Who we are

Eco-read as a platform for more

who and why


This platform offers UiO‘s Centre for Development and the Environment a widened scope of possibilities to access and discuss topics of Environmental Humanities. Partly, it draws on the Arne Næss 2020 grant-holders’ initiative to increase interaction and collaboration both across fields and disciplines, and across geographies. Physically situated in Oslo, Norway, yet open for collaboration via online submissions, conferencing and networking, Eco-read aims to put in touch parallel motivations and yearnings for a better and more just world – long term, through putting academic and artistic, as well as ‘personal and planetary’ climate change related endeavors in contact with one another, creating continuities.

Even though the main focus is mostly on narrative identity and narrative time in the ‘Anthropocene(s)’ – as in first person ecocritical life-writing (or other forms of expression), Eco-read platform is by necessity interdisciplinary, as it aims to invite critical literary, philosophical, historian, political, journalistic, media and artistic contributions to the discussion on sustainability and the environment.

We welcome contradictions to our table, and constructive disagreement is always treated with respect and gratitude!

We are the editorial group connecting the three groups: reading & discussion group, creative work group and movie group with yet other initiatives, such as online submission-process and publishing, or the general connecting of networks: in other words, we collect similar creative leanings (with very different outcomes) under the roof of this page. For more, see connected projects and submissions.

Martina Mercellova is the founder of Eco-read. She is a group teacher of American Civilization at the Department of Literature, Area Studies and European Languages, University of Oslo. She is a masters student of English Literature at ILOS UiO, and an Arne Næss grant-holder at the Centre for Development and the Environment. She is currently finishing her masters thesis “Writing the Self in the Anthropocene:  Anthropocene without the Anthropos; agency and accountability in the era of post-humanism“. Her research combines the methods and approaches of literature studies and environmental ethics. Where do we stand in relation to nature? Utilizing her bachelor’s degree in philosophy, she critically investigates different aspects of relationality and intersubjectivity involved in the (more-than-linguistic) construction of the first person narrative “I”.

She is looking forward to discussing the continuities between the human and the more-than-human through the aesthetic and the estranged during the reading and discussion group’s monthly meetings. There is a lot of potential at the intersection of life-writing and ecocritical literature. Acknowledging the temporal and spatial continuities between self-identification and the environment through linguistic re-presentation, definition and perception, use of metaphor and anthropomorphism elucidates how animating the environment happens simply through realizing it always already lies within our individual stories. The textual narrative space and time of such an “I” points at how subjectivity can indeed fit into the planetary scale of the Anthropocene(s).

Nina Witoszek is currently research professor at the Centre for Development and the Environment at Oslo University. She is also director of the Arne Naess Programme on Global Justice and the Environment at the University of Oslo. Prior to her work at SUM, she taught comparative cultural history at the National University of Ireland in Galway (1995-1997) and the European University in Florence (1997-1999). She held fellowships at the Swedish Collegium of the Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences in Uppsala (1993), Robinson College, Cambridge (1995) and Mansfield College, Oxford (2001) and a visiting professorship at Stanford University (2010). Her latest publications include Sustainable Modernity: The Nordic Model and Beyond, ed.  (Routledge 2018) and The Origins of Anti-Authoritarianism (Routledge 2018).

Nina Witoszek is also a fiction writer (under the pen name Nina FitzPatrick). She is best known for the infamous collection of short stories, Fables of the Irish Intelligentsia (1991), which won the Irish Times-Aer Lingus Award for fiction in 1991. The prize was subsequently withdrawn when she couldn’t prove her Irish ancestry. Until 2001 her fictional work – including The Loves of Faustyna (1995) and Daimons (2003), as well as several film scripts – was written together with her late husband Pat Sheeran. She is also a script writer of a series of documentary films about iconic Norwegian heroes and thinkers, such as Fridtjof Nansen, Arne Naess, and Thor Heyerdahl.
Witoszek is the recipient of the Norwegian Freedom of Expression Foundation (Fritt Ord) Award for “bringing Eastern European perspectives to the public debate in Scandinavia.” In 2006 she was chosen by the Norwegian daily Dagbladet as “one of the 10 most important intellectuals in Norway.”

Clara vom Scheidt is interested sustainability and how sustainability in politics comes into life through practicing new ways of perceiving life, community, and the non-human. Her question is: How can we change interacting patterns with each other – in personal lives, workspace, and political spheres that enable a cultural transformation carrying sustainability? She is keen on learning about how to open spaces for the groups so that they access their potential collective wisdom. Therefore, she is currently following a Training on Transformational Leadership for Sustainability by CHANGE and Monica Scharma, and has gathered experience with Art of Hosting, Theory U, Deep Listening and Non-violent communication in the last years. As of lately, she is also discovering visual art to express environmental topics.

She is eager to get to know other artists interested in perceiving, communicating, and interacting with the topic and reality of the environment. Her scientific knowledge comes from a B.Sc. in environmental and political studies at the Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany. Her current M.Sc. is in Geography of Global Change based at the University of Freiburg, Germany. She enjoyed a whole year of studying abroad at SUM which became very much her ‘scientific and cultural home’. She is looking forward to being part of and contributing to the growing network Eco-read, full of inspired, critical, solidary thinkers, artists and co-actors.

Alexandru Prodan is a master student of Modern History at the University of Oslo and an Arne Næss grant-holder at the Centre for Development and the Environment. He is particularly interested in global environmental history and is doing his research on intergovernmental interventions in local ecological crises. Alex’s passion about movies brought him to Eco-read. He thinks that almost every movie has a perspective on natural environment.

Martin Lee Mueller holds a PhD in philosophy from the University of Oslo. Currently, he is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Teacher Education and School Research at the University of Oslo. The stage adaptation of his Nautilus Book Award-winning debut, Being Salmon, Being Human, has been touring across Scandinavia, the UK, and North America since 2016, both in Norwegian and English-language adaptations. The book also inspired the Virtual Reality artwork “The Bone”, which premiered at the Screen City Biennale, Stavanger, Norway, in 2019 and will premier in its Spanish translation in Chile 2020. His writing has been called “game-changing culture-shifting, ethical and eloquent, opening the way toward a more mature natural science”. He interweaves moral philosophy, earth systems science, indigenous perspectives, ecoliteracy and ecopoetry.

Mueller’s latest publications include essays for the books Otherkind. Spirit, Science, and the Practices of Kinship (ed. Robin Wall Kimmerer et al., forthcoming), as well as for The Wonder of Water. Lived Experience, Policy, and Practice (ed. Ingrid Stefanovic, 2019, University of Toronto Press). Mueller is a fellow of the non-profit Small Earth Institute.