SITUATED ECOLOGIES gathers art, design and research collaborations to contest and democratise ecologies.


There are several people involved in the projects and activities that make up The Situated Ecologies Platform and it has changed quite a bit since its origins in 2010 based on two projects lead by Henrik Ernstson.

Today (in early 2020) the co-directors of The Situated Ecologies Platform are Henrik Ernstson, Jacob von Heland and Joshua Lewis. However, to pay tribute to the many excellent scholars and students from different parts of the world that have collaborated to develop the platform, we have gathered below a list of the people who were involved in the original two projects and in the ensuing projects. The list is not complete and an update of people and projects should take place during 2020 (but the teaching semester is about to start so it will have to wait). 


2018-2021 — Grounding and Worlding Urban Infrastructures (GROWL)

This project investigated in particular the situated and wider relations that turns oil into urban infrastructure and housing in Luanda, Angola. This was paired with insights from earlier research in Nairobi and Kampala. The project was funded by Henrik Ernstson‘s (PI) grant from the AXA Research Fund (PI) and builds on previous research developed in Luanda by Ricardo Cardoso (Co-I), Yale NUS College, Singapore, and work by Jia-Ching Chen (Co-I), Global Studies, University of California Santa Barbara, in China. The project funded Wangui Kimari as Postdoc at the African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town who later also became an Honorary Visiting Scholar at the Department of Geography, The University of Manchester. Tiffany Liu, York University, Canada, was hired for specific field work in Luanda. The funding was from the AXA Research Foundation based in France and as an AXA Research Award.


2015-2019 — Towards a Visual Environmental Humanities (VEH)

Jacob von Heland is Reserach Fellow at KTH Environmental Humanities at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, and co-director of The Situated Ecologies Platform. He is an environmental humanistecologist, and film maker. As PI he leads the Formas-funded project “Towards a Visual Environmental Humanities in the Digital Era: Filming and Writing as a Bimodal Research Practice” (VEH) with various activities and outputs. This includes co-initiating KTH Crosscuts Film Festival, Chief Editor of Annals of Crosscuts, a groundbreaking peer-review format for research-as-film in the Environmental Humanities. He also created with Henrik Ernstson the cinematic ethnography One Table Two Elephants (2018, 84 minuts, CPH:DOX), a film on urban nature and knowledge politics in the postcolonial city, which premiered (in competition) at the CPH:DOX International Documentary Film Festival in Copenhagen in 2018. Henrik Ernstson co-investigator in VEH and close collaborator with Jacob von Heland.


From 2015 – –  —  Demoratic Practices of Unequal Geographies: PhD Summer/Winter School

In 2015, Andrés Fabián Henao Castro, Ashley J. Bohrer, Jacob von Heland and Henrik Ernstson have developed and organised the PhD Summer/Winter Shool in Cape Town and Stockholm. Funded through grants available to Henrik Ernstson (as PI and Convenor) it has provided a high-intensive reading seminar of foundational texts in political theory, critical geography and urban studies with a particular interest in Southern urbanism.

Andrés Fabián Henao Castro is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts Boston and brings to the seminar his keen and long experience of Marxism, ancient and contemporary political theory (including Ranciére), and the literary and performative arts as radical democratic practice. He co-initated the seminar in 2015 with Henrik.

Dr. Ashley J. Bohrer is Assistant Professor of Gender and Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame and brings core insights into intersectional feminism, Marxism and decolonial thinking. She joined Henrik and Andrés in 2017 to further develop the seminar’s teaching and curriculum.


2012-2013 — Initiating The Situated Urban Political Ecologies Collective (#SUPE)

Henrik ErnstsonMary Lawhon, and Jonathan D. Silver initiated The Situated UPE Collective, when they were all working at the African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town. Starting in 2012 as part of the “Ways of Knowing Urban Ecologies” (WOK-UE) they organised, amongst other things, a crucial reading seminar together with James Duminy and Suraya Scheba. Another key event was the Antipode Summer School in Durban, and a row of Special Sessions and workshops they organised in the subsequent years in Johannesburg, Pretoria, and at AAG and DOPE in the USA, and RGS in the UK. From these row of activities they laid the ground for Situated UPE (SUPE) through several key publications in Antipode, Regional Studies, Urban Studies and IJURR. Situated UPE is now a recognised sub-field in political ecology.


From 2011-2015 — Project members of Socioecological Movements and Urban Ecosystems (MOVE)

Dr. Henrik Ernstson (PI, see above). He lead the work in MOVE, including the CIVNET study, co-edited the book Urban Political Ecology in the Anthropo-obscene (Routledge, 2019), initiated The Situated Ecologies Platform, and co-initiated our sister-site The Situated UPE Collective (#SUPE).

