Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Introducing Imagining Woodlands' collaborators: Suzi Richer

Scanning electron microscope image of pollen grains

Dr Suzi Richer works in palaeoecology, in particular studying sub-fossil* pollen grains to start to reconstruct past ecologies and environments.

Suzi is interested in how palaeoecology interacts with other disciplines to broaden understanding and interpretations of environments over time. She is interested in “flattening knowledge structures” and sharing knowledge, not just from experts such as archaeologists and biologists, but also from oral histories and people’s local knowledge of their area.

Recently Suzi, in conjunction with Dr Benjamin Gearey from University College Cork, Ireland, has been talking and writing about “ecocritical palaeoecology”, which broadly means the way that palaeoecology can contribute towards the way we think, write, speak and respond to current global ecological and environmental problems. This crosses scientific and archaeological study with cultural responses.

Suzi instigated the Imagining Woodlands project to explore how cross disciplines such as palaeoecology, art and literature, can interact to connect us to woodlands and examine our cultural perceptions of woodlands.  Suzi has extensive experience undertaking pollen analysis and studying woodland, and will bring her knowledge to the project.

Follow this link to see Suzi and her colleague Ben Gearey explaining the idea of ecocritical palaeoecology at the Theoretical Archaeology Group Conference last December - where Jo and Suzi met and first dreamed up the Imagining Woodlands project!

How do you imagine the woodlands of the past? Where do you think your idea of the past comes from and what are the cultural influences that affect this? Send us your thoughts at

Next update:  Introducing Dr Freya Sierhuis, Lecturer in literature at the University of York.

This post was originally posted as a newsletter on 23 June 2017.

Image by Dartmouth College Electron Microscope Facility - Source and public domain notice at Dartmouth College Electron Microscope Facility ([1], [2]), Public Domain,

*a stage before full fossilisation.

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