Yearly Archives: 2010

THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL SUMMER SCHOOL Of Arts and Sciences for Sustainability in Social Transformation

Call for participants

in the framework of:

THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL SUMMER SCHOOL

Of Arts and Sciences for Sustainability in Social Transformation

1. Overview

The International Council for Cultural Centers (I3C: www.international3c.org), the International Network Cultura21 (Cultural Fieldworks for Sustainability: www.cultura21.net) and the Latin American Network of Art for Social Transformation (Red-LATS: www.artetransformador.net/) are organizing, in collaboration with the Center for the Study of Culture and Society (CSCS: www.cscsarchive.org) the first international summer school of arts and sciences for sustainability in social transformation. The event is planned for early August 2010 in Bulgaria, in the beautiful Balkan mountains (Gabrovo).

We are seeking participants in the summer school! As the number of participants will be limited to a total of maximum 30 persons, you are encouraged to apply as soon as possible!

Are you an artist, a practitioner or an academic working for or interested in the advancement of sustainability and social transformation (i.e. goals of social justice, ecological awareness and environmental action, human rights and self- determination, cultural and biodiversity, among others)? Are you looking for inter-or trans-disciplinary methodologies, and for inter-cultural dialogues? Are you interested in the relationships of bodily movements and/or of other sensuous/sensorial relationships to local places? Do you want to explore how movement also relates to place and community development?

If you replied yes to one of the previous questions, the international summer school may be the right place for you! Read further:

The detailed program of the Summer School’s workshops, will be announced in early 2010 (at the latest on March 15) on the project’s wikipage: http://www.cultura21.net/dokuwiki/doku.php/orange:sumschool

Information about inexpensive accommodation near the location of the summer school will be provided to the selected participants.

The application procedure and conditions are described on the following page.

2. Application

To participate in the summer school, you must apply, providing us with the following documents:

  • Personal data: please indicate your name, gender, age, full address and contact details, country of origin, country of current residence, and educational/professional background (in a few words).
  • A Résumé or CV
  • A letter of motivation where you explain why the summer school appeals to you, what you are expecting to benefit from it (for your research, your art, your activities, etc.). Please mention what you hope to learn at the summer school, and what you may be able to bring/teach yourself, based on your prior experience.

Applications shall be sent by email to: sacha.kagan@cultura21.org

Deadline for application: March 20, 2010 (please apply as early as possible; preferably, do not wait until the date of the deadline!)

Selection procedure: The selection of participants will be made by the organizers (Cultura21, I3C, Red-LATS) according to the following criteria:

  • Date of application (the earlier, the better)
  • Country of origin (to ensure an international mix of participants)
  • Professional/educational background (to ensure an interdisciplinary mix of participants)
  • Personal motivation and relevance of the applicant’s domains of interests to the general field of the summer school, i.e. sustainability in social transformation through action-research
  • Notification of final decision: April 5th, 2010

3. Conditions

All participants at the summer school are required to participate to the entirety of the summer school.

No scholarships are available from the school’s organizers, but we can provide cover letters upon request (in case you are applying for financial support from a third party).

Accommodation and travel costs will be covered by the Summer School only for a very limited number of participants from non-European countries. If you are requesting support for your accommodation and travel costs, please include a request letter, with a costs evaluation. Please note that we recommend that you also look for funding near third parties, as we will be able to support only a very limited number of participants.

Call for participants assist2010

Call for Workshop Proposals Sumschool2010

2010 Power of Words Conference: Call For Proposals

The 8th Annual Power of Words conference will be held Sept. 23-26, 2010 at Goddard College in Plainfield, VT and we’re looking for workshop proposals!

One way or another you’ve been connected and in touch with the Transformative Language Arts Network and we thought you and yours might be interested in the event again this year. Please consider the Call for Proposals yourself and give thought to forwarding this along to those for whom this might spark some interest. If, instead, you’d like to discontinue your communications with the Network you will find means to do that at the bottom of this message.
The 8th Annual Power of Words conference brings together writers, storytellers, performers, musicians, educators, activists, healers, health professionals, community leaders, and more. All participants are united in the common exploration of how the written, spoken, and sung word can catalyze individual and communal liberation, celebration, and transformation.

