Institute at Brown for Environment and SocietyIBES

About the Presenters

BLUE SKY (Earth, Itself  2019)

Earth, Itself Curator

LENORE MANDERSON has been Distinguished Visiting Professor of Environmental Science, Institute at Brown for Environment and Society (IBES), since 2014. She curated and produced Earth, Itself focuses on art/science intersections in relation to climate change; Blue Sky is the last of this series. She teaches on biodiversity and social innovation within the IE Brown Executive MBA. She is also Distinguished Professor of Public Health and Medical Anthropology in the School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand, and was previously professor at Monash, Melbourne and Queensland universities in Australia.

Panelists, Artists, Poets (alphabetical order) 

ARIELLA AZOULAY is Professor of Modern Culture and Media and Comparative Literature, Brown, a film essayist and independent curator of archives and exhibitions. Her research and forthcoming book (Potential History, 2019) explores key political concepts/institutions: archive, sovereignty, art and human rights, and is an approach that she has developed over the last decade, with far-reaching implications for the fields of political theory, archival formations and photography studies. Her books include Civil Imagination: The Political Ontology of Photography (2012) and The Civil Contract of Photography (2008).  Her photographic archive Act of State 1967-2007 is part of the Centre Pompidou collection and accessible to researchers.

JESSE BELLEMARE is a plant ecologist and associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Smith College in Northampton, MA.  His research focuses on questions related to plant conservation. In particular, he is interested in historical processes, such as past climate change and dispersal limitation in eastern North America. Building on this, he uses biogeographical approaches and ecological experiments to understand how vulnerable species might respond, or fail to respond, to rapid climate change.

CHRISTO DOHERTY was the founder of the Digital Arts Department in the Wits School of Arts where he has been responsible for launching ground-breaking programmes in Digital Animation; Interactive Media; and Game Design. He is currently Deputy Head of the School of Arts, responsible for Arts Research. He is both an artist and a scholar with a particular interest in technology and consciousness and the cultural/artistic possibilities of new media forms. He is currently working on the interconnections between  the vernacular use of digital technologies and social banditry in Africa.

KATHIE FLORSHEIM earned an M.F.A. in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Honors include a fellowship with the Institutes for Journalism and Natural Resources, and a CASE Media Fellowship awarded by the University of Maine. She is a Senior Fellow at the Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO), University of Rhode Island and is affiliated with the coastal project at Roy Carpenter's Beach, Living on the Edge (LOTE). Her photographs appear in numerous private and public collections.

JAMES W. HEAD III is the Louis and Elizabeth Scherck Distinguished Professor of Geological Sciences in the Department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences at Brown. His research centers on the study of geological processes that form and modify the surfaces, crusts and lithospheres of planets, how these processes vary with time, and how such processes interact to produce the historical geological record preserved on the planets. His research on volcanism, tectonism and glaciation includes field studies on active volcanoes in Hawaii and at Mt. St. Helens, volcanic deposits on the seafloor with three deep-sea submersible dives, five field seasons in the Antarctic Dry Valleys, and one in the Arctic.  He was recently awarded the Penrose Medal, Geological Society of America and the Shoemaker Distinguished Lunar Scientist Medal, NASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute.

PETER HEYWOOD is a Professor of Biology in the Department of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry, Brown University. He is a Fellow of the Linnean Society, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, and a recipient of the National Science Teachers Association Award for Innovations in College Science Teaching. His research interests include cell structure and function in algae, the role of agricultural intensification (the Green Revolution and agricultural biotechnologies) in providing food for expanding human populations while also maintaining the sustainability of environmental resources, and the biology of quaggas.

NANCY JACOBS is Professor of History at Brown, and an historian of South Africa, colonial Africa, the environment, animals, and knowledge about the environment and animals.  She is interested in how power works in frontiers in South Africa, in everyday lives of Africans living under European rule, in scientific collaborations, and in interspecies relationships. Her book, Birders of Africa: History of a Network, appeared in 2016, and she is presently writing a book on the African Gray Parrot.

JAMES R. KELLNER is Peggy and Henry D. Sharpe Jr. Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Brown. His research focuses on the biology of ecosystems, including the structure and changes over time of forests and trees over large geographic areas. Through a combination of environmental remote sensing, field studies, quantitative methods, and modeling, he and his students address questions in both basic and applied science from ecological and evolutionary perspectives, including tropical forests in the Amazon and Hawai’i.

AMANDA H. LYNCH is the Director of the Institute for Environment and Society and Lindemann Distinguished Professor of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences at Brown University, SA. Her research interests range from dynamical climate modeling to environmental policy and governance, with a particular focus on the Arctic region. Lynch has a long history of collaborating with Indigenous people to support the improvement of climate change adaptation policies. She supports international climate science governance through roles at WMO, UNFCCC, World Bank and USNSF, among other activities. She is co-author with Siri Veland of Urgency in the Anthropocene (2018).

ALDEN MEYER is director of strategy and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, providing oversight and strategic guidance for its advocacy on climate change, energy, transportation, scientific integrity, agriculture, and arms control issues. His principal focus is on national and international policy responses to the threat of global climate change. Before coming to UCS in 1989, Mr. Meyer served as executive director of four national organizations: the League of Conservation Voters, Americans for the Environment, Environmental Action, and the Environmental Action Foundation. He holds a B.A. from Yale University, and an M.S. in human resource and organization development from American University.

