School of Geography, Geology and the Environment

2020 news

7 July 2020

Bringing absurdity to business thinking: a serious proposal

Since the inaugural lecture of the Anthropocene Research Group, we have reflected on the role of business schools at the time of the Anthropocene.

We have been working with our colleagues in geology and computer science to investigate the impact of business on the Earth System. Challenging the role of business schools, their reasoning and rationality, is important at this time of pandemic: we are teaching future decision makers to strategize in the “new normal”. How can we communicate this to the students and how can we cultivate symbiotic and mutualistic relationships in business and management?

We have recently published a paper that will appear in a special issue in AMLE (Academy of Management Learning and Education) on the topic “Rationality and reasoning in business schools”.

We suggest that a way out of the current climate crisis is to stimulate the creation of mutualistic organisations. The current business education has created organisations that are behaving as harmful parasites. To work through this crisis, it is necessary to adopt different forms of reasoning and imagination to reshape the narrowly focused rational basis of management education that currently stifles wider thinking. We propose to engage with pataphysics, a science subjecting dominant modes of rationality to a divergent thinking of the absurd through playful forms of reasoning. Pataphysics provides a mechanism for developing ‘imaginary solutions’ to the current situation, that can disrupt anthropocentric forms of reason and reasoning, and further serve to slow down the endless cycles of inclusion and exclusion that arise from parasite logic in business. Finally, we propose slow design as an example of an ‘imaginary solution’ that comes from this process of conceptual and practical deacceleration.

This will have major implications for management learning and education, as it requires a different logic and a creative approach, when seen through the playful and questioning learning lens of pataphysics.

3 June 2020

Vietnamese exhibition from London Design Biennale 2018 now on show to public in Hanoi

In September 2018 Vietnam participated in the London Design Biennale for the first time, led and supported by ULSB, and members of the Anthropocene research group.

The London Design Biennale is a global gathering of the world's most ambitious and imaginative designers, curators and design institutions. Vietnam was represented by a collaborative team of Vietnamese and British designers and practitioners, spearheaded by Dr Marta Gasparin, as her research on slow design supported and inspired the pavilion, with content created by Thao Vu  - Fashion Designer, Giang Nguyen - Typographer and Le Thanh Tung Video and interaction designer. The installation was curated by British multidisciplinary designer and educator Claire Driscoll.

The exhibition was a resounding success with Vietnam being the only South East Asian participating country and the only non-for-profit academic research led pavilion.

The work was generously supported by several sectors of industry and the Vietnamese Embassy London and the MOCST. The journey to London was made possible by the generous financial support from University of Leicester, Dragon Capital, Vietnam Airlines, NashTech, Vietnam-UK Network and the New World Fashion group alongside crowd funding and donor support.

18 May 2020

The Anthropocene Biosphere in Indonesia: What can we learn from biogeography and biostratigraphy?

Professor Mark Williams and PhD researcher Rachael Holmes presented at a webinar on 18 May 2020 as part of a lecture series organised and moderated by Professor Iskandar Siregar and Professor Ulfah Siregar from Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia.

Professor Mark Williams introduced the session, discussing arguments for defining the current period in Earth`s history as a new geological epoch: the Anthropocene.

Rachael Holmes followed up by providing an overview of her PhD research, investigating evidence for human-environment interaction throughout the Holocene and into the Anthropocene in Indonesia.

Rachael's research is done in collaboration with Institut Pertanian Bogor (IPB).

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