FoI Public Event: 30th June 2021


The Untold (animal) Stories of COVID-19

Watch a recording of the event here: ISR Playlist on YouTube

This special event will delve into the COVID-19 narrative to uncover the stories that haven’t been told by the mainstream media. The panel will review the last 18 months of world events, from standing on the brink of a global pandemic, to the international finger-pointing at who or what is to blame for the crisis. These are the stories we need to tell.

While initially other countries’ cultural and food practices, specifically around wet markets and wildlife trading, were primary targets, industrial animal agriculture was also implicated. Leading organisations questioned human incursions into wild habitats and our escalating exploitation of nature and animals. In the broader context of climate change and ecological collapse, Covid-19 was portrayed as marking a turning point in human history – a pivotal moment demanding we rethink our relations with animals.

But what happened next?

As the virus migrated from distant locations to our doorsteps, the story of Covid-19 shifted. Questions about our relations with animals faded from view and efforts to contain and manage the spread of the virus took precedence.

This panel will ask: how and why did this happen? Are these previous concerns now redundant? Should we have faith that our technical know-how will always overcome current and future challenges? Or should we bring the treatment of animals back centre stage in this story. Our three speakers will examine these relations and more, ones that many global experts say make future pandemics not just likely but probable.

There are the stories we tell, the stories we don’t tell, and the stories we need to tell.

This event takes place online.

Organised by the Institute for Social Responsibility, and in association with the Centre for Human Animal Studies (CfHAS), this event is part of Edge Hill University’s annual Festival of Ideas. The Festival is programmed by the University’s Research Institutes, ISR and HRI, and this year they are joined by the Data Science Research Centre to explore the theme of Renewal: Creativity, Community, Curiosity’.

Date: Wednesday 30th June 2021

17.15 Registration
17.30 Event start
18.30 Event end

Venue: Online (a secure link will be distributed following registration).

Registration: closed


Dr Paula Arcari
Paula is a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow within the Centre for Human Animal Studies at Edge Hill University, UK. Her three-year project ‘The Visual Consumption of Animals: Challenging Persistent Binaries’ aims to support transformational change in the way humans conceive and interact with nature. Before joining Edge Hill, Paula worked at RMIT University in Melbourne on a range of climate change projects and completed her PhD there in 2018. Her work is focused on understanding societal change and stability in relation to climate and environmental change, the expropriation of nature, and the oppression of nonhuman animals.

Donelle Gadenne
Donelle is a qualified veterinary nurse who has worked in the veterinary industry for over two decades in Australia. She completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Writing, Editing and International Cultural Studies at Edith Cowan University in Perth, Western Australia in 2011 and obtained an Honours degree in writing the following year. She has a Master of Arts degree in English completed at the University of Canterbury in 2015 (within the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies, NZCHAS). Donelle is co-author along with Annie Potts of Animals in Emergencies: Learning from the Christchurch Earthquakes (2014). She is currently completing a PhD at Edge Hill University within the department of Social Sciences researching veganism and the UK veterinary profession.

Dr Alex Lockwood
Alex is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sunderland.  His research interests include all forms of creative and critical writing that engage with questions of relations across human-nonhuman boundaries, anti-speciesist narratives, and the production of creative work in experimental and ‘creatural’ forms.  He is particularly interested in approaches that combine literary study with cognitive linguistics, cognitive poetics and other forms of narrative theory to explore the ways in which meaning is created through literary language and how this can help us shift our current exploitative relationships with other animals and the planet.  

Related links:

Institute for Social Responsibility (ISR)
ISR is Edge Hill University’s cross-disciplinary research and knowledge exchange initiative. With a remit to critically examine broad conceptualisations of social responsibility across all disciplines, the Institute is committed to exploring the opportunities for cross sector collaboration and co-operation and to draw on the experience of practitioners. ISR is committed to sustaining a vibrant research culture at Edge Hill and thus provides research support in the form of training, research and knowledge exchange funding and annual research fellowships. ISR is also home to the Evaluation Policy Unit, dedicated to the assessment of public policy and public policy research. For more information please check out the ISR Homepage

The Centre for Human Animal Studies (CfHAS)
CfHAS is an interdisciplinary forum for research and activities that engage with the complex material, ethical and symbolic relationships between humans and other animals. CfHAS brings together scholars from the arts and humanities, social sciences and natural sciences to examine how rethinking our relations with animals can create meaningful social, policy, environmental, ethical and cultural change. For more information please check out the CfHAS Homepage

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