The Seed Box is an interdisciplinary and internationally oriented pilot program in Environmental Humanities funded by Mistra (The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research) and Formas (The Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences, and Spatial Planning). The long-term goal of the program is to establish a research hub and humanities lab at Linköping University – focused on environmental challenges and engaged in research, education, and artistic practices that bring together people from different fields and creates an interface between academia and other parts of society.
The Seed Box begins from the premise that nature is no longer separable from culture. Humans have created waste zones, biodiversity loss, and changes in our climate through emission of fossil fuels. And nature has brought the impacts of these changes back to us in the forms of diseases, allergies, food scarcities, and so on. In this new era—which many have named the Anthropocene, the Age of Humans—the environment is in us, and we are fully in the environment.
Accordingly, in order to meet environmental challenges today, the knowledge and capacities of the humanities and the social sciences are necessary. If natural science analyzes the bio-geo-chemical aspects of the transformations that the planet is undergoing, we also need to analyze how these affect society, culture, and everyday life. Instead of viewing the changes at a distance, the humanities, but also the arts, can offer a historically resonant, conceptually complex, and sensually rich description of the experience of environmental degradation and climate change – as something that we are part of and always entangled in. By creating new imaginaries and narratives, the gap between different fields of knowledge as well as the gaps between science, ethics, and politics can be bridged.
The Seed Box, thus, comes forth as an inter- or post-disciplinary humanities project, focusing on the problems of environmental change and how to address and understand them. Our ambition is to:
- Think through and read ecologies while still being a part of them
- Challenge dominating narratives on the environment through critical approaches, creative endeavors, and feminist and justice-oriented perspectives
- Build bridges between disparate accounts of nature and the environment