In the first two years of the network will organise a series of five workshops in the UK and in South America, which will be directly informed by the input of the publics who live, produce and consume in agricultural frontier areas, and the organisations that advocate for change on their behalf. A vital part of resolving academic debates, and making these relevant to real-world change, is to present practitioners views at events where general members of the public do not normally contribute. The series of workshops will hence involve novel collaborations between academic partners, civil society practitioners, representatives of farmers, workers and residents. The events will benefit from the visualisation and representation of the agricultural frontier through the use and recording of images, symbols, maps and artefacts, which will inform the understanding of the spatial history of the agricultural advance in the Amazon.
Each workshop will combine talks, plenary discussions and sessions dedicated to posters and presentations. The events will also include ‘voices from the field’, that is, presentation of citizen testimony and practitioners’ views. The intention is to involve stakeholder groups not normally invited to such activities, but with an important contribution to offer. The workshops will also include artistic and folklore performances (such as dance, music, exhibition of artisanal work, painting, drama or poetry) as thought- provoking tools related to the specific theme of the workshop. The activities of the workshop will be transmitted via webinar to give the opportunity to other colleagues to engage (even remotely) in the discussion. The content, the discussions and the recommendations raised at each workshop will be widely disseminated to make a difference and influence policies.
The sequence of themes and the proposed workshops will run as follows (note that the titles and the aims may be adjusted according to demands and suggestions made by network members):
Overall, the Arts and Humanities community (broadly defined) can greatly contribute towards the solution of environment and development dilemmas in the Amazon region, particularly considering the aggressive advance of agricultural modernisation and the movement of people to new areas, which have resulted in complex cultural exchanges, the rapid erosion of old practices and the formation of new, hybrid identities. There is also a clear responsibility of local and national governments and the international community to swiftly respond to the emerging challenges presented by impacts on traditions, customs and knowledges, mounting socio-economic inequalities and ecosystem degradation, and the lack of proper recognition of the agency, distinctiveness and subjectivities of groups of old and new residents (such as extractive communities, squatters, family farmers and indigenous tribes) in areas of agricultural frontier.