Dr Eirini Saratsi obtained a BSc in Agricultural Science from the Agricultural University of Athens in 1995. After completing her undergraduate studies, Dr Saratsi worked for several years in Athens in the private sector on landscape design and management, and in the public sector at the Greek Ministry of Agriculture. In 1997, Eirini was awarded a scholarship from the National Scholarship Institute in Greece to undertake postgraduate studies abroad. Through this opportunity, she was awarded an MSc in Landscape Ecology Design and Management from Imperial College at Wye, University of London, and a PhD in Landscape History from the School of Geography, University of Nottingham.
Since finishing her PhD in 2003, Dr Saratsi has held research and teaching positions at the Universities of Athens, Leicester, Greenwich and Exeter. Throughout these years, she has worked together with academics in this country and internationally and produced many collaborative publications. Eirini is a member of the European Society of Environmental History, the Royal Geographical Society and the Institute of British Geographers, the Landscape Research Group, and the International Union of Forest Research Organisations, with whom she served as deputy director of its Forest History research group for ten years (2005 – 2015).
Dr Saratsi is a human geographer by training and her research interests lie within the fields of cultural, historical and environmental geography. Eirini’s work is concerned with cultural landscapes, the socially defined spaces upon which humans develop their livelihoods and base their wellbeing. These interests built the rationale for her doctoral thesis, which investigated long-term processes of landscape character change on the Greek mountains in the context of shifting societal realities and cultural constructions of nature.
A particular part of Dr Saratsi’s research is concerned with the cultural history of forests on which she has published several academic papers and an edited book entitled Woodland Cultures in Time and Space: Tales From The Past, Messages For The Future. Eirini’s work also explores: people’s use and appropriation of nature; cultural attachments with green spaces in rural and urban environments; participatory and deliberative techniques in environmental decision-making; and issues of knowledge cultures and the role of science as a significant cultural force that has historically mediated and changed relationships between humans and the natural world.
In 2015, in collaboration with the School of Anthropology & Conservation, Dr Saratsi applied for, and was awarded, a Valuing Nature placement fellowship to work with Historic England, the government’s expert advisory service on England’s historic environment.
The overall aim of this placement was to advance knowledge of how we can better embed heritage values assigned to urban green spaces in the policy and practice of valuing nature (and, relatedly, the ecosystems approach). Dr Saratsi integrated existing data with the views of cultural heritage experts and members of the public to measure the significance of heritage values of urban green spaces for both individuals and society, and explore the contexts in which such values are formed.