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Checking in with Deep Time

This project run in collaboration with Prof Cecilia Åsberg aims to deal with the major research question of how to better re-tie the material and immaterial knots between past, present and future generations, and to suggest ways forward for moving towards innovative ways of checking in with our post-natural and materializing clocks. The project is methodologically innovative and aspires to have high impact on the approaches to sustainability, intergenerational justice and care in postnatural heritage management. It works with three studies - on focusing on the politicization of the long-term within the natural/cultural heritage sectors, the next with how vernacular temporalities are met and transformed on site at Gärstadsverken (a garbage disposal site situated on an Iron Age sanctuary) and theoretical work on intergenerational justice and care. Here traditional theories are compared to those developed within critical posthumanism and the environmental humanities. This project has an emphasis on citizens humanities and collaborative research. It also aims to provide humanities innovations to the civil services.

Recent publications:

Fredengren, C. 2021 (in press) Djuptidsverktyg, hållbarhet och omsorg mellan generationer. I Nordbäck, C. (ed). Ekokritik och Museipedagogik I skuggan av Antropocen. Göteborg: Världskulturmuseerna Göteborg.

Fredengren, C. 2021. Ecologizing Heritage: Heritage Ecologies. Heritage as phenomenon and worlding practices. In Petursdottir, T. & Bangstad, T. (eds) Heritage Ecologies. London: Routledge.

Fredengren, C. & Åsberg, C. 2020. Checking in with Deep Time. In Harrison, R. & Sterling, C. (eds) Deterritorializing the Future:Heritage in, of and after the Anthropocene. London, UK: Open Humanities Press.

Research modules and results


Keepers of Deep Time

Deep Time Management: a survey

Interviews with natural- and cultural heritage agencies have been carried out in order to trace what futures they are working with and planning for.

The Environmental Clock sites of Garbage and Heritage

The current task explores how heritage can work as “environmental-counter-clocks”. This will be done through a survey and empirical study of such a targeted site where materialities from different times percolate and infiltrate (cf. Serres and Latour´s 1995) the present, while some materials have a persistence and effect for futures to come. As will be explored, deep time may not necessarily be laid out in a chrono-linear way, but can be described as scrunched or folded, ‘touching’ in unexpected points.


Our project particularly highlight the environmental clocks and time-tensions in a case study of Gärstadsverken (, a semi-commercial garbage processing place, situated by lake Roxen in Linköping. The garbage plant is placed on a recently exposed Pre-Roman Iron Age burial place and sanctuary (Helander 2017). This is often seen as period when humans had a rather light footprint on earth and when the landscape was turned into farming with more organized field systems.

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Intergenerational Justice, Hope and Care and Counterclocks

In this task, the project explores the ethics of temporal encounters, in ways that encourages sensitivity to deeptime and possible environmental futures, where both our inheritances and legacies are carefully considered against theories developed in genderstudies, posthumanism and the wider environmental humanities debates (cf. Yousoff 2013; Braidotti 2013, Åsberg 2013, Haraway 2016, Clark and Gunaratnam 2017) and asks questions of what alternatives we have to the formal politicization of the long-term?

A Deep Time Check-in:

  • Relationship to geological/archaeological/ climatological time scales

  • Inter- and intragenerational ethics

  • Sacrifices and the mourning of loss of life and places

Curating the results

Here the focus is on presenting and providing methods of futures scenario building by the use of the wider environmental humanities. Learning from our findings, how might (natural/cultural) heritage resources be imagined, configured and enacted elsewise to work as environmental clocks for more sustainable futures. It deals with how social and cultural values and practices could transform through an engagement with a variety of natural/cultural clocks from community level and back to the civil services.

We present two curated online exhibitions:

... and various tools for checking in with deep time such as:

  • workshop with communes and heritage agencies

Fredengren, C. 2021 (in press). Djuptidsverktyg, hållbarhet och omsorg mellan generationer. I Nordbäck, C. (ed). Ekokritik och Museipedagogik I skuggan av Antropocen. Göteborg: Världskulturmuseerna Göteborg.

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