Meet the 2023 Eva Koch Scholars

The 2023 Eva Koch Scholars share their topic and why it’s important to Quakers today.

Meet the 2023 Eva Koch Scholars Woodbrooke Quaker learning and research

From left to right: M. Amelia Eikli, Caroline Chandler and Jo Cremins.

M. Amelia Eikli

M. Amelia Eikli is an author, artist and creative consultant. She lives in Weston-super-Mare and worships at Weston Meeting.

What are you exploring in your Eva Koch scholarship?

I’m working on bringing forward lessons from historic activism and presenting them in ways that are easy to engage with. Through the analogies of tending flames, I hope to produce a piece of work that can bring hope and resilience to Quakers involved in climate activism.

What made you want to pick this area?

More and more often, I meet people involved in climate activism who struggle with feelings of burnout and hopelessness. Quakers have a long history of activism and allyship, but this is different – we’re all together on the affected side. But this isn’t the first social change that has been urgent and life-and-death for those affected. I’m interested in what we can learn about hope and resilience from those who fought – and are still fighting – for women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, racial justice and other causes. I’m also looking at how metaphor and language can help us bypass feelings of defensiveness and deflection when these conversations come up. I’ve found the metaphors of flames and tending flames to be very helpful in speaking to those who are losing hope, and I’m excited to explore ways of doing this at a larger scale.

Jo Cremins

Jo lives in West Yorkshire and worships at Ilkley meeting.

What are you exploring in your Eva Koch scholarship?

I will be looking at how Quakers can work with others to create sustainable places in which to live and work. My research will focus on the community led initiatives taking place in our towns and cities that are lowering carbon emissions and founding alliances. Friends have a rich history of taking social action, and my investigation will explore how we can create networks in our neighbourhoods to become custodians of our own communities.

What made you want to pick this area?

I was inspired by Woodbrooke’s ‘Exploring Faith and Climate Justice’ course to inquire further into how we can meet the challenges of the climate emergency. The deep inequalities in our society are contributing to the crisis, and to understand how we can positively move forward these disparities need to be deconstructed. I have a profound belief that people working strategically and locally can be powerful agents for change. A strong cohort of communities are currently helping to shape the way that we use energy, transport and green spaces. They are also re-thinking how we access the things we need such as fresh produce, clothing and a helping hand.

A significant part of my research will ‘discern new growing points in social and economic life’ and consider how ideas of growth can be reframed so that resources are shared more fairly. Vital work has begun on a small scale to tackle climate change and there is value in considering how their successes can be replicated by Friends to build a strong movement of solidarity.

Caroline Chandler

Caroline lives in North London and works as a freelance research and evaluation specialist. She is particularly interested in food and agriculture policy, and how our food system interacts with issues such as public health, climate change and access to land and green spaces. She attends Howgills meeting in Letchworth (Herts) and Westminster meeting in London.

What are you exploring in your Eva Koch scholarship?

I will be exploring the role of Quaker gardens and green spaces in helping to address the climate crisis. I am interested in understanding the history and evolution of Quaker gardens, how they are managed and used, who has access to the space, and how they contribute to broader Quaker work on social and climate justice.

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