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Staff from Durham and Uppsala Universities gathered together during the visit to Sweden

A delegation of our staff has visited Uppsala University in Sweden to strengthen our strategic partnership and discuss how humanities can be applied to boost the response to the climate crisis.

As part of Durham’s strategic partnership with Uppsala, Professor Janet Stewart, Executive Dean (Arts and Humanities), the Deputy Executive Dean (Global) for Social Sciences and Humanities and representatives from the Institute of Medical Humanities and the Departments of Theology, English, History and Philosophy visited Uppsala on 22-23 November 2023.  

The trip follows our Vice-Chancellor’s visit to Uppsala in February, during which both institutions agreed to renew the partnership agreement for a further five years, and a trip to Durham by an Uppsala delegation in May. 

The Durham delegation met senior representatives from Uppsala’s Departments of English, Literature, History of Science and Ideas, Centre for Gender Research and Health and Earth Sciences as well as the Centre for Environment and Development Studies. The itinerary included meetings between Durham and Uppsala academics with expertise in complementary disciplines, workshops and a tour of Uppsala’s Centre for Environment and Development Studies (CEMUS).  Both Durham and Uppsala are ranked as top 30 global universities on sustainability. 

A key part of the relationship with Uppsala University to-date has been a mutual commitment to supporting joint research and education projects, which have been selected and financed through a joint Strategic Development Fund.    

The Strategic Development Fund has financed a total of 23 joint projects. With an investment of €400,000 by Durham and Uppsala, these projects have secured over €2m of additional research funding. Initial investment from both universities, known as seedcorn funding, led to a €1m award from the Swedish Research Council on Disassembling the power of high-carbon imaginaries”. A further seedcorn project is bringing together Durham and Uppsala colleagues to develop joint education collaboration programmes on sustainability. 

Professor Janet Stewart said: “Climate change poses a great threat to humanity. The environmental humanities play a crucial role in producing solutions to environmental problems, and, crucially, in understanding how these problems arose and in assessing and shaping the values which underpin environmental decision-making, in order to ensure that we are better equipped to meet the challenge presented by climate change. Like Uppsala, Durham is a university recognised for its serious commitment to sustainability. Our visit builds on our existing partnership with Uppsala. Together, we will work to shape global responses to climate change through deploying our expertise in environmental humanities.”  

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