Veronica Strang (UK)



Professor Veronica Strang is an environmental anthropologist and the Director of Durham University’s Institute of Advanced Study. Her research focuses on human-environmental relations and, in particular, people’s engagements with water.

She has conducted ethnographic research in Australia, the UK and New Zealand, and has held posts at the University of Oxford, the University of Wales, Goldsmiths University and the University of Auckland. In 2000 she received a Royal Anthropological Institute Urgent Anthropology Fellowship, and in 2007 she was awarded an international water prize by UNESCO.

From 2013-2017 she was the Chair of the Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and the Commonwealth. In 2016-17 she assisted the United Nations High-Level Panel for Water, in developing new Principles for Water to underpin the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and in 2019 she was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.

Some of Veronica’s key publications include Uncommon Ground: cultural landscapes and environmental values (Berg 1997); The Meaning of Water (Berg 2004); Gardening the World: agency, identity and the ownership of water (Berghahn 2009); Ownership and Appropriation (Berg 2010); Water: nature and culture (Reaktion 2015); From the Lighthouse: interdisciplinary reflections on light (Routledge 2018) and, more recently, ‘A Sustainable Future for Water’ in Aqua: Journal of the International Water Association (2020)

Veronica is currently working on a major comparative study exploring diverse societal trajectories in long-term human-environmental relationships. This examines people’s changing interactions with the non-human world via a focus on their beliefs in water serpent beings. Her new book, Water Beings: from nature worship to the current environmental crisis, (working title) will be published in late 2021.

In 2019, June 11th-12th, Veronica participated in the Art Hub Copenhagen’s symposium, Life with Water: a transdisciplinary summit on future challenges and visions, with a keynote lecture, Future Life with Water: a vision of more convivial human-environmental relations.

Veronica Strang at spa fountain in Czech Republic. Photo: Helen Golden

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