Projects

Our interdisciplinary team works together on different projects. These include GIS and digital mapping, manuscript digitization and 3D reconstruction.

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Labs

We have a diverse collaboration of multidisciplinary research labs. These labs employ students

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Events

We run a medieval lecture series through St. Jerome’s University at the University of Waterloo. We also run the C.A.M.E.L.O.T. Conference annually in September.

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What are Environments of Change?

Environments of Change is a bold, radically cross-disciplinary collaboration supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and many institutional, corporate, and individual stakeholders. Our collaboration came about because we perceive an urgent need to understand the enduring relationship between humanity and nature, since that dynamic often obscures and hinders our ability to alter behaviours and solve natural dilemmas. This project studies and depicts digitally to a broad audience how nature is an historical protagonist, an agent in human affairs that shapes and is shaped by culture. We use digital media to explain how historical weather, climate, pollution, water and land access, sickness, and natural resources have shaped how humans lived. Through the partnership, we will create North America’s first permanent dedicated to the digitization of environmental history. We will collect and analyze data to create digital tools that reveal how historical human activity has impacted the natural world and vice versa. To represent this symbiosis objectively, we focus on another time and place of immense environmental and cultural change: southern England, 1000 – 1550 (which coincides with the gradual end of the Medieval Climate Optimum and the onset of the Little Ice Age).

To illuminate how nature and culture co-adapt, we bring together 30 experts, 13 partners, and 400+ highly-qualified personnel (HQP) training opportunities from many fields: history, digital humanities, archaeology, ecology, climatology, geography, geology, geological engineering, geomorphology, aqueous geochemistry, paleo-sedimentology, isotope hydrology, tourism studies, fine arts, conservation, video game design, computer-assisted modelling, and computer graphics. Together, we will produce tools to digitize sound, image, word, and provide an immersive experience to wide audiences: school children (grades 4-11), the general public, policy makers, and scholars. Our novel digital media will include: an educational video game based on our archaeological and archival investigations; interactive

This project offers significant training to the next generation of humanistic thinkers and equips them with knowledge and tools often unavailable through traditional social science and humanities formations. We will train HQP over 7 years, offering them the opportunity to merge digital skills with research, analytic, and communicative skills, and to develop discourses with the pure sciences, industry, the education sector, and the general public. Our project will also drive further innovation: it will solicit seed grant applications, funding other digital investigations into historical nature/culture.

To do all this, we align with industry, education, and public-sector partners, to advance and transfer new knowledge and tools. We will produce a new generation of digitally-trained, culturally-minded environmental thinkers to intersect with broader Canadian and global stakeholders, identify ways to engage and apply technology, and contribute social science and humanities solutions to natural challenges. Our new tools will incorporate wide-reaching natural narratives at national monuments to alter how the general public view the past, giving a deeper understanding of the nature-culture paradigm. Our video game will provide new insights into teaching and learning history/culture/climate. These new frameworks will be broadly accessible and applicable to other places and times, allowing scholars and policy makers to leverage future research and knowledge creation. By funding seed initiatives, we will drive innovation, identify new stakeholders/partners, and model the use of digital tools to elaborate the interconnectedness of history, nature, and culture.