Call for participation in survey on soil and art

This post comes to you from Cultura21

If you have used earth materially or symbolically in your creative practice, or in some way addressed the value, function, or meaning of soil in your art,  you are cordially invited to take part in an online survey about soil and art.

“Although the arts play a critical role in sustainability discourses, the actual opinions, knowledge and practices of artists are rarely a subject of scientific inquiry. This is why your voice is so important!” With your help, the researcher in charge of this project, Alexandra Toland, hopes to identify a wide spectrum of art projects that bring new awareness to the thin layer of matter on which all life is based, and to gather information on the various conditions under which such works are made.

This survey makes up part of Ms. Toland’s PhD research (at the Technische Universität Berlin) on the artistic use, interpretation and representation of soil and soil conservation issues. All data is collected with utmost integrity for research purposes. Specific details about individual projects and persons will not be disclosed without respondent’s consent. As a symbol of appreciation for your participation, Ms. Toland would like to feature your work on the soilarts.org research platform.

Deadline: April 15th 2013

Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.

Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.

The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:

– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)
– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)
– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)
– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)

Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21

Go to Cultura21

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Thoughts on TJ Demos’ Art after Nature

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Art after nature: TJ Demos on the post natural condition, in Artforum (April 2012) is, as Suzaan Boettger pointed out, important because it represents a key moment demonstrating that ecoart is impacting on mainstream contemporary art’s discourses (maybe).

Perhaps more importantly, the piece concludes with the work of artists who are at this moment, as has happened at key points in the past, choosing to position the focus of their work outside the artworld. Artists such as Nils Norman, whose work Demos focuses on, as well as Fritz Haeg, Superflex, Marjetica Potrc, Art not Oil, Allora & Calzadilla and The Yes Men all engage directly with the biopolitical and the eco-financial (though the work of many of these can be seen in galleries and museums pretty regularly, e.g. Haeg’s Animal Estates 1.0 was included in the Whitney Biennial in 2008). It would be trite to say that economic crisis turns art away from the market, and in any case it wouldn’t be true of the artists profiled in this article, most of whom have been pursuing critiques of markets for decades.

This isn’t Demos’ first foray into art and ecology: he wrote one of the introductory essays for the 2010 Radical Nature show at the Barbican and has also written about the work of Nils Norman in other contexts.

The double entendre in the title Art after nature, alluding to both Timothy Morton‘s Ecology without Nature: Rethinking Environmental Aesthetics and also to art chasing nature, signals the philosophical and phenomenal complexities of the issues he is engaging.

He opens with a discussion of the installation Black Shoals Stock Market Planetarium (Autogena and Portway, 2001/04) and, through unpacking the denatured core of this work, frames the challenge through Frederic Jameson‘s challenge to the naturalisation of finance. Is the market part of human nature? Jameson argues that the naturalisation of the market “cannot be allowed to stand unchallenged.” This is of course a key theme of the moment, demonstrated not least in the occupy movement.

Curiously Jane Jacobs, who, whilst not being a Marxist, you might assume to be on the same side of the argument, made a case for economics precisely as natural. Her text, The Nature of Economies, argues that economics works in the same way as natural systems, not metaphorically, but literally. Jameson is directly challenging the consequences of this line of thinking. Whether Jacobs is right in her argument (see here), the wider issues of the naturalisation of economics and in particular markets is deeply problematic.

Demos summarises the relationship between economics and environmental crisis, and uses key art works to frame questions around whether environmental crisis should be understood wholly within economic terms (as it is in the Stern Report of 2006, commissioned by the UK Government).

Dave Pritchard’s comments based on a deep understanding of environmental policy and politics, (previously highlighted here) also question this assumption. Pritchard highlights the trajectory of environmental thinking from the emergence of deep ecology through the increasing reliance on the economising (for instance as ecological services) of the environment as a tactic adopted by the environmental movement to engage politicians and economists.

This double process of economising, by both the mainstream culture and the environmental movement, provides a context for recent statements from George Osborne, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, that the UK cannot afford the green agenda (“…environmentally sustainable has to be fiscally sustainable too…”). He couldn’t make this argument effectively if it was not already accepted that economics was the ‘natural’, or pre-eminent, mode of assessment.

