Autumn Updates

Published: 25 September 2023

Announcing an exciting public event in October and reflecting on our sessions on Seasonal Cultures at the RGS-IBG conference

There’s no denying it: this past week has been chilly and wet. There’s been a distinctly crisp, autumnal breeze. The mornings before work are that much dimmer. Now’s about the time you start to hear, on the bus or in the shop, people remarking in a knowing voice, ‘The nights are drawing in…’. And recently the Living with SAD team has been hearing from a number of journalists interested in writing something about Seasonal Affective Disorder.

All sure signs that the season is turning, and a good reminder to us to post a wee update about what we’ve been up to as we prepare for this year’s winter season.

Our biggest news: we’ve scheduled a major public event 'Wintering Well: Living with Seasonal Affective Disorder' at the end of October, at which we’ll launch three of our project’s key outcomes. We will share a creative book consisting of written and photographic reflections on the experience of living with SAD. We’ll introduce the new online CBT resources for people suffering from SAD, developed by Living Life to the Full in collaboration with out team and Wintering Well workshop participants. And we will also share a resource pack for anyone who would like to organise their own Wintering Well group. Besides these announcements, there will be guest speakers, cake, and an opportunity to participate in a creative seasonal activity together.

The event will be Saturday, 28 October in the University of Glasgow’s Advanced Research Centre (ARC), 12:45-16:00.

Read more about the event and book a ticket on Eventbrite by clicking here

The other big news items is that our team organised two sessions of papers at this year’s Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) conference on the theme of Seasonal Cultures and with sponsorship from the RGS-IBG’s Social and Cultural Geography Research Group. We wrote a short summary of the sessions for the research group, and we wanted to share it with you here too:

At this year’s RGS-IBG conference, we hosted two sessions on the theme of Seasonal Cultures. Our interest in seasonality and experiences of seasonal change took on additional significance within the context of the Chair’s theme of Climate Changed Geographies: in a series of terrific presentations, our sessions’ speakers described how learning to live amid disruptions to familiar seasonal rhythms and the emergence of new weather patterns has produced changing social, cultural, emotional and affective geographies of environmental life.

A major theme across a number of the presentations was the importance of local and intimate seasons for understanding the changing cultural geographies of climate change. Presenters shared examples of how gardens, apple trees and bird migration can become sites of intimate encounter with the threat of climate change, but also the struggle to read local environments to discover ways to preserve cherished forms of life. A closely linked discussion emphasised the value of understanding seasons as sense-making in the face of disruption, anxiety and feelings of ‘global weirding’.

Photo of a man presenting about seasonal cultures in front of a projection of a yule log

Through rich examples from a range of geographical locations, such as accounts of a new ‘haze season’ in Southeast Asia or Norwegian beekeepers’ modification of seasonal repertoires of practice, presenters addressed ways in which communities interpreted, named and responded to changing patterns of weather and atmosphere. A final major interest was the digital mediation of seasonality. Public perceptions of seasonal patterns and disruptions can be shared through social media platforms, offering insight into experiences of climate change as well as opportunities for innovative, participatory and creative-led research methods. This is also reflected in the development of new forms of popular digital media to simulate seasonal atmospheres, such as Yule Log videos and other ‘ambient’ videos. Seasons are not simply times of year we find ourselves in: people watch, learn from, respond and even seek to make them.

The Seasonal Cultures sessions suggested new avenues for studying changing experiences of seasonality and opened up a number of key questions about how to learn from those particularly affected by seasonal change—be it through their profession, location, mental health—and how to build new ways of supportive seasonal life together.

As we enter the winter season, we expect to have a number of updates and plans to share on this blog, so stay tuned – and stay warm out there!

First published: 25 September 2023