Narratives for Ecological and Sustainable Transition(s)

The Research Network

The N.E.S.T. Research Network unites early career postdoctoral researchers from diverse European universities and backgrounds to address the global challenges of climate change through the study of narratives capable of raising awareness, addressing ethical concerns, and offering alternatives to ecological crises in local communities. 

This project is funded by the European Union (NextGenerationEU) and the Italian Ministry of University and Research (MUR) - Fondo Promozionee Sviluppo throught the DM 737/2021*

A (G)locally-focused European Project

The network aims to transform societal perceptions of the environmental urgencies not only by highlighting the interconnectedness between humans and nonhumans but also challenging the anthropocentric and dualistic axioms that have led to the Anthropocene by prompting more sustainable lifestyles. The project engages with updated scholarly debates on ecocriticism, posthumanism, and education within the context of Environmental Humanities in two primary ways: 

On a more theoretical level, N.E.S.T. investigates textual representations of environmental issues in critical European areas, intending to map (present and past; latent and more evident) narrative sources capable of addressing these issues while having an impact on local communities exposed to them. The research activity of the network is grounded in the theorization of ‘nesting’– as an original conceptual and methodological tool to transversally guide the explorations of the researchers involved in the project. 

Why ‘nesting’?

We see that the notion of ‘nesting’ as a generative tool for our explorations in its twofold essence: on the one hand, it reminds to the sense of creating a nest or a sheltered space for one’s offspring or oneself. This relates to our attention to non-human lives (here conceived as the oikos – common home) while rebuilding and repairing it for the sake of new generations.

On the other hand, ‘nesting’ conveys the idea of placing or embedding one thing within another to assess relationality and complexity; in this sense, attention is dedicated prompting a transdisciplinary approach to tackle the complexity of urgent crises with innovative and creative approaches towards texts, combining different skills and competences. 

Exploring texts…in context: Narrative-based workshop

Our project seeks to bridge the gap often existing between narratives and their fruitors, but constructing opportunities for texts to be experienced by actual audience. In this sense, literary and cultural texts are not studies as objects per se, but in the context of original narrative-based workshops, involving the local communities as forms of lifelong-learning practices. 

Through these workshops we aim to create a direct impact on the participants both in terms of affective connection to the issues addressed and in empowering them to be protagonists of change through daily actions and choice. 

Empirical evaluations

A relevant aspect of N.E.S.T. lies in the interest in employing empirical forms of evaluation (qualitative, quantitative and hybrids) of the impact of our workshops through updated methodologies and approaches in and out the context of the Environmental Humanities. 

This bottom-up approach for addressing climate change uses literature and cultural heritage to prompt critical thinking, bridge local and global concerns, and facilitate sharing best practices between academia and civil society. Its aim is to enhance collective involvement and encourage a dynamic exchange of viewpoints and critiques about present challenges, forging an affirmative, forward-thinking connection between theory and practice.

One Team, Many Disciplinary Perspectives

The project's scope extends beyond fostering dialogue between diverse disciplines. It engages scholars from different backgrounds to construct an actual, cohesive theoretical framework through a transdisciplinary interaction, specifically within the context of the Environmental Humanities. The dialogue develops through five key domains: Literature and Culture, Philosophy, (Socio-)Economics, Education and Psychology.

Learn more about our team

University of Bergamo, Italy

Justus Liebig University, Germany / International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture (GCSC)

Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, Norway

Canterbury University, Christchurch, New Zealand / Carlsberg Foundation, Denmark

National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece

What’s next?

Stay in touch with us! Here are the upcoming events organized by our group and other news concerning out research.

NEST Lecture Series

Click HERE to read the programme!

NEST Workshops

N.E.S.T. Lit-based workshop...are already happening in different places in Europe. Click HERE to know more about them.

Want to know more? Let’s get in touch!

If you want to know more about our research or collaborate with us, please do not hesitate to contact us at stefano.rozzoni@unibg.it

*Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the Italian MUR. Neither the European Union nor MUR can be held responsible for them.