SCELG Inaugurates Collaboration with Institute of Uncanny Justness

August 2018: Dr Saskia Vermeylen has launched the Institute of Uncanny Justness, together with Dr Dylan McGarry from Rhodes University (South Africa). The Institute is a school for ecological citizens consisting of a trans-disciplinary practice-based social learning collaborations between journalists, researchers, educational practitioners, artists, social sculptors, filmmakers, poets, mediafolk, social development practitioners and educational theorists.

As part of the launch of this collaboration, the Institute of Uncanny Justness hosted a workshop in the Eastern Cape (South Africa) on Uncanny Lore in June 2018. The workshop focused on legal empowerment and justice in relation to cultural heritage and ancestral lands in southern Africa. The workshop was designed as a reflective process that brought academics from different disciplines (anthropology, law, linguistics, education, arts, and cultural heritage) together with San community members from Namibia, Botswana and South Africa. The format was explicitly designed in such a way that a community of practice could immerse during the process. Field trips, social sculpture, nature walks, story telling by the fire, listening to music and joint cooking were all part of an enquiry to think deeper about the role of law/lore in the protection of indigenous peoples’ access to land and natural resources. This enquiry is part of a wider research project that Saskia will undertake on ritual theatre and dance as forms of lore. Through an embodied practice and initiation in meditative trance dancing, Saskia will explore further the emerging field of law and performance studies. 

Saskia and Dylan collaborated with SCELG PhD researcher Mika Schroder and SCELG visiting researcher Giada Giacomini in organizing and running the workshop, which was funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund: SFC GCRF Institutional Fund 2017/18.

Research-led teaching

Dr Vermeylen teaches on the LLM in Global Environmental Law and Governance, and supervises SCELG PhD students and visiting researchers. Saskia and Dylan contributed to the Postgraduate Colloquium and to the workshop on oceans governance at the Second Festival of Environmental Law and Governance in 2018.

Find out more about SCELG’s research on traditional knowledge here and on environmental justice here.