6th Nature Connections Conference 2024: Developments in Research and Practice

Date and time
Monday, 24 June 2024 -
Tuesday, 25 June 2024

The Museum of Making at Derby Silk Mill,
Silk Mill Lane,

The University of Derby’s Nature Connectedness Research Group invites you to save the date.

After a few years of hibernation, we are thrilled to announce that the University of Derby's Nature Connections Conference will return in 2024 to bring together researchers and practitioners interested in nature connection to share and discuss the latest research, ideas, and applications in the field.

We expect the event will sell out and highly recommend early registration.

Abstract Submission

The call for abstracts has now closed.

Submissions will be evaluated on the following criteria:

Feedback on submitted abstracts will be given on Wednesday 13 March.

If you have any questions in the meantime about your submission, please get in touch at: conference@derby.ac.uk.

Authors with accepted submissions must register their place at the conference by 19 April 2024.

Conference Details

  • Abstract submission deadline: 5pm, Wednesday 21 February 2024
  • Abstract feedback: Wednesday 13 March 2024
  • Early bird registration: 1 March – 19 April 2024
  • Late registration: 20 April – 21 June 2024

Bookings will open from 1 March 2024. To join the mailing list email Conference@derby.ac.uk with the subject NCx2024

Conference Tickets: 24 - 25 June 2024

  • Early Bird Ticket - £130
  • Regular Ticket - £165
  • Postgrad Ticket (discounted rate - only 20 available) - £65

Conference Dinner: 24 June 2024

3-course evening meal at a venue in Derby - £30

Workshops: 25 June 2024

There is a charge of £15 per person, per workshop. You will receive refreshments as part of your workshop ticket. 

Please see the workshops available above. Ensure that the timings of the workshops you book do not overlap. 

The maximum capacity for each workshop is in brackets. If you are unable to book one of these workshops, it may be that the capacity has been reached.

Book now to avoid disappointment. 

Nature Connectedness Workshops

During the Nature Connectedness Event, you have the option of choosing from the following workshops to attend. There is a £15 fee per workshop, which includes refreshments. 

Numbers are limited due to the capacity of the space we will be using, so please register and pay to secure your place.

Day Two: Tuesday 25 June

Time: 9:20am - 11am

Dr Gemma Collard-Stokes 

Together we will take part in a ceremony of ecological and social connectivity through solo and collective tasks that invite us to playfully immerse ourselves with our surroundings, found materials and interactions with the group. 

What to expect - this workshop involves solo and collective movement via choreographic tasks for urban green spaces. We will be guided through a physical, poetic, and immersive experience, inviting us to connect to space, nature, and others from an embodied and ecological perspective. 

Who is it for - this workshop is for all. However, it does involve walking/ moving on and off pathways and between groves and shrubbery in a public green space. 

What to wear / bring - loose comfortable clothing and waterproof trainers/ walking shoes are recommended. Please bring drinking water, sunscreen, waterproofs, layers, hats as required. You may also wish to bring a notebook and pen. 

(Maximum capacity = 15 people)

Time: 9:30am - 11am

Dr Caroline Harvey and Dr Fiona Holland

With over 40 years of experience (collectively) in evaluation techniques, Caroline and Fiona will introduce you to some of the key things to consider when evaluating nature-based interventions. The workshop will draw on their extensive experience of working with organisations such as the Wildlife Trusts, the Outward Bound Trust, St Ann’s Allotments, the RSPB and many more. During the workshop, you will learn about some of the key considerations when designing an evaluation using both qualitative and quantitative techniques. You will also develop an understanding of some of the practicalities of conducting evaluations. We will highlight pitfalls to avoid and share tips for success. The workshop will also introduce you to some considerations for including evaluation when developing bids for funding. 

(Maximum capacity = 25 people)

Time: 9:30am - 11am

Dr Christopher Barnes 

As urban areas grow, natural habitats are lost and replaced by human infrastructure; streets and residential areas, outdoor spaces and facilities; including retail, industrial and transportation, and illuminated signs. Consequently, when these developments happen there is a corresponding increase in the demand for lighting and an upsurge in – human-made - Artificial Light at Night (ALAN). The challenge this presents is how best to balance the benefits of ALAN against its potential negative consequences.  

During this workshop, we will discuss and take part in activities that cover: 

  • What light pollution is
  • The impact that Artificial Light at Night (ALAN) has on biodiversity and humans
  • The importance of natural darkness
  • The challenges, barriers and solutions when accessing or creating dark sky spaces
  • How we might go about rewilding the night

Time: 11:20am - 1pm

Kirsten McEwan

Originating in Japan, these mindful nature experiences (or ‘Shinrin Yoku’) provide an opportunity to switch off from your ‘to-do’ list, relax, and appreciate your surroundings in a new way. My research found that these one-hour guided walks reduced overthinking by 51%, anxiety by 40%, increased social connection by 27% and improved cardiovascular health by 15%.

Over 1 hour, I'll guide us in a slow silent meander in nature, where I provide mindfulness and sensory techniques to really notice and appreciate our surroundings. This might include noticing the colours of leaves, listening to birdsong, smelling fallen leaves, and comparing the feel of different types of tree bark. 

"I found it a great escape from my hectic work life, it allowed me to be truly switched-off and relaxed for once and always left me in a good mood for the rest of the day" Luke, Derby student 

(Maximum capacity = 20 people)

Time: 11:30am - 1pm

Jamie Bird

'Imagination in a Time of Crisis' is an arts-based workshop that provides a safe environment in which to communicate personal and collective emotional responses to the experience of living with the climate crisis. The following points guide the structure of the workshop: 

  • The workshop aims to hold emotions expressed about the climate crisis using creative methods
  • The focus will primarily be upon the present moment in time, but we may move towards considering the future where this is appropriate
  • The focus will move from the individual to the group
  • This is not a form of therapy, but it might be therapeutic and transformative 

Easy-to-use art materials will be available to help those who attend to respond to the topic. No previous experience of using art in this way is required to take part. The emphasis is on using art as an aid to creative expression rather than creating something that is aesthetically pleasing to look at.  

The workshop will be delivered by Dr Jamie Bird, who has a great deal of experience of using art within the context of research and art therapy practice to explore challenging questions. 

(Maximum capacity = 20 people)

Book your place

Fill in the form to register your place at the Nature Connections Conference 2024. You will be required to continue to the payment page to secure your booking.

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