Creative "VrijMiBo" XI: Charles Foster


Mar 22 2024 (15:00-17:00)

BirdEyes (Zaailand 110 Leeuwarden)

We are delighted to let you know that the British writer Charles Foster will be visiting BirdEyes on Friday 22 March 2024. At BirdEyes we aim to describe the world through the eyes of birds. Charles Foster has exactly done that for a number of species of birds ánd mammals ánd insects. Clearly, we recognize him a kindred spirit. His work is a great inspiration (and great fun) for some of us.

The topic of the afternoon will be ‘fearful-biology’. This is the failure to discuss and deal with the common but unacknowledged premise of biology that organisms are kind of ‘programmed machines’, rather than entities with a soul, and giving the soul a biological role. Charles Foster has put a finger on this legacy of the Neolithic and the Enlightenment in both “The Screaming Sky” and “Being a Human”. Charles will introduce the issues with some spoken words, to then develop the theme by interacting with his audience.

After an hour (and a break) we hope to become explicit about how a ‘biology-with-a-soul’ may affect our narratives, and even our research. For example, we might develop the case of black-tailed godwits failing to find space for refuelling in Doñana, southern Spain, now that it has finally dried up in its entirety.

Development director of BirdEyes, Johan van de Gronden will mediate the session.

For organisational purposes, we kindly ask you to register HERE, if you would like to join us.

If you haven’t read any of Charles Foster’s books, to those who are joining the meeting we recommend “Fox”, the first chapter in “Cry of the Wild”. The pdf of this text is available for download:


In addition, we are currently organizing targeted work meetings, building on the traditions that we have developed during the Wadvogelwerk (Metawad-Waddenfonds), Kening fan ‘e Greide for many years, and the black-tailed godwit research in southwest Fryslân.

Centre for global ecological change at the University of Groningen

Birdeyes is a science and creative centre that views the world - almost literally - through the eyes of birds. More and more birds are flying around with tiny transmitters, loggers and other high technology on their backs and legs. This generates an unimaginable amount of information. By cleverly combining such data with other sources of information, and by using new ways to tell stories and share the insights with, BirdEyes strives to open up a new knowledge network. The centre aims to be an innovative part of the University of Groningen and is linked to the Rudolph Agricola School for Sustainable Development. BirdEyes, with empirical and inspirational roots in the farthest corners of the world.

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