Summer conferences

Authors: Anda Adamsone-Fiskovica, Mikelis Grivins, Diana Mincyte, Pia Piroschka Otte, Sandra Šūmane, Talis Tisenkopfs

For CIRCLE researchers, this summer was rich with conference attendance. CIRLCE results were presented in five papers at four conferences.

On June 21-23 Pia Piroschka Otte (Ruralis) attended the 8th International Conference on New Business Models “Building partnerships for more sustainable, resilient and regenerative business models” in Maastricht, the Netherlands. It was the first time for Pia to attend this conference and she presented a paper entitled “Collaboration for circular use of bioresources across agriculture, forestry and aquaculture”. Pia shares her insights from the conference: “My presentation was on the last day in the last session before the final plenary session so I was a bit worried that I would not have too many participants in the audience. However, attendance was good and I got a lot of questions and comments in the end of my presentation. The audience was impressed by the amount of case data we have collected in the project across the four different countries. The audience was particularly interested in the types of collaborative arrangements we have identified in the project across the agriculture, forestry and aquaculture sectors. The conference offered a nice environment for me to learn more about new business models and meet other scholars in the field. My background is not in business studies but I do work with sustainable business models in my research and hence it is very fruitful for me to be surrounded with experts in the field who can provide me with new ideas. The conference was very well organized with many PhD students presenting their work as well.”

Picture 1 : Pia in front of the Maastricht School of Business and Economics where the conference took place

Picture 2: Maastricht Last plenary session with conference group picture in the background

Picture 3: Maastricht

On June 28-29, BSC senior researcher Anda Adamsone-Fiskovica attended the 5th World Congress of Latvian Scientists “Research Latvia” in Riga. She presented the CIRCLE typology of intra- & cross-sectoral solutions in implementing bioresource circularity in agriculture, forestry & aquaculture. The event brought together over 1000 participants from 22 countries across the world, focusing on three interdisciplinary topics – Digital Transformation, Green Transition, and Science Impact. As reflected by Anda, “the format of the event bringing together Latvian scientists across different disciplines from both exact and social sciences allowed learning of topics and activities pursued by other researchers that I normally would not encounter in international scientific events with a more specific disciplinary and/or thematic focus. It was great to learn more of some already known but also new research-led innovations in making effective use of bioresources such as, for example, industrial bark residues for the production of sustainable bark-based wood protection and building materials, propolis (bee-glue) for the production of antibacterial packaging, mushroom spawn for the development of a biodegradable composite material, or biomass of invasive plant species for the production of biogas or essential oils.”

Picture: Plenary of the congress

Picture: Anda next to CIRCLE poster

Two CIRCLE papers were presented at the XXIXth European Society for Rural Sociology Congress “Crises and the futures of rural areas” that took place on 3-7 July in Rennes, France. Mikelis Grivins (BSC) presented “How to enable circular business models?: Comparative analysis of evidence from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Norway” and Talis Tisenkopfs (BSC) – “Diversity and typology of circular economy initiatives across agriculture, forestry and aquaculture in the Baltic-Nordic region”. Mikelis’s observation was that “the session on circularity was the smallest one at the conference in terms of participants. Topics that started gaining visibility during 1990s such as agro-ecology, short food supply chains, land use were dominating the conference, and more recent topics such as circularity – still need to gain scholars’ attention. The particular contribution of CIRCLE social researchers in the conference’s discussion on circularity was the broader, systemic perspective on circularity they provided, as other participants were focusing on a specific food chain element.” Talis’s take away from the conference discussions was that “new circular business models must be increasingly reflexive, socially open and transparent about their circular practices”.

Last but not least, on 2-6 August Diana Mincyte (VU) attended the 85th Annual Meeting of the Rural Sociological Society “Pursuing Equity and Access in Development – Roles for Rural-Focused Public Scholars” in Burlington, Vermont, USA with a paper “Who is excluded from the circle in the circular economy? The practice, politics, and gender of care in industrial agriculture.” The presentation was part of the panel on care work in agriculture and it was among the best attended panels – at least from the ones Diana had an opportunity to attend. According to Diana, “There seems to be a growing interest in the ways that values, norms, and social roles can parlay into environmentally friendly practices that sustain healthy landscapes, ecological systems, and rural livelihoods. At the same time, the discussion raised important questions about the limits of care labor, particularly due to gendered expectations of who should be performing what kind of work, social inequalities, and various forms of self-exploitation involved in care work.”

Picture: Florian Pircher from Pixabay