Demos highlights Amy Balkin’s Public Smog (2006-11) which provides another point of critique of the financialisation of the environment and raises some deeply ironic moments in relation to assumed value. The reportage of a conversation with a bureaucrat around the need for international agreement on the “outstanding universal value” of the atmosphere in order for it to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, is frankly, priceless.

Demos next turns to the 2007 Sharjah Biennial entitled Still Life: Art, Ecology and the Politics of Change, and in particular Tue Greenfort‘s work Exceeding 2 Degrees (2007). Demos, framing it as an evolution of current tropes of contemporary art, introduces the idea of eco-institutional critique. Greenfort’s work draws together a number of elements globalised production framing environmental crisis through an installation comprising room temperature and furniture. A thermo-hydrograph installed in the gallery demonstrates that the air conditioning of the museum has been reduced allowing the space to be warmer by 2 degrees Celsius (the target maximum increase identified in the Stern Report as a limit around which Climate Change Policy should be constructed). The thermo-hydrograph sat on a table made in Japan out of Malaysian wood and sold in Dubai. The money saved by reducing the cooling of the Art Museum was donated to a Danish environmental organisation to protect an area of two square miles of rain forest in Ecuador. The work is fully entangled in the complexities and paradoxes of globalisation and environmental crisis. Demos says, “…although it rescued only a tiny plot of land, Greenfort’s work successfully demonstrated the connections between economic, ecological, and institutional systems.”

Demos tips his hat to the pioneers who were, from the late 60s, creating works “within a ‘mesh’ of social, political and phenomenal relations.” His list includes Joseph Beuys, Agnes Denes, Peter Fend, Hans Haacke, Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison, and Alan Sonfist. He draws out a key point: they go beyond the simplistic glorification of nature which tended to “posit nature as a separate realm of purity needing protection from industrial degredation, pollution and economic exploitation.”

The question of positioning, framed in terms of creative practices, is in Demos’ interpretation a microcosm of the larger arguments around the status of ‘nature’. Those who argue against, for instance, GM crops (e.g. Vandana Shiva) are according to Demos, “necessarily maintain[ing] a nostalgic belief in the natural and defend[ing] it as a sphere in need of protection.” Demos seems to miss the real territory of debate: he refers to the argument for naming the reality of the ‘Anthropocene‘, but he misses the argument from Deep Ecology for the valuing of all living things and the acknowledgement of interconnectedness. This is a critical issue, because environmental philosophy is not polarised around those who are nostalgically arguing for the protection of nature, versus those who embrace the human shaping of the whole world. Rather the key is to challenge human hubris. The argument for the current geological age being called the Anthropocene is that human activity is affecting all aspects of the planet and that evidence of human activity is manifest in all environments: plastic particles in the oceans, CO2 levels in the atmosphere, consequent mass extinction. In this respect the naming is accurate. But humanity has sought to control the environment through the modern period, shaping it to suit our convenience, first in relation to habitation, but increasingly in relation to all our desires. If the conceptualisation of Anthropocene reinforces an assumption of ‘use’ rather than, for instance, ‘stewardship,’ or if it underestimates our capacity to precipitate broad-scale accidental calamity, then it is in significant danger of reinforcing the destructive aspects of human culture. Does using the term ‘Anthropocene’ sharpen the question around our place in the world, or does it re-package an existing assumption of dominance?

But returning to Demos’ narrative, he concludes by focusing on the ways in which some practices of art and ecology move beyond the tropes of institutional critique. In this he picks up on remarks made by Nils Norman (e.g. on the Bad at Sports interview), in which Norman questions the effectiveness of institutional critique and suggests that artists need to reduce their mobility and focus on development of work in particular locations. This is a practice adopted by others (including PLATFORM who take great care in judging where to travel, using trains even when travelling to the Middle East, and only travel when the reason includes practical ways of engaging with local activists and artists).

