Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Witteveen + Bos

Research related to how people perceive the effects of mining on water- and landscapes

Sabine Luning

Supervision in collaboration with Mark Westmoreland 

MSc Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology: Policy-oriented research internship

Witteveen + Bos is an international consultancy & engineering firm with one of its offices located in Accra. They are a major partner in the project in Burkina Faso, and last year three of our MSc students did their master’s research as intern of W+B. This year, W+B is again interested in specific research questions, this time related to how people perceive the effects of mining on water- and landscapes.

The research project will have to focus on knowledges and perceptions of water- and landscapes and the dynamic processes of change due to human interventions such as gold mining. In the project, experts on modelling these processes on the basis of satellite images will collaborate with local inhabitants of the areas: how are landscapes visualised, how are dynamics of change envisaged, what are the scales that are taken into account in perceiving local areas and what are the values and meanings attributed to different aspects of the land(scapes)? Communication through visual means will be key in the project. We work together with modellers, photographers and artists in order to facilitate cross-cultural knowledge sharing. The aim of this endeavour is to communicate about policies for development and water & land management within intercultural platforms and see how visual languages can help to bridge the different mindsets of technical experts (engineers, hydrologists) and local users of water and land resources. These platforms should provide room for cross-cultural pedagogies.

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