What we do

The Centre for Environmental Humanities is a group of scholars at the University of Bristol working on environmental issues from humanities perspectives.

We recognise that entangled in the environmental issues that face our global community are matters of human behaviour, beliefs, values, and structures; and that critical approaches to human-environment interactions past, present and future, are essential.

The Centre supports and promotes Environmental Humanities work taking place at Bristol. We host public lectures and research seminars; build links with external partners; and connect with other groups, Centres and individuals working on EH issues around the world.

We are a thriving research community with members from all career stages, from postgraduate to professor.

Why a Centre for Environmental Humanities?

Environmental change, for good or ill, is one of the world’s most pressing issues. The arts and humanities have a vital contribution to make to scholarship and public debate. The Centre for Environmental Humanities is a forum for sharing and developing expertise on humanity’s interactions with nature through history, literature, and lived experience. We aim to promote collaboration and conversation, highlighting the opportunities for working together in academic fields that have traditionally relied on individual researchers pursuing isolated projects.

We are based at the University of Bristol, supported by the Faculty of Arts and associated with the university’s Cabot Institute for the Environment.

Our activities include outreach work with local museums and galleries, academic research seminars and events, and funding collaborative research activities. Our members are drawn from the disciplines of History, English Literature, Modern Languages, Geography, Philosophy, and more. Many of us work with social and natural scientists, as well as heritage groups, non-governmental organisations and policymakers, to ask questions that go beyond disciplinary boundaries – and to provide answers.


Our agenda

Our agenda is driven by members’ interests, which often fall under three broad themes:

  1. The Anthropocene in global and local perspective. Scientists, humanities scholars and others increasingly believe that human forces have altered the Earth’s system so much that we now live in a new geological epoch: the Anthropocene. Finding ways to live in this new world is our century’s most urgent challenge. To respond, we must understand how this global change plays out in local places, and how local actions can help keep the planet a pleasant home for us.
  2. The natural environment and heritage. From mountain glaciers to urban foxes, the environment is part of human heritage. Our members investigate the cultural value of ‘nature’, particularly in light of changing landscapes and species loss.
  3. The climate crisis and natural disasters. Climate change, increasing urbanisation and global inequality puts modern society at ever-greater risk from floods, droughts, earthquakes, volcanoes and other natural hazards. Our members work with scientists and policymakers to understand how culture can play a role in reducing disaster risk.

Follow us

Follow us on Twitter @UoBrisCEH.