Demos draws out the implications of Norman’s project Edible Park, undertaken with Stroom den Haag, initially by juxtaposing with the previous proposal for the site developed by Rem Koolhaas’ Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA). Where OMA developed a masterplan for the Binkhorst area of the Hague incorporating an Formula 1 racetrack, skyscrapers, a beach, amusement park and leisure facilities, “Norman’s low-tech ‘counter master plan’ joined organic agriculture and practices such as rainwater harvesting, forest gardening, and composting to craft his model of eco-communalism and bioregionalism, realised in collaboration with a local group of permaculture activists. Norman also worked with Dutch architect Michel Post to build a central place-making structure, a “roundhouse” with passive solar front windows and strawbale construction.”

Demos relates this project as an initiative which responds intelligently to the crisis in the economics of capitalism. His juxtaposition of Edible Park with the OMA masterplan highlights its function as embedded or durational critique, not merely an ecological version of institutional critique. The contrast with Tue Greenfort’s Exceeding 2 Degrees for the Sharjah Biennial is informative. The latter is the tactics of the avant garde attempting to shock the audience through the cleverly formulated and intensely referential highlighting of weakness (mea culpa, mea culpa). But it never leaves the artworld. In contrast Edible Park is a durational and engaged work which negotiates between local ambition and critical positioning, seeking ways to draw attention to alternative configurations of the city, within the city and through the city.

Norman raises the question clearly in The Guide to This World & Nearer Ones (2009), Creative Time’s temporary public art project on New York’s Governors Island. He’s quoted saying,

“I’ve been looking at the history of bohemian artist movements to find a possible place of dissention. Is Bohemia still a place where artists can experiment and develop strategies outside the mainstream? The normalising effect of the market makes this now almost completely impossible, and Bohemia has been instrumentalised by people who make direct links to ‘creatives,’ bohemian lifestyles and a new class of urban entrepreneurs through city regeneration. Where can alternatives be developed? Where is it possible to drop out and develop new languages and codes.”

From this perspective, is it good that Artforum is paying attention to ecoart?

Thanks to Dave Pritchard for additional comments.

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.

It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge Research, Gray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.
Go to EcoArtScotland

The Slave Business and Its Material and Moral Hinterlands in Continental Europe

This post comes to you from Cultura21

Conference at the International Slavery Museum, Liverpool (UK), April 20-22, 2012

The history of transatlantic slavery is one of the most active and fruitful fields of historical research worldwide. As scholarship in this field is increasingly global, it opens up unique possibilities for international collaboration. More particularly, the most recent research which looks beyond the familiar Atlantic axis and the principal slave-trading nations has made clear the scope for new kinds of comparative and trans-regional studies.

The conference revisits a number of key themes relevant to the relationship between slavery (outside Europe) and the dynamics of (European) metropolitan society, giving specific attention to developments in Continental Europe and in particular to the German-speaking regions. These themes include the impact of the slave business on capitalist development and the development of discourses around slavery and abolition in the public sphere. Behind that there lie questions about private conscience – in the first instance about what was known and knowable about the implication of individual economic actors in one of the earliest globalised businesses.

By focusing our attention on regions which were physically and politically distant not only from the mines and plantations of the Americas but also from Europe’s ‘slave capitals’ like Liverpool, London, Nantes and Bordeaux, we hope not only to assemble new data and thereby better understand the material ‘reach’ of transatlantic slavery, but also to address wider questions about the ways in which location/space structures knowledge, values and interest by applying them to the particularly dramatic case of slavery in what are still seen as marginal places. How does the geographical status of ‘hinterland’ relate to conditions of economic and moral/discursive interchange?

The conference begins with a keynote lecture by Catherine Hall, Director of the UCL/ESRC project on British stakeholders in slavery and post-abolition compensation, and ends with a session on memory work in teaching, public art and public and community history.

