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Well-being, Ecology, Gender, and cOmmunity

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - WEGO (Well-being, Ecology, Gender, and cOmmunity)

Reporting period: 2018-01-01 to 2019-12-31

As the first international feminist political ecology research network of its kind, WEGO-ITN aspires to tackle socio-ecological challenges linked to policy agendas. This innovative and path-breaking project will help local communities to build resilient, equitable and sustainable futures. The goal of WEGO-ITN is to provide research that will demonstrate to policy makers how communities actively sustain and care for their environment and community well-being. Ultimately, WEGO will collectively provide important guides to strategies of resilience and sustainability that are required for meeting the SDGs. From 2018-2022 WEGO-ITN will develop a shared research and training agenda in order to educate the next generation of interdisciplinary social environmental scientists on feminist political ecology in Europe. The network will look in detail at local communities’ coping strategies to build resilient, equitable and sustainable futures and how they link to global sustainable development policies. The research will focus on diverse economic and ecological practices that create new forms of gender relations, livelihoods and care activities, in response to growing lack of resilience of the economy and ecosystem.

Objectives

WEGO’s first aim is to establish a vibrant European network of excellence on FPE that will link researchers, communities and policy makers for maximum impact in the environment and development policy arena, and positive change for the communities involved in the research. In these two years, WEGO has been successful in building a strong core network of FPE scholars that is now beginning to see fruition with a number of publications already published and several planned, conference sessions planned and papers given and receiving invitations from several closely related networks to join forces, specifically the degrowth network and the community economies research network, the network Revaluing Care in the Global Economy and The International Association for Feminist Economics (IAFFE).

WEGO’s second aim is to create a new generation of early stage researchers (ESRs) in a societally relevant research platform. In these two years, WEGO has now developed a solid core of 15 ESRs who are successfully bringing the FPE approach to a variety of contexts – ranging from political art, to grassroots workshops and high school teaching. The contribution to social media and the Undisciplined environment blog is particularly promising.

WEGO’s third aim is to consolidate FPE as a key conceptual approach to resilience and sustainability by bringing fresh perspectives on gender to the policy space on environment and development being opened up by the SDGs. This third area is still to be achieved as data and information and different venues are being explored ready for the proposed roundtables in 2020.
WEGO-ITN is developing a robust and societally relevant framework that is establishing a dynamic feminist political ecology approach to environment and development at the local and global level. WEGO was launched on 8 March 2018 in The Hague with 120 participants from around Europe. The ESRs began their PhDs in September the same year with an introductory orientation and training on academic writing at ISS. In the following 15 months covered by this report, the ESRs have worked with their supervisors and mentors at partner institutions planning their research and training.

Collectively, ESRs focused on ethics working towards approval by their institutions’ ethics boards. ESRs established monthly meetings on zoom and regular exchanges on WhatsApp. ESRs contributed to the WEGO website and to the setting up of the “undisciplined environments” blog. The second network training was held in Brighton 7-16 March 2019 at the University of Brighton. The training focused on ethics, participatory action research and public presentations of ESR projects in Pecha Kucha presentation.

From July to December 2019, WEGO collectively organized: a public exhibition ‘Extracting Us’ in Brighton; a panel on ‘Analyzing the politics of the everyday; a feminist political ecology perspective’ at the European Conference of Politics and Gender in Amsterdam, a 5 day PhD Summer School ‘Feminist Political Ecology: new spaces of engagement for environmental futures’ at the University of Oslo; a feminist methodology workshop at Punti Di Vista in Bolsena Italy; and established the local organising committee of the 8th International Degrowth Conference, to be held in The Hague, August 2021.
WEGO-ITN is contributing to the political ecology, feminist studies, human geography, anthropology, and development studies’ understanding of extractivism, commoning, care, communities, livelihoods, embodied subjectivities and resistance to development.

WEGO-ITN is building a grounded understanding of feminist political ecology looking how everyday practices of social difference, environmental change and political economies cross scales and shape global processes in the different ESR projects. WEGO-ITN findings are distributed through academic panels and workshops in political ecology, feminist studies, geography and development studies.

Open access publication are planned with a ‘Handbook on Feminist Political Ecology’ by Routledge in 2021 and a special section of the Journal of Peasant Studies in 2022.

WEGO reaches a wider public through the WEGO-ITN website and Undisciplined Environment blogs and partners’ networks and by contributing to local campaigns around gender and labour rights, food sovereignty, well-being and rights to health and clean water.

WEGO-ITN is developing pedagogical tools in summer schools, E-learning modules and on-line Resources on FPE.

WEGO-ITN is also actively engaged in civil society and advocacy bringing FPE perspectives to community economies and degrowth.

WEGO-ITN takes a decentralised ‘rooted networks’ approach developing its outputs, rather than this being heavily centralised and didactic, our ethics and approach commit us to fostering and expanding new networks by seeding FPE learning in multiple sites.
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