Harnessing English identity for a sustainable future

31 Jan 2018
View across green valley with trees and fields

Keats wrote of a ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ after walking through Winchester’s water meadows. Today, he would have had to contend with M3 traffic roaring through Twyford Down. Does modernity mean the association of Englishness with landscape and countryside is outdated and irrelevant? Not according to a leading environmental figure who is due to speak at the University of Winchester on 8 February.

Ruth Davis – whose talk is titled The English: People, Place and Identity? – has been Director of Greenpeace, an environmental consultant, and is currently Head of Global Conservation at the RSPB. She believes that understanding the deep connections between ourselves, where we live and our environment are key to mobilising popular support for sustainability and tackling climate change.

John Denham, Professor of English Identity and Politics at the University and former Secretary of State, said: “This talk will explore the historical and deep-rooted notion idea of the English countryside through a different lens – one that examines the tension between the need for international cooperation to tackle global problems and the intimate connection people feel with their local place and community.”

Ruth is also an active writer and campaigner. Her interests include the relationship between environmental politics, social justice and the wider politics of the common good; the importance of place and a love of nature in determining identity and fostering wellbeing; as well as the way these forces interact with economic development. Ruth was awarded an MBE for services to the environment in 2014.  

The event is hosted by the University's Centre for English Identity and Politics, which is headed by Professor Denham. The Centre explores the relationship between a growing sense of English identity and the development of local and national politics in England. 

The English: People, Place and Identity? takes place at 6.15pm on Thursday 8 February in The Stripe, King Alfred Campus, University of Winchester, Sparkford Road, Winchester, Hampshire SO22 4NR.

It is free to attend but registration is essential. Register online at www.winchester.ac.uk/ruthdavis

A cash bar will be open before and after the event.

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