Confirmed speakers

  • Sabine Broeck (University of Bremen): Bremen and the slave business: Notes on a Hermeneutics of Absence, and a Pedagogy of the Trace
  • Peter Haenger (Basel): Basel and the slave trade: from profiteers to missionaries
  • Dan Hopkins (University of Missouri at Kansas City): Julius von Rohr, an Enlightenment scientist of the plantation Atlantic
  • HMJokinen (Hamburg): The Slave Trader Heinrich Carl Schimmelmann and Cultures of Remembrance in Wandsbek: Vestiges, Myths and Protests
  • Craig Koslofsky (University of Illinois at Urbana): A German Diary of a Slaving Journey in the 1690s
  • Jochen Meissner (Humboldt University Berlin): Southern European and Latin American Responses to British Abolitionism
  • Kwame Nimako (University of Amsterdam): The Peace of Westphalia, Slavery and the Berlin Conference: A Continuum
  • Anne-Sophie Overkamp (Viadrina University, Frankfurt a.d.O): The German backcountry and the Atlantic exchange: The participation of textile merchants from the Wupper valley in the Atlantic trade, 1760-1810
  • Allan Potofsky (University of Paris-Diderot): Paris as Atlantic Hinterland, from the Ancien Régime to the French Revolution
  • Alan Rice (University of Central Lancashire): Chair / comment
  • Barbara Richiger (Cooperaxion – Bern): A Swiss database of slave-trade stakeholders
  • Alexandra Robinson (University of Liverpool): A case study of the Earle family’s Leghorn business 1751 -1808
  • Klaus Weber (Viadrina University, Frankfurt a.d.O): ‘All the Negroes cloathed with German Linen’: Central European Implications with the Atlantic Slave Trade, 15th-19th Centuries

Art Installation

  • HMJokinen, Gordon Uhlmann:  projection posthum: Heaven above Wandsbek – Guinea – St. Croix

Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.

Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.

The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:

– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)
– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)
– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)
– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)

Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21

Go to Cultura21

New metaphors for sustainability: symbiosis

This post comes to you from Ashden Directory

Zoë Svendsen, theatre director and researcher, continues our series New metaphors for sustainability by turning to ‘symbiosis’ as a better term.

When I was given the challenge of thinking about a metaphor for sustainability, I realized I didn’t really know what it was, other than the idea that maybe you shouldn’t do quite so much of something so that you could do things again in the future. But then I got to thinking about the underlying questions. What do we need to sustain? What’s the idea of sustainability? It’s linked to current discourses against consumption and to ideas about austerity and about doing less.

What could you replace sustainability with as a metaphor that would allow you to do something as opposed to just not doing something? I was thinking about things like conversation and reciprocity and some kind of interaction with your environment that didn’t deny the pleasures of exchange and of use. I eventually arrived at the term ‘symbiosis’ and symbiotic thinking.

What’s interesting about the term ‘symbiosis’, is that as a metaphor it takes us away from the ‘nature versus culture’ idea or ‘human benefit versus benefit for nature or the environment’, and rather asks us to think about how there might be certain kinds of human symbiotic interactions and at the same time benefits for the environment.

The symbol for this kind of activity are bees, and bee-keeping. There can be a human relationship to these kinds of symbiotic practices that happen in the environment already – such as the spreading of pollen and the creating of honey.

And around that word ‘symbiosis’, there’s a whole series of other underlying terms or thoughts that could be replaced. Instead of thinking about ‘austerity’ – which is a negative thinking towards the future – that we can always only do less and life isn’t going to be as good – you might replace that with ‘ingenuity’. This celebrates invention and entrepreneurialism and thinks about what’s at hand and what possible in what may be limited circumstance but treats those circumstances as a pleasureable challenge.

Part of the problem with austerity is that it makes you want to rebel. I have occasional bouts of recycling rebellion – I go ‘fuck it’ and throw it away. ‘I want to waste, I don’t want to be sensible’.

This is something to do with the moral imperative around the idea of austerity – it’s just not fun. Part of the idea about  ‘symbiosis’, is that you don’t have that same kind of moral anxiety around all of your actions. You’re directed to a positive action instead of endlessly thinking about the negative – which just makes you want to be naughty and not do it.

Zoë is included in our film. 


“ashdenizen blog and twitter are consistently among the best sources for information and reflection on developments in the field of arts and climate change in the UK” (2020 Network)

The editors are Robert Butler and Wallace Heim. The associate editor is Kellie Gutman. The editorial adviser is Patricia Morison.

Robert Butler’s most recent publication is The Alchemist Exposed (Oberon 2006). From 1995-2000 he was drama critic of the Independent on Sunday. See www.robertbutler.info

Wallace Heim has written on social practice art and the work of PLATFORM, Basia Irland and Shelley Sacks. Her doctorate in philosophy investigated nature and performance. Her previous career was as a set designer for theatre and television/film.

