RE-DO – a conference on sustainability

In October 2015, Aarhus University hosts the sustainability conference RE-DO in collaboration with rethinkIMPACTS 2017, Aarhus 2017 and Samsoe Energy Academy. The conference offers both presentations by international sustainability experts and a number of Aarhus 2017 projects as well as a sustainability safari arranged by Aarhus 2017’s partners Samsoe Energy Academy and WorldPerfect.

28 - 31 October the RE-DO conference will be held at the New Moesgaard Museum. The conference will bring together researchers and practitioners for a dialogue on sustainability, not least about the role of cultural sustainability in relation to environmental, economic and social sustainability.

The conference is organized by rethinkIMPACTS 2017 – a partnership between Aarhus 2017 and Aarhus University with the aim of creating a research-based evaluation of European Capital of Culture Aarhus 2017 – in collaboration with Samsoe Energy Academy and Aarhus 2017. The conference is part of a conference series that aims to focus on Aarhus 2017’s three core values.

Open to all - both nationally and internationally
The theme RE-DO indicates that sustainability has been, is and has to become something we do as part of our everyday practices and living in order to matter. In this sense, we view cultural sustainability not just as an add-on to environmental agendas, but as the very precondition for their long-term success. Therefore, the conference is also open to anyone with a professional interest in sustainability.

"Part of the goal of the RE-DO-conference is to bring together the many regional actors that are developing sustainability projects and allow them to present their projects and discuss with practitioners and researchers from home and abroad. The conference is open to all with an academic interest in working with sustainability both nationally and internationally," says Project and Research Manager at rethinkIMPACTS 2017 Louise Ejgod Hansen.

A different conference
The theme of the European Capital of Culture Aarhus 2017 is Let's Rethink – and therefore the RE-DO conference also aims at rethinking the traditional form of the conference.

This is where Samsoe Energy Academy and their sustainability safaris enter the picture. The safaris are a guided tour that takes place by either foot, bicycle or bus. Participants can expect equal parts lecture, movement and examples of sustainability that you can touch and feel.

"The purpose of the safaris is to provide some concrete examples on sustainability that you can see, feel and touch. And show, exactly how rich the city is on nature. Sustainability is often about technology, but the Capital of Culture is a great opportunity to involve culture and create and share good stories, thereby motivating and inspiring politicians, urban planners, cultural institutions and ourselves to rethink and act more sustainably. We will show conference participants this with our sustainability safaris," says Peter Christensen, Project Manager at Samsoe Energy Academy.

An important track - with international imprints
Sustainability is an important track in the official programme for the European Capital of Culture in 2017. In addition to the operator partnership with Samsoe Energy Academy and WorldPerfect, Aarhus 2017 already supports a number of projects involving culture in a creative and different way and acknowledges the importance of sustainability.

For instance, this is the case of the projects Rethink Urban Habitats, The Seven Deadly Sins, Summit2017, The Coal Bridge and Hidden Places.

A portion of the above projects was gathered in connection with a seminar on urban sustainability, arranged by the Association Hidden Places and held at Aarhus School of Architecture in May. Here, they presented their projects and participated in panel discussions on sustainability.

As a clear indicator that Denmark is one of the leading countries in the field of sustainability, the seminar also attracted James Ramsey – recognized architect and co-founder of RAAD STUDIO in New York and creator of the world's first underground park at the Trolley Terminal on the Lower East Side in New York City. A project that will be powered by solar technology.

Asked why he had made the long trip to Denmark, James Ramsey said:

“The idea of taking notice and generating utility from spaces that are typically not known or noticed is something very close to what we are engaged in. Each panellist had an interesting perspective with tie-ins to our work, from the idea of bringing nature into urban awareness, to reclaiming forgotten spaces, to the idea of a community led green space development. By increasing cultural awareness of the things made possible by innovation and design, the entire conversation about how we treat our cities is elevated in a way that actually makes progress possible," said James Ramsey when he visited the seminar in May.

Facts - RE-DO-conference:
• Date: 28 - 31 October 2015
• Location: Moesgaard Museum, Dokk1, Scandic Hotel
• Organizers: Aarhus University, Samsoe Energy Academy and the European Capital of Culture Aarhus 2017
• Language: English
• Price and registration: Read more here.

Key note speakers:
• Nancy Duxbury, University of Coimbra, Portugal. Researching in cultural sustainability.
• Joel Outtes, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul. Researching in urbanity - with a focus on urban development, socially sustainable cities and how public involvement is ensured.
• Nick Shepherd, University of Cape Town, South Africa. Researching in sustainable cultural heritage.
• Noortje Marres, Goldsmiths, University of London, England. Researching in media, including social media, with a focus on how the media is used by citizens to promote, for example, sustainability.

The final programme of the conference is in development.