EARTH Scholars at Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh. ©

Cameron Brisbane

Friday 30 June 2023

On Monday July 3rd, PhD and early career researchers from around the world will present their research at SGSAH’s Global Connects symposium, speaking about the role that Arts and Humanities have in facing up to climate challenges.

For the last four months, the 2023 EARTH Scholarships programme has seen 13 early-career researchers from 11 countries including India, Pakistan, South Africa, the Netherlands and Mexico, live and work at higher education institutions across Scotland where they have been collaborating with Scottish-based researchers. 

Funded by British Council Scotland, and delivered by SGSAH, the EARTH Scholarships have been designed to address the climate emergency from a new angle, encouraging global collaborations drawing on science, the arts and humanities, with a focus on environmental themes.

At Global Connects, the scholars are set to provide an update on a packed programme of activity that has taken place across Scotland, from Glasgow to Orkney, Aberdeen to Rannoch Moor. Research highlights include exploring eco-archaeology through studying myth and folklore, marine governance and performance art, to the history of social movements and climate justice. 

Speaking about their experiences in Scotland this year are two of the EARTH Scholars who travelled to Scotland in April, conducting research at the University of Strathclyde and the University of the Highlands and Islands:

Camellia Biswas is a doctoral researcher in Humanities and Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Technology in Gandhinagar. During her EARTH scholarship exchange she has worked in collaboration with the University of the Highlands & Islands (UHI). This Monday she will present her research, “From Ancient Curiosities to Contemporary Conundrums: Orkney's Enigmatic Seal-ationship”

Speaking about her research Camellia says: “I’ve been using concepts across GIS, zooarchaeology, history, and political-ecology, along with local engagement, to study seals, humans, and conservation politics - all through the lens of deep-time and the implications for climate change. 

About her time in Scotland Camellia addsit’s been wonderful to build relationships with other PhD scholars across environmental arts and humanities, the experience has really enriched my understanding of STEAM education in Scotland, and I hope to bring some of these learnings to apply in India”.

Buhle Francis, who studies at Rhodes University in South Africa has been based at the University of Strathclyde, her research is about climate crisis adaptability in South Africa: “I’m looking at climate change and the adaptions being made by grandmothers who are custodians of the ocean, harvesting seaweed for their livelihoods. I’m researching their traditional ecological knowledge, as they use ocean resources, and the impacts of climate change on human communities. Then art is used to disseminate the findings to stakeholders.

Speaking recently at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, Buhle spoke about her time in Scotland,  “The EARTH Scholarship programme has covered everything, from peat analysis in Glencoe to looking at ecological processes here at Royal Botanic Gardens. The connections made at Strathclyde University and with the other global Scholars are valuable worldwide connections which I hope to keep into the future”.

The EARTH Scholars are the first in a growing global cohort connecting 13 scholars this year with 13 counterparts from across 15 Scottish HEIs. 

Speaking about the delivery of the programme this year, SGSAH’s Director, Professor Claire Squires commented: 

“We’ve had an amazing cohort from across the world working on projects that are raising awareness and challenging perceptions about environmental issues and the interface between art and science.

“Significant collaborations have created between universities and scholars in our network, with new ideas sparked and new connections forged across higher education institutions around the world. It will be great to hear from our Global scholars this week along with the Scottish researchers about the impacts of their research and programme as a whole”.

Lucy Young, Interim Director, British Council Scotland added about the creation of the Scholarships: 

“From our work through the Climate Connection that started at CoP26, we know that building global links between higher education institutions and scholars can be a powerful way to identify new approaches to address the climate emergency. We’re looking forward to hearing from this year’s cohort of EARTH scholars and excited about working with SGSAH on the development of the programme for next year.


Sign up to hear directly from the EARTH Scholars on Monday 3rd July, or read more about each of the scholars and their projects.

For any media enquiries please contact:

(Until 20/06/23 at 2pm) Rosalind Gould, British Council: +44 (7770 934953


Maz Seyf | Media Manager | Media and External Communications

Notes to Editor

About The Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities

The Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities (SGSAH) is the world’s first national graduate school in the Arts and Humanities. Its mission is to work in partnership to offer unparalleled training and support to doctoral researchers in Scotland. Its HEI members cover the whole of Scotland, from the Highlands and Islands to the Scottish Borders. Working with supporters in the arts, culture, creative and heritage sectors, SGSAH supports positive connections and productive networks locally, regionally and globally to provide outstanding opportunities for doctoral researchers in Scotland.

SGSAH is home to the AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership for Scotland. SGSAH is funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Scottish Funding Council as well as member HEIs.

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We support peace and prosperity by building connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and countries worldwide. We do this through our work in arts and culture, education and the English language. We work with people in over 200 countries and territories and are on the ground in more than 100 countries. In 2021-22 we reached 650 million people.