Kellie Gutman worked with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture for twenty years, producing video programmes and slide presentations for both the Aga Khan Foundation and the Award for Architecture.

Patricia Morison is an executive officer of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts, a group of grant-making trusts of which the Ashden Trust is one.

Go to The Ashden Directory

The 13th conference of the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration CFP


The 13th conference of the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM) will be hosted by the Refugee Law Project, Kampala, Uganda from June 26 to 30, 2011.  Abstracts are due by October 31, 2010.

IASFM 13: Governing Migration


This conference aims to explore key dimensions of the relationship between forms and tools of governance on the one hand and patterns and experiences of forced migration on the other.  To what extent is lack of ‘good governance’ a factor in generating forced migration?  Are some rights violations and particular types of ‘weak state’ more intimately related to forced migration than others?  How does the governance of migration intersect with other areas of governance, such as identity, gender, sexuality, and ethnicity?  What can be said about the international refugee rights regime and the more recent IDP Guiding Principles as forms of international and/or global governance which both contribute to and detract from the protection of forced migrants?  Does the gradual emergence of regional blocs such as the EU, OAS, SADC, ECOWAS and the East African Community create another layer of governance with particular beneficial or negative impacts on forced migration?  Do discourses and policies of ‘Good Governance’ help to stabilize situations and thereby contribute towards ‘durable solutions’ and a reduction in forced migration, or can they be better understood as a direct or indirect cause of it?  How is the relatively new field of Transitional Justice related to that of Good Governance, and do the fields of Transitional Justice and Forced Migration have anything to offer each other and the broader discussion of Good Governance?

In summary, the conference, under the title ‘Governing Migration’, will enable a wide-ranging exploration of both the direct and indirect relationships between conflict, governance and forced migration and transitional justice.  While relevant to forced migration situations around the globe, the theme has particular resonance in Uganda (the host country for IASFM 13) and the Great Lakes region of which it is part, Latin America and some Asian countries.   The Great Lakes region has seen some of the most extensive forced migration in recent times, including but not limited to the ongoing cycles of violence and forced migration in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the exodus of Rwandans following the 1994 Genocide, the mass internal displacement of people in northern Uganda as a result of interminable ‘war’ between the Government of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army, and an influx of Kenyans in the wake of rigged elections in early 2008.  The tabling of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill in late 2009 has also foregrounded the intimate relationship between attempts at governing sexuality and people being forced to move.  Whereas such dynamics are clearly emerging in the Great Lakes region of Africa and in Asia (e.g. in Sri Lanka, Burma and Indonesia), Latin American countries were among the first to experience internal forced migration caused by political conflict while in Central America lack of labour and post-conflict contexts force people to travel within countries and from country to country.

To enable broad involvement while at the same time seeking to significantly inform key policy discussions, we propose to structure IASFM 13 around the following three major themes and one cross-cutting theme, each of which has multiple strands:

  1. Governance and Patterns of Forced Migration
    Strands within this should include causes, perpetuation and solutions, meanings and practices of citizenship as part of the experience of forced migration, and the potential of citizenship policies to alter the relationship between forced migrants and the state.
  2. Governance and Protection
    Sub-themes may include regimes of rights, entitlements, and social protection, in addition to other related issues such as the linkages between transitional justice, displacement and reparations; transitional justice and property restitution; identities and citizenship (as a means of accessing certain rights, an indicator of or an antidote to migration); and governance & sexuality.
  3. Conflict, Forced Migration, and Transitional Justice
    Key themes within this strand include: to understand how forced migration may be a focus of, and challenge for, post-conflict reconstruction and transitional justice; Transitional Justice as an instrument of good governance; to consider the trauma associated with forced displacement, and the extent to which transitional justice remedies may be used to address this trauma.  Should therapy be at the individual, household, or state level?  At what point in processes of displacement and return can transitional justice mechanisms best serve to address the traumas involved?  When is justice (or the lack thereof) a cause of forced migration? Could it serve to consolidate durable solutions?
  4. Relating domestic (and local), international and global governance,
    whether in respect to climate change, which, understandably, is not limited to state responsibility, but also as a wider global responsibility to protect as causes of destabilization, factors in (lack of) protection, or help and hindrance to domestic post-conflict recovery.

