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Nathan Deutsch I am a PhD student at the Natural Resources Institute at the University of Manitoba. I hold a Masters in Natural Resource Management from Stockholm University, Sweden. My academic experience as a graduate student on two continents has helped me understand the diversity of perspectives regarding the use of cultural landscape terminology to describe human-environment relationships. I'm currently doing PhD work with Pikangikum First Nation in Northwestern Ontario, Canada. I have used Photography, video and audio recordings throughout the research process as I feel these diverse media enrich the possibilities for representation and create ways to share the process with the community.


This year Elinor Ostrom shares the Nobel Prize in Economics with Oliver Williamson who both analyse economic transactions occuring outside the markets. Ostrom is also the first woman to receive the prize. Her work led to the foundation of the International Association for the Study of the Commons.

Next spring will mark the first offering of the Cultural Landscape Field School in Veneto, northeastern Italy. The three credit course will be offered from May 12 to 26, 2010 to upper-level undergraduate and masters students from the faculties of Environment and Geography, Geology, the Natural Resources Institute, and Architecture at the University of Manitoba.
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The objective of the course is to introduce students to the dynamics of landscape formation, including natural and cultural processes, and the contemporary efforts to conserve cultural landscapes. Over an intensive two-week journey along the short, yet diverse transect that links the Venice Lagoon to the Dolomite mountains near the Austrian boarder, the course will provide students with the conceptual frameworks to identify the connections between historical and present day management systems, and gain hands-on experience in techniques of landscape research. Students will be working with an interdisciplinary group of peers, faculty, Italian scholars and local practitioners.

Part of my Anishinaabe education while working in Pikangikum involves learning to procure food on the land — trapping, hunting, and fishing. On a mild winter day I’m invited by elders Oliver Hill and norman Quill to set a fish net under the ice. The chosen location is a bay on Pikangikum Lake, a short 15 minute snowmobile ride from the community. We set up just off the winter road, a busy communication route between northern communities north of Red Lake.

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A new paper has been made publicly available on the internet entitled Rebuilding Lost Connections: How Revitalisation Projects Contribute to Cultural Continuity and Improve the Environment by Sarah Pilgrim, Colin Samson and Jules Pretty. The paper was published by the Interdisciplinary Centre for Enviroment and Society at the University of Essex. The authors reviewed 41 ‘revitalization projects’ from 9 countries. They identify six categories of projects including traditional foods, ecotourism, education, language, cultural, and rights.

The Dolomites have a unique geology which has been identified as a defining feature in a World Heritage Site nomination. Although the site was originally proposed as a cultural landscape, geology eventually became central to the nomination. This is a gallery in the making which has been created to show some of the characteristic geomorphology of the Dolomites. The map (from google maps) shows the border of the Province of Belluno at the core of the Dolomites. With regrets to some, the images in the gallery have been resized to look best on larger monitors.

The 2009 Environmental Studies Association of Canada (ESAC) Conference will be held May 27-29 at Carleton University in Ottawa, as part of the annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. The conference will explore research and teaching related to environmental studies in Canada. Various formats will be considered, including: papers, roundtable discussions, film screenings, posters, audio-visual submissions, etc. Deadline for proposals: January 31, 2009.

A call for Papers has been announced for a workshop on rights-based approaches in international forestry jointly held by the University of East Anglia and the University of California at Berkeley. Jesse Ribot (University of Illinois), William Sunderlin (Rights and Resources Initiate), and Don Anton (University of Michigan Law School) will deliver keynote presentations.

There is now a thread in the forums dedicated to collecting references that are relevant to the study of cultural landscapes. In order to contribute, sign into the forums, and follow instructions in the thread. This should grow into a running which will become a reference page on

Once, if you wanted to understand ties between local livelihoods and the flow of major commodities in global markets, you looked for the flow of water from the hinterlands into the major centers. As the flow of commodities has become denser and more complicated, this type of analysis would no longer be productive. The energy of water no longer facilitates travel and exchange as it used to. Where feasible, its great force, however, has been harnessed to drive economic growth through power generation. The use of water has increasingly become an issue of political contention around the world. Three European cases show how water courses have taken on symbolic meaning in the assertion of local claims to autonomy in the face of a changing global political economy.

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The IUCN World Conservation Congress is wrapping up in Barcelona, 5-14 October, 2008. Keep up with news as it progresses here.