Penelope Dransart

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Wales Trinity Saint David, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9362

Approve Date

October 5, 2016

Project Title

Dransart, Dr. Penelope Zoe, U. of Wales Trinity Saint David, Lampeter, UK - To aid research on 'Weather, Water, and Ways of Knowing: Responses to Climate Change in Isluga, Northern Chile'

Preliminary abstract: This project’s central objective is to understand how rural herding people in the Andes of northern Chile are challenged by unprecedented changes in water availability. They are described as being poor in their access to water rather than to land. At the same time, their deep knowledge of meteorological phenomena provides them with scope to exercise adaptability as well as resilience in social and ecological terms. When Isluga people sing ‘We are camanchaca’ (a thick mist which sometimes rolls across the land), they demonstrate a conceptualization of water that is incommensurable with Western worldviews that fail to recognize the real strength of meaning of people’s sense of interconnectedness with water. This project therefore investigates how water-related weather events feature in people’s lives in the Chilean Andes. Isluga residents often are also migrant workers in inter-Andean valleys and coastal communities in the Atacama Desert, and they experience weather events differently in rural and urban contexts. Teenage children usually attend school in a coastal city,taking them away from highland communities. Hence an important strand of the research concerns the inter-generational transmission of knowledge and how skills in using water and interpreting weather conditions are passed down (or not) from one generation to the next. This project explores how weather events and water figure in people’s ways of knowing at a time when water and the reliability of its availability are gaining an increasing presence in national and international environmental agendas.