We invite your proposals for experiential, didactic, and/or performance-based workshops that focus on writing, storytelling, drama, film, narrative medicine, songwriting, and other forms of Transformative Language Arts (TLA). We support proposals that focus on social change, the spoken or sung word, and how to make a living using transformative language arts in service to our communities. Because we are strongly committed to including individuals from diverse backgrounds, we encourage proposals from people of color and from presenters of many ages.

To submit a workshop proposal, visit the TLAN 2010 Call for Proposals Page.

The 2010 conference will feature four thematic tracks. Particular consideration will be given to workshop proposals that forward one or more themes:

  • Right Livelihood, finding a work life that is an expression of your gifts and makes a contribution to the world.
  • Social Transformation, using the power of word to deepen engagement with social issues and transform self and society.
  • Engaged Spirituality, writing / employing spiritual pathways challenging deeply-embedded structures of injustice to cultivate a sustainable, just, and peaceful world.
  • Narrative Medicine, using the power of narrative to help patients discover their own stories of illness and create ones of healing that pull toward recovery.

The conference will feature the following keynote speakers:

  • Greg Greenway – Singer and poet who works with the social awareness of Woody Guthrie
  • S. Pearl Sharp – Writer/actress/filmmaker/broadcast journalist focusing on cultural arts, health and healing, and Black history
  • Kayhan Irani – An artivist using the the arts to deepen engagement with social issues and societal transformation. A writer, director, performer, and facilitator of Playback Theater
  • Katherine Towler – Poet, author, teacher – writes lyrical novels of family and place

To submit a workshop proposal, visit the TLAN 2010 Call for Proposals Page.

For further information, please contact the TLAN Coordinators.

Callid & Kristina Keefe-Perry
TLA Network Coordinators
coordinator@tlanetwork.org
877-303-TLAN (8526)

[Please note that (a) presenters are not paid for their presentations and must register for, pay for, and attend the conference, (b) conference fees begin at $200 with reasonable room and board available, (c) a limited number of partial scholarships are also available, and (d) no individual should submit more than three proposals.]

Saturday, Jan. 30th, 2010 @ Honor Fraser Gallery


Big City Forum invites you to a round table conversation about our relationship to nature, issues of perception, land use and the built environment.

Saturday, Jan. 30th, 2010
4 – 6 pm
Honor Fraser Gallery
Culver City, CA

Featuring:
REBECA MENDEZ
KIM
STRINGFELLOW

REBECA MENDEZ is a professor at UCLA, Design | Media Arts who works in photography and video art installations to explore issues of perception, specifically our relationship to technologically mediated nature. Méndez’s works are included in the permanent collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, National Design Museum, NY, and Denver Art Museum, among many others.

KIM
STRINGFELLOW is an artist and educator residing in Los Angeles, California. She teaches multimedia and photography courses at San Diego State University as an associate professor in the School of Art, Design, and Art History. She received her MFA in Art and Technology from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2000.


Go to EcoLOGIC LA

The 2nd International Humanities and Sustainability Conference

Florida Gulf Coast University
Fort Myers, Florida
October 7-9, 2010
HandSCon@fgcu.edu

Florida Gulf Coast University’s Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education, and Departments of Language & Literature and Communication & Philosophy are currently accepting individual abstracts and panel proposals for FGCU’s 2nd International Humanities and Sustainability Conference, to be held in Fort Myers, Florida, October 7-9, 2010. Our goal is to encourage interdisciplinary conversations about the role of the humanities in fostering sustainability, however defined, and about the sustainability of the humanities as we move into the second decade of the 21st Century.

Please submit 300-500 word paper and panel proposals, with A/V requests, by email to HandSCon@fgcu.edu. The deadline for proposals is June 4, 2010 at midnight EST. Include all text of the proposal in the body of the email (attachments will not be opened), and be sure to include full contact information for all panel members. Seehttp://www.fgcu.edu/cas/HandScon/ for more information.

