Postcards for Unstable Times

In this project the Society explores alternative ways to showcase stories, environments, and landscapes from throughout Europe (and potentially beyond). We have focussed our attention on (digital) postcards as medium. You can visit our exhibition at @eseh_postcards on Instagram.

Our postcards are intended to be windows of opportunity that may provide alternative readings of the world in times of crisis and radical change. The authors use their skills as environmental historians and humanists to speak to the future from the present, the present from the past, or the past from the future. Our hope is to present stories that may contribute to a sense of the incommensurable scale of the changes we are facing. To use Arundhati Roy’s metaphor, we aim at offering portals into another world.[^1] And, to cite Andri Snær Magnason, we explore what words we can use to effectively describe such a world.[^2]

The @eseh_postcards account has been launched during ASEH’s 2021 Environmental History Week. You can watch the event on our YouTube channel.

Screenshot of the project's Instagram page

Click to visit our showcase: accessible also to those without an Instagram account

We are still on the outlook for further postcards. If you have a postcard you want to discuss, get in touch with us at postcards [at] There are no deadlines at this stage: we will accept submissions on a running basis. To give you an idea of the work involved in producing a postcard, here are some guidelines:

  • First you will need to choose your ‘postcard’ image (or images, if you want to make a collage). This won’t be an actual historical postcard, but it will need to fit the traditional format of postcards: 10×15 cm or 4”x6”.
  • Please ensure that the images you use are out of copyright, have a creative commons license, or you are the copyright holder. The back will be made public under a CC-BY license.
  • Write approx 300 words in the form of a letter to the future from the present, from the past to the future, or from the future to the present or past, relating to the image on the front of the postcard (and using your skills and insights as an environmental historian). This text will go into the comment field on Instagram. Feel free to include suggestions for hashtags and your Instagram handle (if you want and have one) in your letter.
  • Imagine to whom you want to address your postcard. What actually goes in the address field is totally your choice, and will depend on your message. The idea behind it is to to maintain the postcard similitude, while giving you the possibility to specify for whom your message is. For example, if the postcard were about a disaster caused by a dam, you could decide to address it to the affected communities, or to the association of people fighting against big dams in Brazil etc. It is something more, that forces us to think about what we wish to say (and how).
  • Print out the attached template, and hand write both the address and a slogan, teaser, or summary of your 300 word letter or a slogan of some sort on it. This should be no more than 50 words. Then scan this (or take a good photo of it with your phone) and return it along with the image and a text file with your 300-word letter (possibly in txt format).
  • Fill in the description of the photo and the credits at the bottom of the attached template.
  • Another possibility is to produce an actual postcard and send it to us by mail: drop us an email at postcards [at] to get further details for this option and a postal address.

[1] Arundhati Roy, “The Pandemic Is a Portal,” Financial Times, April 3, 2020,

[2] Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee, “On Time and Water – a Conversation with Andri Snær Magnason,” Emergence Magazine,