Video from the conference: interviews and plenary talks

Watch video interviews with key speakers and footage from selected plenary sessions below.

Interview clips

1-2 minute clips of interviews with Betsy Hartmann, Rohan D’Souza, Myint Zaw, Michael Watts and Dianne Rocheleau on resource politics, filmed during the conference. Click on the icon in the top left hand corner to browse the list.

Continue reading

Of tools, discourses and politics: the debate on the Anthropocene and Planetary Boundaries

by Jonas Torrens, SPRU

Last Tuesday, I attended for the third time a debate between Melissa Leach and Johan Rockström on the Anthropocene and Planetary Boundaries as part of the Resource Politics conference. In a year riddled with high-level policy decisions about global sustainability and climate change, the session covered some of the key arguments of the on-going debates in the global change community.

The two talented speakers articulated the findings of various scientific fields in compelling narratives that are a must-watch for anyone concerned with the state of the environment, development, and global governance.

Continue reading

Resource Politics: Democratising innovation, data and knowledge

by John Thompson, STEPS Centre/IDS

During the Resource Politics conference I had the privilege of attending sessions addressing different aspects of what could broadly be described as ‘innovation for sustainability’.

Presenters and contributors talked of ‘inclusive innovation’, ‘grassroots innovation’, ‘socio-ecological innovation’, ‘digital innovation outside the system’, ‘open-access innovation’ and ‘transformative innovation’. They also described new forms of social and scientific organisation to foster this innovation – by creating, as Ed Hackett put it, ‘intellectual fusion’ – through ‘synthesis centres’, ‘mobile hubs’, ‘social innovation labs’, ‘change labs’ and ‘public labs’.

As people described it, innovation is about more than technological invention. It involves change of many kinds: cultural, organisational and behavioural, as well as technological. Continue reading

10 & 11 September: post-conference events at Sussex

After the Resource Politics conference closes, we are delighted to announce two additional events on Thursday 10 and Friday 11 September, both taking place on the Sussex University campus.

Both workshops feature contributions from Prof Dianne Rocheleau (Clark University) and Kathleen McAfee (San Francisco State University).

10 September: The Politics of Nature: reimagining power, resistance and critique from above, below and within
Interactive workshop, 1-4pm, Arts C Room 233, Sussex University: Sussex Campus map (pdf)
This workshop includes lunch. Please register by email to by 8 September. Organised by the Centre for Global Political Economy (CGPE) and the STEPS Centre.

11 September: STEPS Seminar: ‘Resource Politics: Future Directions’
1-2.30pm, Convening Space, Institute of Development Studies. No registration required.

Side event: POLLEN network launch, Monday 7 September

The Political Ecology network POLLEN will be launched at the Resource Politics conference on the Monday evening, with a discussion featuring:

  • Tor Benjaminsen (Norwegian University of Life Sciences);
  • Connor Joseph Cavanagh (Norwegian University of Life Sciences);
  • Hanne Svarstad (Oslo and Akershus University College);
  • Bram Büscher (Wageningen University);
  • John Childs;
  • Ben Neimark (Lancaster Environment Centre); and
  • Saskia Vermeylen (Lancaster University

The event will take place at Monday 7 September at 18.00 in room SC3&4 on the ground floor. All Resource Politics 2015 conference delegates are invited to attend. Continue reading

Resource Politics: papers, blogs, pictures, video

This page links to all the materials we’ve made available from the Resource Politics conference on 7-9 September 2015.

Resourcepolprog2Conference papers

A selection of conference papers are already available to download, with more to follow soon.


rocheleauVideo from the conference plenaries (including Betsy Hartmann, Rohan D’Souza, Michael Watts, Johan Rockström and Melissa Leach, and a panel on social justice) and interviews with participants.

Watch the video clips


storify-logoOur conference Storify tells the story of the conference as it unfolded, including words and images taken from participants’ contributions on the Twitter hashtag #resourcepol.

Storify: Resource Politics 2015

Blog posts

What resource politics means now Lyla Mehta
Thinking critically about the green economy, conflict and environmental justice Amber Huff
Neoliberal conservation, REDD+ and ‘inclusive exclusions’ Andreas Scheba
Democratising innovation, data and knowledge John Thompson
Nature can’t pay its own way – so let’s take the market out of conservation Benjamin Neimark
Of tools, discourses and politics: the debate on the Anthropocene and Planetary Boundaries Jonas Torrens
From ‘friendship’ to ‘entanglement’: researchers and transformation Ruth Segal
The politics of Nature in the Anthropocene Kathleen McAfee
Have oil companies learned from the Niger Delta crisis?
Resource Politics: living in the Anthropocene Ian Scoones
Green Economy and the ‘growth fetish’: what are the alternatives? Kathleen McAfee

raquel2Graphic panels

The illustrator Raquel Durán created a series of large pictures during our four plenary sessions, providing a visual record of the discussion.

Gallery: Graphic illustrations (Flickr)


View a set of photos from the conference, taken by Lance Bellers.

Gallery: Resource Politics photos (Flickr)

rp-engagement-275Engagement: participants’ stories

We asked conference participants to tell us where, how and with whom they ‘engaged’ in their research and/or activism around resource politics. We got plenty of contributions to our world map, which we’ve turned into an online version.

Browse the stories

Stay informed

Conference participants will receive updates when these are posted: if you didn’t attend, you can sign up to the STEPS newsletter for updates.

About the conference

The international conference Resource Politics: transforming pathways to sustainability was held at the Institute of Development Studies from 7-9 September 2015. View the conference programme.

The event is the latest conference in a series from the ESRC STEPS Centre.

Myint Zaw to speak at Resource Politics 2015

myint_zawMyint Zaw, winner of one of this year’s ‘Green Nobels’, the Goldman Environmental Prize for Asia, will speak at Resource Politics 2015.

Journalist and social activist Zaw launched a national movement that successfully stopped construction of the hydroelectric Myitsone Dam on Myanmar’s treasured Irrawaddy River, despite heavy government scrutiny and restricted use of tools like email or social media. Watch a video about his work (on YouTube).

Zaw (Crawford School of Public Policy) will be talking about the key challenges for policy and practice in the areas of resource politics and social justice alongside Jenny Franco (Transnational Institute), Nick Hildyard (The Corner House), Ravi Agarwal (Toxics Link) in a plenary session chaired by Suman Sahai (Gene Campaign, India). Continue reading