citizen Science « The Culture of Enthusiasm

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