Conservation and the social sciences: Beyond critique and co-optation workshop



King’s College, University of Cambridge

Interactions between conservation and the social sciences have frequently been characterised by either critique (of conservation by social scientists) or co-optation (of social scientific research by conservationists). This workshop invites conservationists and social scientists to move beyond these dominant frames by exploring new forms of dialogue and collaboration between the two fields. It asks: What might the conservation/social science interface look like if it wasn’t built around critique or co-optation? How might new collaborations and dialogues reshape existing paradigms, frameworks and values in both fields? How can conservationists and social scientists adapt and transform their methods in engagement with each other? What can we gain from these forms of collaboration and dialogue?

Panels will consist of short interventions (10-15 minutes) on specific themes and questions, followed by general discussions between presenters and other participants. In keeping with the theme of our project, the workshop focuses on the interface between orangutan conservation and social anthropology – but it also aims to raise questions and explore possibilities that resonate with wider debates across conservation and the social sciences.

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9.00-9.30: Welcome and registration

9.30-9.45: Introductory remarks: Liana Chua

Panel 1: Conservation and the social sciences

9.45-10.00: Cristina Eghenter (WWF Indonesia)

The Circle Game: Towards the co-evolution of social sciences and conservation

10.00-10.15: Raj Puri (Centre for Biocultural Diversity, University of Kent)

An Anthropological View of Conservation Culturomics

10.15-10.30: Mark Harrison et al. (Borneo Nature Foundation)

Perspectives on Moving from an Ecologically Orientated to an Integrated Approach for Orangutan Conservation in Kalimantan

10.30-10.45: Alexandra Palmer (University of Oxford)

The Anthropology of Conservationists: Beyond Neo-Colonialism and Neo-Liberalism

10.45-11.15: Coffee and Discussion

Panel 2: New media and technologies

11.30-11.45: Serge Wich (Liverpool John Moores University)

Creating a Shared Visualization for Conservation in a Landscape Approach

11.45-12.00: Bill Adams (University of Cambridge)

Digital Animals and the Conservation Imagination

 12.00-12.15: Susan M. Cheyne et al. (Borneo Nature Foundation)

Communicating Conservation: From Direct Education to Social Media and Outreach Engagement in Kalimantan, Indonesia

12.15-12.30: Sol Milne (University of Aberdeen)

Role of Citizen Science in Analysis of Aerial Orangutan Nest Surveys and Public Outreach for Orangutan Conservation

12.30-1.00: Discussion

1.00-2.00: Lunch

Panel 3: Challenging orthodoxies: new alliances and narratives

2.00-2.15: Erik Meijaard (Borneo Futures)

Rethinking Orangutan Conservation in the Anthropocene

2.15-2.30: Viola Schreer (Brunel University London)

Hope in Orangutan Conservation?

2.30-2.45: Panut Hadisiswoyo (Orangutan Information Centre)


2.45-3.00: June Rubis (University of Oxford)

Seeing The Utan From The Orang: Field-Notes From a Recovering Conservationist

3.00-3.30: Coffee and discussion 

Closing plenary and discussion


With reflections by Bram Büscher (Wageningen University) and Helen Schneider (Fauna & Flora International)

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