Board members

Petra van Dam

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Petra J.E.M. van Dam is one of the main experts in the field of ecological (or environmental) history in Europe. As vice-chair of the European Society for Environmental History she contributed to establishing ESEH Summer schools, she was the organizer of the ESEH Amsterdam 2007 Conference, ‘Global Perspectives,’ together with Russia specialist Prof. dr. David Moon,  Prof. dr. Christof Mauch and Prof. dr. Helmut Trischler (directors of the Rachel Carson Center for Environmental Studies, München), she founded the book series ‘The Environment in History’ (Berghahn Publishers, Oxford-New York) together with Russia specialist Prof. dr. David Moon, Prof. dr. Christof Mauch and Prof. dr. Helmut Trischler (directors of the Rachel Carson Center for Environmental Studies, München) and  she is editorial committee member of the scholarly Journal Environment and History (Cambridge). She holds the Chair for Water History at the Free University in Amsterdam.

She is convinced that after decades of growing awareness among ever larger groups, now general consensus exists about the urgency of environmental issues. One feels this most strongly among university students. Their questions are directed towards finding solutions and searching models of behaviour and political decisions in the past that will lead to more sustainable ways of living in the future. Her own research interests are assessing the balance between the natural and human agency in environmental change and studying the vulnerability of societies to natural disasters.  How did humans affect animals and their ecosystems? How did economic activities promote bio-invasions? How did people cope with flooding? How aware were people of potential disasters, what was the human component of such disasters (hence ‘nature induced disasters’ according to climate historian Christian Pfister)?  How did institutions aimed at controling water develop and how did society recover after a disaster? Petra van Dam and her students wrote 10 books and 70 articles on these questions. Her upcoming book is Swimming Rabbits. An Amphibious Society dealing with Environmental Change.

Julia Kantelberg

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Julia Kantelberg is a first year Research Master student in Visual Arts, Media and Architecture at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Media, Art, Design and Architecture with a specialisation in design. Her interest goes out to the relationship between design, ethics and environmental issues. She wishes to continue her research in this cross-disciplinary field.

Sjoerd Kluiving

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Sjoerd Kluiving currently holds the position of assistant professor at the VU University Amsterdam, as well as associate professor in the School of Natural Sciences, Stirling University, Scotland, working in the fields of geoarchaeology, Quaternary geology and landscape archaeology. Sjoerd earned his BSc and MSc in Physical Geography and Glacial Geology at the University of Amsterdam in 1986 and 1989, and his PhD in Geology at the University of Alabama (US) in 2001, where he specialised in subglacial processes in the Ross Sea, Antarctica. As a geologist and physical geographer, he is involved in applying earth sciences to archaeology in interdisciplinary research and teaching, with an emphasis on the Anthropocene. He also has substantial experience in project management in (field-based) evaluation of archaeological monuments, extensive teaching and research experience, and has acted as an initiator and project manager to involve cultural history in planning processes. Since 2016 Sjoerd teaches the course Environmental Archaeology at AUC.

Sjoerd leads the International Association of Landscape Archaeology (IALA), uniting European geologists, archaeologists and historians. He has vast experience in convening interdisciplinary sessions in soils, landscapes and archaeology at EGU, and is guest editor of five special volumes dedicated to this theme. Sjoerd is co-supervising 4 PhD students in the field of landscape archaeology on the interface of archaeology and the earth sciences. Sjoerd has, besides his teaching position, a research and consulting company in earth sciences and works for government agencies and archaeological companies. Sjoerd has a special interest in interdisciplinary collaboration between nature and culture as well as glacial processes.

Katja Kwastek

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Katja Kwastek is professor of modern and contemporary art history at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Her research focuses on processual, digital and post-digital art, media history, theory and aesthetics, and digital humanities.  Under the notion of ‘slow media art’, she researches artworks which explores the interrelations of human and non-human, technological, cultural and biological timeframes. The concept of slowness has recently been significantly broadened towards a more metaphorical understanding, which does encompass questions of sustainability and a rehabilitation of the local (c.f. the popular notion of ‘slow food’). In 2004, Katja Kwastek curated the first international exhibition and conference project on “Art and Wireless Communication”. She has lectured internationally and published many books and essays, including her most recent “Aesthetics of Interaction in Digital Art” (MIT Press, 2013).

Tim Renders

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Tim Renders is a first year Research Master student in Visual Arts, Media and Architecture at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He graduated from his Bachelor Media, Art, Design and Architecture last year and wrote his thesis on artworks that relate to environmental issues and sustainability. He is especially interested in the relationship between art, sustainability and environmental activism and would like to develop more knowledge on these intersections.

Germaine van der Sanden

Germaine van der Sanden

Germaine van der Sanden is enrolled in the MSc Earth Sciences program at the Free University Amsterdam. She has a bachelor in Archaeology. Her BA thesis project focused on the question whether the human species occupied a dominant and formative position in the early Holocene landscape. Her major interest revolves around human-environment interactions and articulating this within the Anthropocene framework.

Kristine Steenbergh

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Kristine Steenbergh is lecturer and researcher in English literature at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Her research focuses on the early modern period (1500-1700), the history of emotions, and ecocriticism. She is a board member and webmaster of the Benelux Association for the Study of Art, Culture and the Environment (BASCE), and general editor of the journal Cultural History. Kristine has taught several courses in ecocriticism, focusing on the early modern period  as well as on contemporary novels. She also co-taught a course on the Environmental Humanities in the research master for students of literature and history.

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