LUCIA MONGE is a Peruvian artist with a background in education and art+science collaborations. Her work explores the way humans position ourselves within the natural world and relate to other living beings, especially plants. For the past eight years she has organized Plantón Móvil, a yearly “walking forest” performance that leads to the creation of public green areas. She has exhibited widely in South America, Europe, and the United States, and at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP20). Her photograph and scuplture installation, Mi Niño, Your Dry Spell, Their Waterfall, was shown at Wits in September 2019. She holds an MFA from RISD and is Adjunct Professor in the Visual Arts Department at Brown.

TONI LYN MORELLI is a Research Ecologist with the US Geological Survey at the Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center. She obtained her B.S. in Zoology and her Ph.D. in Ecology & Evolution. She has worked on climate change impacts in New England, the Sierra Nevada, Denali National Park, Madagascar, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and elsewhere. She is currently focused on working with resource managers to improve conservation decision-making, in the face of climate change, especially in northern New England.

JACK MUSTARD (Brown PhD, ’90) seeks to understand the processes that modify and shape the surfaces of the Earth and other planetary bodies. His Earth-based studies have focused on coupled natural-human systems while for planets such as Mars and the Moon surface composition and evolution. The role of water in the history of Mars and implications for astrobiology and future Mars exploration are guiding current martian research.

KAREN O’BRIEN is a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Human Geography at the University of Oslo, Norway. Karen’s work uses an integral approach to explore and promote deliberate transformations to sustainability, with an emphasis on the role of creativity, collaboration, empowerment, and narratives in adaptation and transformation processes. She has participated in four IPCC reports and is on the Science Committee for Future Earth, a 10-year global change research initiative. She is also the co-founder of, a website that provides perspectives on transformation in a changing climate.

KRISTEN OEHLRICH is President and CEO of Triumph of Flora, LLC, an art advisory company. She has worked as a curator at MoMA, RISD Museum, and was a Fellow in the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. Kristen holds a PhD from Brown, and will complete her Executive MBA from IE/Brown this May. Her work examines the intersections of art practice with ecology, gender, and politics. She owns a farm in the Berkshires, Western Massachusetts, where, among other things, she mitigates invasive species and fosters habitat rehabilitation.

STEPHEN PORDER is an Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, a fellow in the Institute for Environment and Society, and the Assistant Provost for Sustainability at Brown University.  His research explores the limits to growth in tropical rainforests, the role of tropical agriculture in the global food supply, and the potential for, and barriers to, large scale tropical forest restoration.

THOMAS PATRICK PRINGLE is a Presidential Fellow at Brown University, where he is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Modern Culture and Media and a graduate affiliate with the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society. He has published on the intersection of media, technology, and the environment in The Journal of Film and Video and NECSUS: European Journal of Media Studies. With Gertrud Koch and Bernard Stiegler, Thomas recently co-authored the volume Machine (Minnesota/ Meson 2019).

TIMMONS ROBERTS is Ittleson Professor of Environmental Studies and Sociology at Brown and Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He directs the Climate and Development Lab, a student/faculty think tank conducting policy-relevant research with leading research institutes and community organizations for governments, businesses and NGOs.  His work recently shifted from UN climate negotiations to climate denial influence in the U.S.

DOV F. SAX is Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Deputy Director of the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society. He has co-edited two books, Foundations of Biogeography (University of Chicago Press, 2004) and Species Invasions: Insights into Ecology, Evolution and Biogeography (Sinauer Associates, 2005). His current research explores how species vary in their vulnerability to changes in climate and what conservation strategies might be employed to reduce those risks.

CAMILO VIVEROS is a trainer and organizer for racial, economic and environmental justice.  He has over 30 years of direct experience, leading organizing campaigns with tenants, youth, labor unions, students, immigrants, environmental justice activists, LGBTQ+ groups, seniors, and welfare rights organizations. Currently with the George Wiley Center, he assists groups across the country by sharing organizing tools and effective social movement building strategies. He offers trainings and workshops on community organizing, direct action, participatory action research, campaign development, community-based art, and theater of the oppressed.

COLEEN VOGEL is  a distinguished professor at the Global Change and Sustainability Institute, University of the Witwatersrand, and Project Lead, City of Johannesburg Adaptation and Climate Change. She is a climatologist by training and works on the social dimensions of climate change, focusing particularly on climate change adaptation. She has chaired and been the vice chair of international global environmental change scientific committees (e.g. IHDP and LUCC and involved in the Earth System Science Programme), and currently serves on various international boards including the African science committee of Future Earth.

DEREK WOODS is a postdoctoral fellow in the Society of Fellows and the Department of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College. He writes about ecology, science fiction, and critical theory, and contributes to the interdisciplinary field of science and technology studies. In What Is Ecotechnology?, he is concerned with the role of technology in the cultural reception of the concept of the ecosystem. His new work, The Poetics of Scale, will examine how artists and writers represent scale outside the human sensory world.

View the full schedule of events here.

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