Posts Tagged ‘nuclear waste’

Before it is too late?

Wednesday, August 4th, 2021

Cornelius Holtorf presented a paper entitled “Before it is too late? Narrating Nuclear Legacies Beyond Risk” in a session on “Nuclear Narratives” at the STREAMS – Transformative Environmental Humanities conference, organized by KTH, Stockholm (4 August 2021)

Nuclear narratives are most commonly stories of risk, whether that is the risk of radioactive contamination of the environment or, increasingly, the risk of loss of nuclear cultural heritage.

In his paper, Holtorf asked what it could mean to tell nuclear narratives and stories about nuclear cultural heritage that do not feature notions of risk. Such alternative nuclear narratives may be exemplified by pioneering nuclear artist James Acord’s explorations of practices of transmutation and alchemy and by the current political rehabilitation of nuclear energy for mitigating climate change, e.g. in the context of “Greens for nuclear energy“.

 

Heritage Processes and Nuclear Waste

Monday, June 14th, 2021

Cornelius Holtorf presented at the second capacity-building workshop of the Expert Group on Awareness Presentation, which is part of the Nuclear Energy Agency’s Working Party on Information, Data and Knowledge Management at the OECD. Even Anders Högberg participated.

During the session, held on 14 June 2021, the 30+ participants discussed the significance of understanding human behaviour in all its complexity. In relation to mechanisms of awareness preservation we will need to shift focus: from creating to consuming, from intentions to impacts, and from assets to outcomes. This requires understanding social and cultural processes, and entering the realm of the human sciences, including anthropology, sociology, psychology, etc.

In each specific context anticipated, we need to be asking questions such as

  1. What’s happening?
  2. Who’s involved or affected?
  3. In what socio-cultural context?
  4. With what socio-cultural consequences?

In a second step, we need to learn how to manage processes changing over time: how can we today facilitate certain socio-cultural processes in novel futures which will be changing further with time? This will require not to be creating continuities but to be facilitating discontinuities (constituting meta-continuities). How this can be achieved is a difficult question and there are no ready answers.

Review of Deep time reckoning

Sunday, June 13th, 2021

My review of Vincent Ialenti’s (2020) Deep time reckoning: how future thinking can help Earth now, MIT Press, has now been published in the journal Time and Mind.
Open access for the first 50 who click here!

Futures Literacy and Nuclear Waste

Monday, May 10th, 2021

Anders Högberg presented at the first capacity-building workshop of the Expert Group on Awareness Presentation, which is part of the Nuclear Energy Agency’s Working Party on Information, Data and Knowledge Management at the OECD. Even Cornelius Holtorf participated.

The session, held on 10 May 2021, was dedicated to Futures Literacy and featured even a keynote lecture by Richard Sandford (UCL) who concluded with the following slide:

During the session, the 37 participants began to realise how they were using the future in various ways to inform specific actions and started to examine their own anticipatory assumptions regarding long-term communication of nuclear waste disposal sites. They also started to understand that the uncertainty of the future is not something that can or must be controlled but that it is instead important to learn how to embrace uncertainty in our present in order to reduce future uncertainty.

A next step is acquiring the capability of how to imagine alternative futures, and so the discussion will continue…

Understanding future recipients of our messages

Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

The first regular meeting of the Expert Group on Awareness Preservation, which is part of the Working Party on Information, Data and Knowledge Management at the OECD’s Nuclear Energy Agency, took place 7-8 April 2021.

Its Chair, Martin Kunze, emphasised that the group will continue the previous work of the NEA on Records, Knowledge and Memory but shift the emphasis from designing and transmitting messages on nuclear waste deposits to understanding its future recipients. 

Both Cornelius Holtorf and Anders Högberg contributed with presentations. Cornelius outlined a necessary shift of thinking from preserving objects to anticipating social processes and embracing change, based on current thinking in Heritage Studies. Anders introduced related ideas about futures consciousness and futures literacy, emphasising the need to avoid imposing our own ideas onto the future and to try and accommodate decisions made in future presents.

Nuclear Sanctuary

Tuesday, March 30th, 2021

Today, members of the Chair met with Sam Collins and Sho Murayama who recently completed their Masters Thesis in the Political Architecture: Critical Sustainability Programme at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts School of Architectur in Copenhagen.

Collins and Murayama describe their thesis Nuclear Sanctuary as “a pilgrimage through the complex culture of Nuclear France”:

The project looks to re-articulate the nuclear story through architectural narrative, becoming a cognitive tool to speculate on how nuclear culture will be perceived in the future. Reactivating the decomissioned power plant Chooz A to stand as a monumental marker in time, the Nuclear Sanctuary presents a window into the future through the past, situated in the present.

Maybe French nuclear culture in 50 years from now will be perceived predominantly as the foundation of the environmental movement and a powerful inspiration for the arts. Maybe there will be a movement to keep the energy alive…

Dossier on Nuclear Energy in Die Presse

Wednesday, March 10th, 2021

Cornelius Holtorf was interviewed by Konradin Schuchter about long-term memory regarding nuclear waste disposal sites for an article published as part of a Dossier on Nuclear Energy in the Austrian daily national newspaper Die Presse (9 March 2021).

Another interview partner was our collaborator Martin Kunze of the Memory of Mankind initiative.

Schuchter wrote, among others:

Der Archäologe Cornelius Holtorf von der schwedischen Linné-Universität ist der Meinung, dass es unmöglich ist, vernünftig vorauszusagen, welche Bedeutung unser atomares Erbe für zukünftige Generationen haben wird. Holtorf verfolgt die Debatte rund um die Atommüll-Endlagerung schon seit einiger Zeit und ist auch in unterschiedlichen Expertengremien zu dem Thema vertreten. Er betont, dass die Bedeutung nicht im radioaktiven Material selbst liege, sondern, dass sich diese immer erst durch den interpretativen Rahmen des Rezipienten konstituiere.

Cultural heritage and the Future – the book is out!

Monday, December 7th, 2020

Now published with Routledge:

Cornelius Holtorf and Anders Högberg (eds) 2021, Cultural Heritage and the Future. London and New York: Routledge. 290 pp. eBook/pbk/hbk

Preview and table of content available here.

Cultural heritage and the future is a field of research and practice that has been developing over the past few years. The present volume was originally devised in 2012, related to a session on the same topic which we co-organized for the First Conference of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The volume contains a wide range of contributions discussing examples from many parts of the world that raise important issues about the interrelations between cultural heritage and the future. Taken as a whole, we believe that the book will contribute significantly to building capacity in futures thinking and futures literacy among researchers and practitioners throughout the heritage sector.

Memory across generations

Tuesday, November 17th, 2020

Our work concerning memory across generations has found its way into the 2020 Report of the Swedish Nuclear Waste Council to the Swedish Government (Swedish Government Inquiries, SOU 2020:9). The report was first published earlier this year in Swedish but is now also available in English.

The report contains in chapter 7 over several pages a summary of the results of our Workshop “Information and memory for future decision making – radioactive waste and beyond” held in May 2019 in Stockholm.