Possible questions for investigation might include, but are not limited to:

  • What have “nature,” “culture,” and “environment” come to mean? How have these concepts been constructed, for better or worse, in the academy, but also in the global community at large, and how have these constructions structured our relationship to what we refer to as the natural world, whether in a limiting or a liberating way?
  • What role do the humanities have, not only in fostering awareness of global environmental and social issues, but also in creating thoughtful and productive analyses of these issues by questioning the way environment and culture are represented in humanities and non-humanities disciplines alike, in addition to examining the role of media and information technology in establishing, complicating, altering, and/or breaking down those representations?
  • What are the different ways we understand and relate to nature and society in the academy, both through humanities disciplines like religious and spirituality studies, cultural studies, new media studies, art, literature, and philosophy, and non-humanities disciplines like political, natural, and social sciences?
  • What have been the goals, implementation, and outcomes of efforts toward integrating environmental and cultural sustainability education into humanities courses and curricula? How can information and media technology be used to enhance such efforts?
  • Is “sustainability” sustainable?
  • What pressures are being exerted on the humanities to transform themselves so as not to become obsolete in the ultra-practical and future-oriented information age, and how should the humanities respond to such pressures?

Eric Otto, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Environmental Humanities
Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd. S.
Fort Myers, FL 33965

phone: (239) 590-7250
email: eotto@fgcu.edu

Update on State of the Arts

A week ago the RSA and Arts Council England held the substantial State of the Artsconference, which we hope will become an annual event. The conference tweeters continue to sing with the compelling ideas and discussions that the event prompted. And now content from the London event is becoming available from the RSAs main website and there will be more online soon. Enjoy.

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

Can literary fiction ever do climate? Part 2

… and, as if  to continue that very thought above in the post about Ian McEwan, Paul Kingsnorth and Dougald Hine have just announced Dark Mountain Festival Uncivilisation 2010, from May 28 to 30. In an email, Paul says:

It is deliberately staged to clash with the opening weekend of the Hay-on-Wye Literary Festival: as civilised literature’s establishment grandees gather in Hay, we will muster an opposing army at the other end of Offa’s Dyke, for a very different kind of cultural weekend.

Uncivilisation 2010 will be held in Llangollen “at the other end of Offa’s Dyke” among the  “dark mountains of Wales” and will include contributions from Alastair McIntoshGeorge MonbiotTom HodgkinsonMelanie ChallengerGlyn Hughes and Jay Griffiths. There will also be music and workshops from Vinay Gupta (Institute for Collapsonomics), Briony Greenhill (The Blended Lifestyle), Anthony McCann (Beyond the Commons).

On the surface the ideas proposed by the Dark Mountain Project is very much the opposite of the RSA’s own worldview. They are broadly pessimistic, inviting us to imagine collapse and to look it in the eye, scoffing at ideas of sustainability.

The festival’s webpage says:

UNCIVILISATION is a festival for anyone who’s sick of pretending that we can make our current way of living “sustainable”, that we can take control of the planet’s reeling systems, that “one more push” will do it. It’s time to acknowledge that “saving the planet” is a bad joke. We are entering an age of massive disruption and the task is to live through it as best we can and to look after each other as we make the transition to the unknown world ahead.

But what’s positive about the project is that it is bent on finding new ways to reimagine our present and future, believing that writers and artists can and should be taking on the riskier task of creating the narratives that are currently so absent in our culture. I suspect that behind the darkness of their mountains lurks a glimmer of light.

Tickets are available here:
http://www.eventelephant.com/uncivilisation

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

Ian McEwan: Can UK literary fiction ever “do” climate?

There is a sense of anticipation about Ian McEwan’s new novel, Solar, out in a few weeks. Well… maybe we better not get our hopes up.

Of course I hope to be proved wrong. As a young novelist, McEwan was extraordinarily radical; The Cement Garden was scary, edgy and transgressive. He remains, without doubt, a brilliant talent. However as with Martin Amis, he’s been part of the literary establishment’s drift towards neo-conservativism, most visibly with his anti-Islamic pronouncements.

Acrtually, that’s less the problem; it’s as much that his books have become more conservative in their scope. Atonement, say, may have been a brilliantly constructed piece of work, but it was about polishing the form. The grand British novel is an old art form; despite a few post-modern pieces of trickery, it has settled down at the start of the 21st century as a form that tells stories in very conventional start-to-finish ways. The truth is, though Atonement appeared to encounter ideas of cognitive psychology, of how we can deceive ourselves, it was hardly a novel of ideas. The ideas were a device around which a novel hung. Whether McEwan has the will to encounter ideas about climate in a novel remains to be seen.

