Atlas Making

Talk by Chris Walzer: On the European Union’s project funding system and its ritual culture

Chris Walzer introduced us to the world of the EU projects with two practical examples of his own work as project manager.
The first case-study was the Alpine Space Programme (http://www.alpine-space.eu/home/), and by going through the different stages of a large-scale project, Chris exposed the procedure and its shortcomings.
During the talk he tackled a vast and diverse amount of topics:
  • Applying for projects
  • How knowledge is produced by experts through ‘workshops’
  • The complicated relations among Policy makers, Stakeholders and Scientists (including the so-called stakeholder burn-out)
  • How crucial it is to define a Vision through the development of a vision statement: a common direction explained in one sentence, which all partners must understand and agree.
  • The difficulties in bridging the knowledge gaps.
  • The problems in translating the vast and complex array of research  data into a simplified information understandable for decision-makers. Uncertainty and complexity doesn’t communicate well outside the scientific realm.
  • Multidisciplinary and Interdisciplinary: How to move from an additive to an integrated result?
  • How transnational cooperations work: communication problems due to the misuse of the English language. The importance of recognizing and appreciating cultural-working traits.
  • Official evaluations: mostly finantial. Claims for a more content-based evaluation system.
The second study-case presented was the Recharge Green project (http://www.recharge-green.eu/). The project seeks ways of balancing the implementation of renewable energy structures in the Alps and the increasing pressures on nature this entails.
Chris informed us on the impact of hydro-powerplants in the Alps, the power of mass-media regarding opinion-shaping of the populations involved, the demands for expansion of renewable energies?
He also introduced a few popular notions regarding the topic: Green economy and green jobs, and the Ecosystem services (monetarisation of nature)
Finally, he presented a network analysis based on questionnaires showcasing the links among stakeholders.

Maps are Territories: Science is an Atlas/Turnbull

In the context of the Atlas-making project, Isidora, Sebastian and Stefanie presented the book-website Maps are Territories (http://territories.indigenousknowledge.org/).
The exposé focused on the impossibility for objectivity in maps, how the way the territories are represented is dependent on context and point of view, and the inter-subjectivities present in non-Western mappings.
The website presents the information in a series of ‘Exhibits’ and is non-exhaustive but highly informative.  Exhibit 6 is a compendium of questions, acting as an invitation for a critical approach to maps. It might be useful as a starting point for the students intending to take part in the Atlas-making project.

Fact Box

October 28, 2014, 09:30h