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The Sussex Humanities Lab Environmental Strategy

Sussex Humanities Lab Carbon Use and Environmental Impact Working Group; Walton, Jo; Eldridge, Alice; Baker, James; Banks, David; Hitchcock, Tim

The Sussex Humanities Lab Environmental Strategy has two purposes. First, it is intended as an evolving point of reference for all SHL members, in formulating bids, planning activities, and operating in our working groups. Second, it is intended as a call to action that we hope will inspire our field, our partners, and our collaborators.  Current and initial goals include:

  • Exploring and mitigating the carbon intensity and ecological impact of our work in SHL.
  • Advocating for environmental impact to be clearly incorporated into how funders evaluate research proposals and award funding (with UKRI our priority).
  • Fostering conversation with other Digital Humanities (DH) groups, seeking to demonstrate (and where possible to quantify) the resource intensity of DH work, and to feed the reality of the ecological emergency into shared research agendas.
  • Thinking critically about the materiality of the digital. This means exploring the role of the digital in transitioning to a low carbon society. It means challenging the association of the digital with the ‘ethereal’, energy neutral and infinitely replenishable.
  • Resisting the ‘siloing’ of environmental perspectives, and instead threading them throughout our research. Our work is fantastically diverse, so this will mean very different things for different researchers. But environmental emergency leaves no field unaltered.
  • Thinking critically and creatively about how we do academic work, and how we might do it. This means both conducting experiments and creating fora for sharing our experiences.
  • Rejecting the notion of a trade-off between voluntary environmental responsibility and large-scale system change. Small-scale, ‘everyday’ interventions should go hand-in-hand with advocating for system change.

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