Contributed by Nemer Narchi, 2010-2012 ISE Student Representative

This workshop was sponsored by The Christensen Fund (TCF). The theme chosen for this second edition was “Brick by Brick”: Laying the Foundations for the Future of Biocultural Diversity Research. The workshop was held in the cottage Gîtes de Briandes located in Lunas, France.

Days before the celebration of the 2012 ISE Congress, the ISE held the 2nd Workshop for Emerging Ethnobiologists. The three-day intensive workshop (Thursday–Sunday, May 17-20) brought together Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants from around the world to discuss vanguard topics in ethnobiology, exchange their experiences, build relationships, and foster collaborations into the future.

Guided by recognized experts in various subfields on ethnobiology, this year’s workshop gathered 30 talented participants from 15 different countries, to brainstorm around five core topics:

  1. The inter- and trans-disciplinary nature of ethnobiology
  2. Ancient knowledge and modern science—bridging the gap with innovative ethnobiological research
  3. Ethnobiological perspectives on advocacy and scientific integrity
  4. The role of bio-cultural diversity researchers in finding solutions for sustainable development
  5. Profiles of careers in Ethnobiology

It cannot be said that during this exhaustive and intensive workshop the participants suffered too much. With a great help from the Congress’s organizing committee, the workshop was held in a relatively remote facility: Gîtes de Briandes, a stone-built village located at Monts de l’Escandorgues in Lunas, France. The semi-retreat format in a location surrounded by natural beauty was, without question, an important tool to fulfill the goal of strengthening our discipline not only academically, but as human beings also.

It is worth mentioning that to choose the topics for this year’s workshop, ISE considered comments and contributions of ethnobiology students from around the world. These contributions were collected by the International Network of Emerging Ethnobiologists (INEE). INEE was formed after the celebration of the 1st Workshop for Emerging Ethnobiologists held in Tofino, Canada, in 2010. Throughout its existence the INEE has fostered international connections between emerging ethnobiologists to broaden and strengthen the reach of ethnobiology around the world. INEE constantly builds bonds between ethnobiology students, early career professionals and ISE members around the world by announcing new research opportunities; advertising research projects, programs and results; and introducing the mission and goals of the ISE to student audiences everywhere.

2012 Student WorkshopHere are what some of the participants said about the workshop:

It’s exciting to think of our collective potential to move ethnobiology forward in the coming decades” – Kristine Skarbø

It’s a pleasure having connected with such amazing and knowledge resource people like you from all areas of the world. Thank you all for the wonderful experience we shared” – Ntumwel Bonito Chia

I loved the workshop and am delighted that I was able to attend. We discussed interesting issues, forged new friendships, and consumed good food… it was a spectacularly good time, and I feel that it was important for us all to connect with one another and sow seeds for the future of ethnobiology.” – Evelyn Roe

Every mentor’s lecture was impressive for me, because we don’t have a class of ethnobiology in Japan. There, some people studying in ecological anthropology, agronomy, or environmental and rural sociology learn just a part of ethnobiology by reading academic papers; there are no systematic and inclusive course of “ethnobiology” in Japan, and maybe in other east Asian countries.” – Takanori Oishi

The pre-congress students workshop for emerging ethnobiologist was a eye opening for me to get into the academic world. And meeting mentors and colleagues from different biogeographical region with different social and cultural background was a chance to build global family in what we call as a global village. Thanks to organizer for their excellent job and all other friends for their lovely company.” – Jigme Dorji

The pre-congress student workshop is an invaluable experience for students. It builds bonds, broadens perspectives, and encourages emerging ethnobiologists to be as innovative as the forefathers of our discipline. I personally thank The Christensen Fund for supporting such an important initiative.

I also take advantage of these lines to acknowledge this year’s mentors; Holly Shrumm, Gail Wagner, Barbara Wilson, Alain Cuerrier, Harry Jonas, Raymond Pierotti and Rick Stepp, as well as the workshop’s organizing committee: Sylvie Blangy, Sophie Caillon, Gisella Cruz, Alain Cuerrier, Hannes Dempewolf, Natasha Duarte, Louise Lhoutellier, Takanori Oishi and Giulia Sajeva.

If you are interested in participating or mentoring the 2014 pre-congress student workshop, and/or getting involved in the activities and programs of INEE, join us using our blog or our facebook group.