Interdisciplinary Conference: Sustainable Water Management: Learning from the Past to Inform the Future

Call for Papers

Interdisciplinary Conference:

Sustainable Water Management: Learning from the Past to Inform the Future

15th-16th March 2024

The British Academy, London

Background and Context

The world is facing an unprecedented water crisis due to increasingly extreme weather patterns, unsustainable water management practices, overuse of available resources, and exponential population growth. In many of the regions across which the British International Research Institutes (BIRI) operate, the impact of the climate crisis is becoming more and more tangible and reconsideration of current water management practices is urgently needed. In this context, policymakers and planners are increasingly aware of the potential relevance of past practices. Many ancient systems had much greater longevity than modern infrastructure and were often inherently more sustainable; consuming less energy, being easier to operate and maintain, and having more communal governance structures.

As today’s challenges are not directly comparable to those of the pre-industrial world – and in most cases ancient solutions cannot simply be reactivated or replicated – a multi-faceted approach involving mapping present-day problems and attitudes towards water and its use and investigating how past societies responded to the challenge of sustainably managing water resources is needed, as is consideration of geological and geographical contexts. Models can be developed based on the combined results to inform culturally appropriate planning and policy making.

The BIRI Sustainable Water Management Initiative involves all eight British International Research Institutes (BIRI) and brings archaeologists, environmental scientists, historians, engineers, social scientists, and other stakeholders together to investigate how a multi-disciplinary, inter-regional, deep-time approach can lead to better understanding of the water-related impacts of climate change and other current challenges, as well as how these can be mitigated.

Interdisciplinary Conference – Call for Papers

In order to bring scholars from different disciplines working on similar topics together to share results and learning and form collaborative networks for the future, the BIRI are organising a 2-day interdisciplinary conference on ‘Sustainable Water Management: Learning from the Past to Inform the Future’ – to be held on 15th and 16th March 2024 at The British Academy in London. The conference will be hybrid, but we hope that speakers will attend in person.  The language of the conference will be English.

Scholars from any relevant discipline are invited to submit proposals to present their work at the conference. Abstracts should be submitted via email to [email protected] by 15th September 2023.  Proposals should reflect an interdisciplinary approach and emphasise the relevance of learning from the past to contemporary water-related challenges.

Limited funding is available to help cover accommodation and/or travel costs for students and international participants.  Further details will be provided later in the year. Please indicate if you would require financial help with attendance when submitting your abstract.