ELATI 2010 WORKSHOP AND RESEARCH SEMINAR
7th Workshop on Critical Approaches to Science and Education
and Hephaestus Research Seminar
Elati, 14-17 July, 2010
From the 14th to the 17th of July, 2010 the 7th Workshop in Critical Approaches to Science and Education took place in the picturesque village of Elati, Thessaly. This year‘s Workshop was devoted to pedagogical, educational and historical issues of the environment and consisted of six different sessions. The organizing committee also dedicated it to the memory of Nikos Kaisaris, who had been one of the main organizers and representatives of the ecological movement in Greece. Many of the participants took the time to present his work and achievements, as well as discuss his legacy and ethos.
Once again, the Workshop was characterized not only by its interdisciplinary approach to the issues discussed but by the active and formative role of the audience. Scholars from different institutional and academic backgrounds came together with students and members of the public to discuss different aspects of the environmental crisis, as well as more general issues of education, science, history and philosophy. The Workshop started with the welcoming speech of Prof. Kostas Skordoulis, one of the co-organizers, who presented the Workshop’s past and present orientation, giving special emphasis on the need to tackle environmental issues from many different perspectives and disciplines. During the course of the next three days, his proposal came to life as philosophers, political scientists, historians and educators presented ways to talk about the environment that spanned the space between the classroom, the historical archive and the research laboratory. Debate had always been the hallmark of the Workshops and this year was no exception, with the various attendees engaging in vigorous and heated discussions, encouraged but firmly regulated by the attentive Chairs of the sessions. As a result, many were the times that participants continued to engage each other in conversation deep into the night, in the various tavernas and coffee shops of Elati.
The key lecture in the 2010 Workshop was given by Prof. Aristides Baltas, a notable philosopher of science currently in the Metsoveion Polytechnic School of Athens. His lecture was titled ‘The lives of animals’ and was a fascinating and thought provoking discussion of a way to reestablish a kind of Natural History which would harness the philosophical discourse of bioethics to examine the relation between man, civilization and the environment. Lasting one hour and given in a relaxed but compact and specific style, Prof. Baltas’ talk was considered the high point of an already excellent Workshop.
In conjunction with the Workshop, the 2nd Hephaestus Research Seminar also took place in Elati. The two meetings were scheduled together and had a common theme, in order to maximize the synergy between the students attending the workshop and the participants to the seminar. This indeed proved a successful approach, since graduate and pre-graduate attendees had the opportunity to discuss not only with the guests of the seminar, but with other notable scholars pursuing research in environmental issues. The invited foreign researchers of the 2nd Research Seminar were Prof. Vladimir Jankovic of Manchester University and Prof. Dave Hill of Middlesex and Limerick Universities. The Research Seminar was deemed a great success, due to the many interactions between its participants and also due to the fact that it led to the creation of a research network for the history and didactics of environmental sciences. Finally, decision was taken for a joint conference in Critical Education comprising environmental issues, to be held next year.
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