The Future of Wild Europe

Conference Theme Conference Schedule Field Trip Watch Video Lectures

Postgraduate and Early-Career Researcher Conference

University of Leeds, UK
12–14 September, 2016 (inclusive)

Thank you for a great conference!

Conference Theme

What is the future of the wild in Europe? Wildness is a key theme across many European societies, an idea often used to separate nature from cultures. Places, people, processes and objects have all been described as wild, yet the meanings, values and locations of ‘the wild’ in Europe have changed over time, and will continue to evolve. Some have seen the confinement of the wild into its proper place as a defining feature of European civilisation. Alternatively, moves to re-wild Europe argue that humans should loosen their control over nature in order to let the wild back in, an assertion that preserves a nature-culture dualism. This interdisciplinary conference explored the meaning, place and value of ‘the wild’ within the Europe of today and the future.

Questions that were explored include: What places, things and processes might be considered wild in Europe now and going forward? How can past explorations of the wild be used to understand how we might relate to wildness in future? What and where is the legacy of past wildness? How have ideas of wildness changed through time? How have societal and demographic shifts contributed to an urban and suburban, as well as rural, apprehension of the wild? How might ideas of wildness help humans understand and cope with cultural, social, economic and environmental risks? How can these ideas be applied in modern conservation? What value does the wild hold for Europe as a whole, and for European states and citizens/non-citizens individually?

The conference was organised along four interwoven themes:

  • The wild and memory
  • Wildness and risk
  • Wastelands/wildlands
  • Wild Europe

Confirmed senior participants included: Dr Liz DeLoughrey (Department of English, UCLA), Prof Marcus Hall (Environmental Studies Group, University of Zurich), Dr Dolly Jørgensen (History of Technology and Environment, Luleå University of Technology), Nadya Vangelova (Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna, Bulgaria), Dr Jamie Lorimer (School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford), and Professor Libby Robin (Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University).


For questions information about the conference, please get in touch with co-convenors, Dr George Holmes (g.holmes [at] or Dr Roger Norum (r.norum [at]

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