A network of interdisciplinary scholars studying past climate change
By Andrea Williams, Colorado State University
On July 1, 2015, the Climate History Network met over lunch in Versailles, France, in conjunction with the European Society for Environmental History (ESEH) biennial conference. Seven members of the network attended this informal event, including organizers Dagomar Degroot and Sam White. We focused on the following issues: recruitment and expanding the network, conferences and other forms of collaboration, administrative tasks, and funding.
Recruitment and Expanding Membership:
We would like to expand the Climate History Network’s global reach by recruiting members from beyond the Climate History and Environmental History community. Indeed, the network aims to provide a useful resource for anyone whose research can be enriched by historical climate data. In the meeting, members suggested several ways to broaden the network, including: increased collaboration with the International Commission on the History of Meteorology, encouraging current members to recruit colleagues, bolstering the network’s presence at conferences in relevant areas of history and science, and structuring and enriching that presence through the facilitation of panels, member meetings, forums, and workshops.
Conferences and Collaboration:
The CHN organizers are open to ideas for community expression, collaboration, and exchange. Based on our discussion, it seems most practical at this point for the Climate History Network to work through established conferences, rather than organizing an independent conference. We discussed the idea of organizing a web-based, video conference event or forum, which is appealing because of its low cost and the potential for recording sessions and sharing them via the CHN website.
We hope to begin regular publication of a Climate History Network e-newsletter, which will be sent to members and posted on the website. We also plan to establish and maintain a listserv (possibly through H-Net) that will allow us to better manage and reach members. At the meeting, the organizers encouraged graduate students and other members to take on these and other administrative tasks as a way to get more involved in the academic community and gain valuable (and marketable) experience.
We discussed potential sources of funding for CHN initiatives as well as using the network to advertise and facilitate access to funding sources for climate history research. The organizers are currently targeting a few grant opportunities for the network, and they are seeking input into how potential funding might be used. The CHN website currently provides links to relevant fellowship and grant opportunities, but we would like to expand this list and keep it current by encouraging members to share opportunities as they arise.
We thank those present for a great meeting, and we look forward to seeing many more of you at ICHG this coming week. If you were not able to attend the ESEH conference and you will not be at the ICHG conference, but have suggestions for how we can continue to develop our network, feel free to contact Dagomar.