Henrik Ernstson

Role/Position: Honorary Associate Professor Email: henrik.ernstson@manchester.ac.za Website: http://www.rhizomia.net/

Dr Henrik Ernstson is a lecturer in Human Geography at The University of Manchester. In 2018 he was appointed an Honorary Associate Professor of the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town. He started as a Formas Postdoctoral Fellow at ACC in 2010 and was the Principal Investigator for several projects until 2018. He has held research positions at KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Stockholm University, including a productive Stig Hagström Postdoctoral Fellowships at the Department of History at Stanford University.


He is developing a situated approach to urban political ecology with a special focus on southern and postcolonial urbanism. He combines urban political ecology, urban studies, STS, and social movement studies, alongside interdisciplinary research in urban and landscape ecology. He is also developing film-based research practices using cinematic ethnography, montage and essay film to engage in the texture, embodiment, and situatedness of political and environmental practices, knowledges and politics. He has published two books that spans several of these interests: Urban Political Ecology in the Anthropo-obscene (Routledge 2019, edited with Erik Swyngedouw) and Grounding Urban Natures: Histories and Futures of Urban Ecologies (MIT Press 2019, forthcoming, edited with Sverker Sörlin).


Film-based research
With Jacob von Heland he is developing a research practice that integrates film as part of the environmental humanities. This work started in Cape Town and in 2018 their cinematic ethnography film One Table Two Elephants (2018, 84 minutes; with Jacob von Heland) had its World Premiere at the CPH:DOX in Copenhagen. The film deals with race, nature and knowledge politics in the postcolonial city and is a result of long-standing collaborations with groups and people in Cape Town. The film has been nominated to several prizes and screened at film festivals in Copenhagen, Cape Town, Tirana, Nijmegen and Stockholm with the following accolades:
– Nominated to Nordic Dox Award with World Premiere at CPH:DOX, Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival, March 2018.
– Nominated to Best Documentary Feature with African Premiere at Cape Town International Film Festival (CTIF&MF), October 2018.
– Nominated as Best International Documentary at Tirana International Film Festival (TIFF), November 2018.
– Official selection at InScience International Science Film Festival in Nijmegen in November 2018
– Official selection and Swedish premiere at CrossCuts Film Festival for the Environmental Humanities in Stockholm, November 2018.


Research collaborations
He has extensive international collaboration with co-workers in South Africa, Uganda, UK, Italy, USA and Sweden and he has lead interdisciplinary research groups with studies in Cape Town, New Orleans, Stockholm, Kampala and Luanda. He is the founder of The Situated Ecologies Platform in 2010 with Joshua Lewis and Jacob von Heland, which explores the spaces between art, science and environmental politics, and co-founder of the Situated Urban Political Ecology Collective (#SituatedUPE) with Mary Lawhon and Jonathan Silver.


Academic background
Before joining The University of Manchester he held research positions at KTH Royal Institute of Technology and their KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory (2013-2018), at Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University (2008-2013). He is a long-term Honorary Visiting Scholar at the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town (2012–), where he also held a Formas Postdoc position (2010-2011). He was the Stig Hagström Postdoctoral Scholar at the History Department at Standford University (2013-2015). He has been invited as keynote speaker at conferences and seminars at various African, North American, and European institutions, including University of Witwatersrand, University of KwaZulu-Natal, X!hodes University, Stanford University, University of Washington in Seattle, Université Paris-Diderot, Rachel Carson Centre, Università Roma Tre, amongst others. His PhD thesis in 2008 received the Swedish Head of State Award for excellent worked in environmental studies and in 2017 he received the French AXA Research Award for his “innovative work on urban sustainability in the global South”.


For publications, go here.