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It's the getting there that counts!

National Curriculum Keywords: TBC

Rebecca Enderby  

PhD student, Geography Department, King's College London.


Rebecca is researching biofuel production in Karnataka, State, southern India.  Rebecca originally studied a BSc Zoology at the University of Sheffield, has worked for among other organisations, Friends of the Earth and is part of a Documentary and Photojournalist 'Meet-Up' group in London

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Research profile here

Talk summary:

As part of the Intrepid Explorers seminar series this talk will reflect upon the time I spent in Karnataka state, southern India. I have had the pleasure of travelling to Bangalore three times throughout the course of my PhD, the last trip being for a period of 6 months. Each time I was equally amazed and confused; feelings of love and huge frustration intimately interlinked. Having gone there to research the social and ecological impacts of the biofuel plant Jatropha, it quickly became clear that this would be no easy task. Shifting biofuel policies and initiatives had taken the limelight away from the so called 'miracle plant' and refocused it onto indigenous, native species of oil producing plants. Many phone calls and emails later I established contact with a few key people within the new biofuels initiative, found two volunteers and travelled off to rural Hassan, a bumpy three and hour half journey away from my comfortable flat in Bangalore. The Hassan Biofuels Park would become my home when I travelled out into the field and was an eerie building in the middle of large agricultural research area, surrounded by nothing but plants, in situ field experiments and bugs. To the interest of my Indian volunteers I developed a love of Jackfruit, a bright yellow fruit with an odd constituency and strong smell, most definitely an acquired taste. I did however still insist on 'sugarless' tea and coffee, much to the distaste of all my sweet-toothed Indian counterparts. I learnt how to assert myself and push for what I needed done; the battle to do research was made no easier by being a woman surrounded by men. I also spent a lot of time waiting. This seminar will use some of the many photographs I took out there to take a journey from my spacious flat in Bangalore, situated within arm’s reach of one of the hundreds of new construction sites popping up in the city, out into the rural farmlands of Hassan, stopping at a few temples on the way. On this journey I 'take with me' my two wonderful (and female!) volunteers, the Biofuel Park employees and the many friendly farmers; all in chase of Jackfuit and Jatropha.

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