Silent Spring: Chemical, Biological and Technological Visions of the Post-1945 Environment

An AHRC collaborative skills project hosted by Birkbeck, University of London

A number of travel bursaries are available for postgraduates and early career researchers to participate in this project, which uses Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring to explore the relationship between arts and science research. Building on the first workshop, which took place at the University of York in March 2013, we are delighted to announce details for the second workshop:

June 7th 2013

School of Arts, Birkbeck, University of London

Confirmed speakers include: George Ttoouli (Warwick), John Wills (Kent), Amy Cutler (Royal Holloway)

In this now universal contamination of the environment, chemicals are the sinister and little-recognised partners of radiation in changing the very nature of the world – the very nature of its life.’ – Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, 1962.
CarsonRachel Carson’s classic polemic Silent Spring celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012: it still stands as one of the most influential texts on the damage caused to the natural environment by chemicals and nuclear fallout in the twentieth century. Taking Carson’s book as its starting point, this interdisciplinary post-graduate project aims to explore how a growing awareness of the biological, chemical and technological changes to the environment has shaped cultural explorations of nature and landscape in the post-1945 period, through visual art, literature and film. We consider both how scientists have used images and texts to communicate their ideas to the public, and how artists have responded to, used, and resisted scientific developments in their work. Through two workshops at York and Birkbeck in 2013, we are unpacking some of the complications inherent in the use of terms such as ‘nature’ and ‘environment’, and the associations embedded in them.

To find out more about the project so far, please visit www.silentspringboard.org – you can also register here to join online discussions ahead of Workshop 2.
During the afternoon section of the London workshop, each participant will have the chance to join a specialised focus group before reuniting for the final part of the day. We will be confirming details of these workshops soon.
Thanks to generous support from the AHRC, we are able to offer a limited amount of travel bursaries for up to £50 (on provision of receipts) to postgraduate students and early career researchers for travel to London for the workshop. We welcome applications from students in any of the Humanities and Sciences, including Geography, Environmental Sciences, Chemistry, History of Science, Literature, History, History of Art, Film and Theatre Studies, Fine Art and Sociology. Students with an interest in interdisciplinary exchange, whose work focuses on the post-1945 period, and is funded by the AHRC, will receive priority.
To apply for a Travel Bursary for Workshop 2 in London, please send a copy of your CV together with a statement of up to 300 words on why you are interested in attending the workshop, and how your research intersects with its themes, to silentspring2013@gmail.com by Monday 29th April 2013. In your application, please state your institutional affiliation, and whether or not your research is funded by the AHRC.
Travel Bursary Deadline: Monday 29th April 2013

To register for the workshop, please email silentspring2013@ATmail.com listing your institution (if any) and a sentence or two about your work, as well as ranking your focus group preferences.
For further details and the full schedule, please visit http://silentspringboard.org/workshop-2/

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