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Research The Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG) Research Research centres Centre for International Relations Research (CIRR) Chair Group on History and Theory of International Relations

CIRR-HTIR colloquium - MAARTEN MEIJER: "Negotiating Oosterschelde"

When:Th 24-03-2022 16:00 - 18:00
Where:Room 1313.0342 & online

Research colloquium of the chair group History and Theory of International Relations.

Maarten Meijer
Negotiating Oosterschelde


Oosterschelde Negotiations is a research and design project that I have worked on together with Studio Inscape, in collaboration with the Flood Museum in Zeeland and stakeholders and experts working with or living in the Oosterschelde region. It has resulted in a ‘serious game’ in the Flood Museum that aims to make a contribution to the public debate on the future of the region.

The Oosterschelde and its surroundings constitute an interesting and complex region. It is the site of a flooding disaster in 1953 that killed almost 2000 people and traumatised the region. In response, a series of high tech water works was built, which instigated political negotiations between interests of fishing industries, ecological activists and the desire to prevent future floods. Today, the resulting settlement is increasingly put under pressure by climate change. This requires new negotiations, and the Parliament of the Oosterschelde is the place in which these negotiations take place, at least fictionally.

Groups of 9-12 players can reserve a session of Oosterschelde Negotiations during their visit to the Flood Museum. During this session they will be matched to one of the inhabitants of the region, humans, nonhuman animals or plants, who they will represent during the next 1,5 hours. After a meet and greet, and an exploration of one’s political interests, the players will discuss and decide on three dilemmas that have to do with some of the effects climate change will have on the region. Moving through these dilemmas, players move through time, and they will be confronted both with the evolving effects of climate change and the consequences of political decisions they have made in the past.

In the end, the project is about initiating discussions and reflections that players will take with them when they leave the Parliament: considering climate change is no longer really preventable or reversible, what do we want my region to look like in the near future and the not so near future? Who will live there, and in what way? Whose voices should be included in this discussion, and how? And whose will not, and why?