Dr Elin Kelsey brings hope to 2012 International Aquarium Congress
The Two Oceans Aquarium is proud to announce the second of three esteemed guest speakers for the 2012 International Aquarium Congress (IAC), taking place in Cape Town, South Africa from 9 to 13 September 2012. Internationally renowned researcher, writer and consultant Dr Elin Kelsey has confirmed her attendance and will deliver a keynote address during the opening ceremony of the 2012 IAC on 10 September 2012.
Dr Kelsey will deliver a keynote for the 2012 IAC that positions “hope” as an emerging narrative for aquariums around the world. According to Kelsey, “Aquariums have a unique ability to engender emotional connections between people, animals and environments.”
The keynote will recognise the essential leadership role that aquariums play in engaging communities of all kinds with environmental and sustainability issues, and situate it within the growing evidence that children and adults are suffering from “eco-phobia”, “environmental grief”, “environmental despair” and a number of other emotional and psychological reactions to being bombarded with “gloom and doom” about the state of the planet.
Kelsey will highlight innovative examples such as Nancy Knowlton and Jeremy Jackson’s “Beyond the Obituaries” Smithsonian Institute Programme, which gathers marine scientists for day-long workshops at international meetings to share aquatic conservation success stories.
She will also provide insights into how the Monterey Bay Aquarium has created a hopeful exhibit about climate change, and how framing conservation management of the Great Barrier Reef in terms of social ecological resiliency has resulted in more fish, bigger fish, in just three years.
Kelsey is currently conducting an empowerment evaluation for 40 aquariums across the USA engaged in communicating climate change and the oceans. She is a Visiting Scholar at the James Cook University studying hope and the environment among conservation biologists, environmental educators and the public and is also working with Stanford University in the USA on an international study to identify key areas for environmental education research by 2020.
Her most recent children’s book, a hopeful book about the environment – Not Your Typical Book About the Environment (Owl kids, 2010) – won the 2011 Green Earth Book Award.
The IAC is the most important and prestigious event for the global public aquarium industry. Held every four years, it is the only international platform which gathers decision makers and professionals from the global public aquarium community to share and learn about new developments in the fields of inter alia animal husbandry, research, technology, management, education, conservation and sustainability. Approximately 500 of the world’s most influential aquarium personnel and key decision makers in exhibitory, conservation, sustainability and education are expected to attend the 2012 IAC.