I thought my views on McEwan being able to write about climate were pessimistic until I came across Paul Kingsnorth of The Dark Mountain Project writing about him:

McEwan, over the last few years, seems to have been nominated by the guardians of our high culture (the broadsheets, Radio Four and the kind of people who hang around at Soho literary parties) as the Grand Old Man of contemporary letters. Every new novel is pored over and dissected in the TLS by professors of literature. McEwan is interviewed glowingly in broadsheet culture sections, and given thousands of words to muse ponderously on weighty subjects like September 11th or climate change. His utterances are quoted reverently by the kind of people who think that  straight-bat banalities become profundities when uttered by novelists rather than cabbies.

And the whole thing is a fraud. That someone as dull and weightless as McEwan can be christened as some kind of literary godhead just shows how callow and flaccid the English novel is at this moment in history. McEwan is a man with nothing to say, who says it at great length, and is admired for it by people who have nothing to say either and enjoy reading about others like themselves. His style is as conservative as his worldview, which is narrrow, secular and bourgeois to a tee.

The trouble with McEwan’s conservatism of form is that it leaves the novelist increasingly hamstrung when it comes to tackling something big and real like climate change. How do you tackle new ideas when you’re still tinkering with an old machine? Ian McEwan has been on one of the Cape Farewell expeditions. He remains involved with the organisation and has written passionately in the newspapers about the need for us to tackle climate.

But when it was announced that he was writing a book about the subject, McEwan himself back-pedalled, to say it wasn’t “about” climate change; that climate change science was the milieu it was set in, it was “the background hum“.

Reasonably, this may be seen as an artists’ natural inclination not to be boxed in by assumptions about what his work is about. But it’s also the product of the kind of formalistic conservatism McEwan and his peers have embraced.  Great British novels usually aren’t “about” very much. Maybe they shouldn’t have to be. Maybe to have climate as “the background hum” is enough.

Interestingly, though, while the grand names of British literary fiction have become increasingly strait-jacketed by the form, it’s the ungainlily-named genre Young Adult that has become the radical one in the last decade. Keen to keep up with the rampant imaginings of teenagers, novelists like Mark Haddon and Philip Pullman appeared far less constrained by a sense of what novels should be like. As a consequence, it’s in Young Adult fiction, rather than literary fiction, that you currently find the novels of ideas – especially when it comes to climate change.

Saci Lloyd’s The Carbon Diaries tackled the idea of how teenagers personal carbon budgets in the near future of 2015 (clue: not very well) head on. Kate Thompson’s new book The White Horse Trick also takes on climate with no sense that it’s a “difficult” subject. In fact, Young Adult fiction allows itself to use all the tricks that literary fiction deems gauche, but which are actually extremely useful when deailng with subjects as big as the environment and our future.

Kate Thompson’s rambunctious children’s book is set in two separate existences, one of which is an apocalyptic future in which Ireland’s topsoil is washed away by storms and its inhabitants struggle to survive in a Burren-like future in which trees are cut down too quickly to replace themselves. Characters cross from there to the Celtic mythic landscape of the West Coast, of Tir na n’Og, the land of eternal youth. As the Independent’s critic Nicola Baird notes approvingly, Thompson pulls off  “the impossible”:

Despite the heavy theme, this is a positive tale that helps readers envision different ways of living. It does so without once lecturing about energy efficiency or using the bus.

It’s a matter of some pride that the book owes its life partly to a residency oragnised by the RSA Arts & Ecology Centre and Situations in Bristol. Kate Thompson kindly opens the book with a dedication which underscores the importance of that residency.

I’m sure Kate Thompson would not want her work compared to that of Ian McEwan’s any more than McEwan would relish having his work discussed in the context of Young Adult fiction. All the same, it’s continually interesting how different art forms feel empowered, or unempowered, to tackle the weighty subject of climate. If McEwan’s novel really does fail to get to grips with a subject he himself has harrangued politicians to take more seriously, then does it leave British literary fiction looking increasingly irrelevant; the fodder of genteel book groups rather than the real and urgent world?

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology