NOK 8,25 million to examine extinction and recovery histories

In an impressive win for environmental humanities research at UiS, Professor Dolly Jørgensen has secured funding for two projects from the Norwegian Research Council (NFR)’s SAMKUL program. Both projects are hosted by The Greenhouse, a UiS program area on environmental humanities.

The research project “Beyond Dodos and Dinosaurs: Displaying Extinction and Recovery in Museums” examines how species extinction and recovery histories have been remembered and displayed publicly in museums from the 19th century to today. The project is funded by the research council for 8.25 million kroner.

Jørgensen believes the project has immediate relevance: “While the extinction of the dodo and the end of dinosaurs are the first things many people think of when they hear 'extinction', we are right now living through the Earth's sixth great faunal extinction event. Unlike with the dodos and dinosaurs, extinction now is being recorded as entangled human history as it happens. How we tell those stories can potentially affect how we act to address current extinction challenges.”

The project includes jointly developing a museum exhibit with Aust-Agder Museum and Archive on how European beavers were saved from extinction in Scandinavia. Åmli in Aust-Agder was the last remaining home of beavers in the Nordic countries by 1900.

The exhibit will be hosted in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the first reintroduction of beavers from Norway to Sweden in 2021.

The networking project “In the Clouds” will support the development of a forthcoming exhibit on clouds at the Stavanger Art Museum. The project asks: How does the modern computing cloud relate to longer human engagement with clouds as physical, technological and emotional objects?

Jørgensen will organize a three-day Artscience workshop together with the Stavanger Art Museum to create a space for presentations, facilitated discussion, and encounters with other disciplinary approaches.

The goal is to produce a collection of essays as a companion to the exhibit and to inspire several artists who will be commissioned to create bespoke contemporary art works for display.

“In both of these projects I wanted to cultivate relationships with museums,” Jørgensen said. “It’s really important that we academics work with the museum sector who has direct access to more diverse audiences. By bringing our research into museums we have the chance to reach everyone from school kids to retirees.”

With these two NFR projects, The Greenhouse and UiS solidify their position in the growing field of environmental humanities in the Nordic countries.

Contact info: Professor Dolly Jørgensen, Department of Cultural Studies and Languages,

Sist oppdatert av Elin Nyberg (19.06.2018)

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Stegosaurus skeleton
The project examines how extinction has been presented in Museums. The photograph shows the display of a Stegosaurus skeleton. (Photograph: Wikimedia Commons)

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