Joshua Lewis, is Research Assistant Professor and Research Director at the ByWater Institute at Tulane University, New Orleans, USA, and co-director of The Situated Ecologies Platform. He is an urban ecologist & geographer who did his PhD with MOVE and co-lead the New Orleans study of MOVE together with W Zipperer and H Ernstson.

Professor Mario Diani is Professor of sociology at Trento University, Italy, a social movement scholar who worked closely with H Ernstson and L Jasny on the Cape Town Civic Network Study (CIVNET).

Dr. Lorien Jasny is Lecturer in sociology at Sussex University, UK. A social network analytical expert who worked closely with H Ernstson and M Diani in the Cape Town Civic Network Study (CIVNET).

Dr. Wayne Zipperer is an urban ecologist with the United States DA Forest Service. He was a senior scientist and coordinator of the MOVE New Orleans study.

Dr. Pippin Anderson is Lecturer at the Environmental and Geographical Science Department, University of Cape Town, South Africa. She is a conservation ecologist and urban ecologist who developed an empirical study in the MOVE Cape Town study.

Dr. Erik Andersson is an urban ecologist at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University and worked part-time in MOVE and in particular in the MOVE Cape Town study

Rory Liedeman, BSc, works for the Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation (SLF) in Cape Town, South Africa. He was field work coordinator for the Cape Town Civic Network Study (CIVNET).

Nabeel Petersen, MSc, worked for the Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation (SLF) in Cape Town, South Africa. He was a field work researcher involved in the Cape Town Civic Network Study (CIVNET).

Rebecca Hazen is an ecologist and during MOVE she was a PhD candidate at Tulane University, New Orleans, USA. She did field research, database handling and vegetation analysis in the MOVE New Orleans study in close cooperation with J Lewis and W Zipperer to coordinate .

Nathan Cooper is an ecologist and worked with R Hazen as field researcher for the MOVE New Orleans study.

Professor Susan Parnell is a geographer and co-founder of the African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town and supported MOVE as a senior advisee. She is now Professor in human geography at the University of Brighton.

Professor Thomas Elmqvist is an ecologist, urban ecologist and systems ecologist based at Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University and supported MOVE as a senior advisee.

Professor Mike Blum is an ecologist specializing in wetland and urban landscapes. He was during MOVE director of the Center for Bioenvironmental Research at Tulane and Xavier Universities in New Orleans and supported the MOVE New Orleans study as a senior advisee.


From 2010-2014 — Project members of Ways of Knowing Urban Ecologies (WOK-UE)

Dr. Henrik Ernstson (PI) is Lecturer in human geography and a political ecologist at The University of Manchester and co-director of The Situated Ecologies Platform. He lead the work in WOK-UE, developed an empirical study of a contested wetland in Cape Town, co-edited the book Grounding Urban Natures (MIT Press, 2019, #OpenAccess), initiated The Situated Ecologies Platform, and co-initiated our sister-site The Situated UPE Collective (#SUPE). He also co-organised with Dr. Andrés Henao Castro and Dr. Ashley Bohrer the Annual PhD Seminar series Democratic Practices of Unequal Geographies (2015, 2016, 2017, 2019).

Dr. Marnie Graham, then a PhD student through a co-tutelle at Stockholm University and Macquarie University, Sydney. She is human geographer from Australia who now works at Macquarie University. In WOK-UE she carried out empirical studies at Macassar Dunes in Cape Town.

Professor Sverker Sörlin is an environmental historian at KTH Institute of Technology and co-edited the book Grounding Urban Natures (MIT Press, 2019, #OpenAccess).

Dr. Anna Storm is a historian who did her postdoctoral studies with WOK-UE on a study of contested landscapes in Stockholm. Now Professor at Linköping University, Sweden.

Dr. Jane Battersby is a cultural geographer working at the African Centre for Cities at University of Cape Town, South Africa. In WOK-UE she did empirical studies around the Philippi Horticulture Area in Cape Town and  developed new projects on food security in Sub-saharan Africa.

Dr. Mary Lawhon is a human geographer and political ecologist working at University of Pretoria, South Africa and worked in WOK-UE during a year as a post-doc. She is a co-initiator of the The Situated UPE Collective (#SUPE).

Dr. Sandie Suchet-Pearson is a human geographer and Senior Lecturer at the Department of Environment and Geography at the University of MacQuire, Sydney, Australia. With Henrik Ernstson she supervised Marnie Graham in WOK-UE.

Jessica Rattle, completed her Honors thesis in WOK-UE with an empirical case study in Cape Town. She then went on to do a Masters in geography at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. She later worked as a research assistant and field researcher in the Cape Town Civic Network Study (CIVNET). She is currently working in the environmental NGO sector in London.