Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

SWLCONNECTIVITY Report Summary

Project ID: 657750
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.3.2.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SWLCONNECTIVITY (Sheep, Wool, Landscape and Connectivity)

Reporting period: 2016-01-10 to 2018-01-09

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The project 'Sheep, wool, landscape and connectivity' focuses on the processes involved in the evolution of three regional economies and the commodification of their agro-biological heritage, specifically as this relates to sheep and related economic activities. The three regions are the Lake District, the Catalan Pyrenees and the Maritime Alps.

The project's aims are two. The first is to understand how the development of bio-economic structures depends on managing two potentially contradictory dynamics. These are the transformative dynamics of bio-technological innovation, particularly the separation of forms of life from the specificities of particular places and their history, and the investment in the development of bio-heritage to secure the renewal of local economies. The second objective is instead to advance a more general understanding of the relational and connective dynamics involved in the construction of bio-economic assemblages, by focusing explicitly upon the assumptions about life, time and space that are involved in bio-economic processes, examining how the component parts come to be connected, and reflecting upon what is required to think about these parts without presupposing connection.

By realising these objectives, the project advances understanding of an increasingly important aspect of contemporary life.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

All research sites have been visited and the principal stake-holders at each of these sites have been interviewed. Related literature and archival records have also been identified and consulted. 

A number of seminars and workshops facilitated the analysis of the materials collected. To date, the resulting findings are reported in four articles, one published and the other three still under editorial review. Two further manuscripts are in earlier stages of preparation. These outputs articulate some of the principal theoretical problems and resources informing the development of the project. A monograph on the social, economic and political significance of bio-heritage, as well as an edited collection on the concept of connectivity, are still under development.

Finally, the development of the project has rested on close collaboration with colleagues beyond University of Groningen, principally at the University of Edinburgh and the University of Graz, and the dissemination of its finding was advanced greatly by the organisation of an international workshop on connectivity.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

A public lecture at the University of Edinburgh related the project to the commemoration of Dolly, the first cloned, transgenic sheep, and the contemporary development of synthetic biology, so drawing public attention to the project's wider significance. A number seminars and a postgraduate training workshop in the Department of History and Theory of International Relations at the University of Groningen, as well as the connections developed in the course of identifying and interviewing stake-holders across the Lake District, the Catalan Pyrenees, the Maritime Alps, have also ensured the project's widest societal impact.

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