Specific objectives of IASFM 13

  • To juxtapose a number of discourses and areas of policy within the overall theme of governance (e.g. transitional justice & forced migration, sexuality and forced migration, justice & durable solutions) in order to prompt greater recognition of their mutual significance and the need to address them holistically;
  • To thereby widen and deepen the field of forced migration studies while at the same time promoting the importance of democratic citizenship as an anti-dote to forced migration;
  • To examine the extent to which existing international instruments and adjudicative institutions adequately address forced displacement (e.g. UNHCR, IOM, ICC, ICTR, ICTY, Special Court in Sierra Leone, CAVR in East Timor, etc.);
  • To examine the key variables affecting the number of refugees and IDPs and the variables affecting emergence of new legal instruments, such as the African convention on the Protection and Assistance of Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons.  Alongside this is the related topic of how refugees and internally displaced people face and rebuild their lives after forced migration.

Structure of Conference

The Conference will create a space in which academic rigour engages with the compromises inherent in policy, as well as the challenges of practical work in the field. As such, while presentations of academic research will continue to provide the intellectual backbone of the conference, these will go hand in hand with round-tables engaging policy makers and governmental stakeholders, as well as presentations and discussions around practical approaches to dealing with forced migration from a range of practitioners.  Furthermore, the conference will draw on non-academic analyses, interpretations and representations of forced migration(e.g., portrayals of displacement using art & crafts, music and dance, fictional literature) in order to diversify the entry points into discussion of the major themes identified.
Alongside traditional panel presentations, the conference will also consist of plenaries, round-table discussions, public dialogues, film shows and cultural events. While the core of IASFM membership is academic, and academic contributions will be at the heart of the conference, there will also be a strong presence of policy-makers and activists, as the conference seeks to influence the relevant policy discussions and civil society interventions.

All participants, whether academic, policy-makers, donors, activists or forced migrants themselves, will present from their particular perspectives, but with an emphasis on stimulating live debate and pushing the boundaries of the discussion about the relationship between forced migration, key areas of governance, and justice (including transitional justice), as well as the boundaries of these respective fields. RLP, for example, is particularly concerned to continue our dialogue on gender, sexuality, masculinity, and their connections to violence, and the extent to which these can and should be accommodated in transitional justice thinking, as well as being factored into our understanding of forced migration. In relation to this, conference participants are encouraged to identify and establish panels examining comparative experiences, for example on Latin America and the Great Lakes.

Perhaps most importantly, the conference will include direct participation from refugees, asylum seekers and deportees. It is essential that refugees and asylum seekers—across a wide range of sex, class, national, and educational backgrounds—can participate directly in these debates which concern their very livelihoods and well-being. As the host organisation, and with a client base representing all the countries in the region, Refugee Law Project will ensure refugee representation in the conference as well as interpretation where possible. In this regard, the Conference methodologies will be adjusted to accommodate the presence of affected persons and therefore the Conference shall also consider ethical issues and psychological needs of people as it progresses.

Outcomes of the Conference

The conference is expected to be agenda-setting, and to produce tangible outcomes, including but not limited to press releases, an edited collection summarising key debates and discussion, and the publication of a book and a short documentary. Most importantly, however, the conference intends to insert the linkage between forced migration and governance into the larger policy debate, thus setting an agenda that is better able to address the human rights of forced migrants in the Great Lakes Region and elsewhere.


We invite submissions of abstracts of 250 words from academics, graduate students, practitioners, policy makers, individuals working with forced migrants and forced migrants themselves.  Submissions from all disciplines are welcome.  We wish to encourage practice-based presentations and other non-traditional means of exploring forced migration and its study, including film screenings, installations, and exhibitions.

Submissions may be of two types: (i) individual paper presentations, (ii) proposals to organize a panel of up to four individuals on a particular theme or topic.

The submission deadline for abstracts is October 31, 2010.  Submissions will be reviewed by the Programme Committee.  Presenters should expect to receive confirmation by 15 January 2011 if their submissions have been accepted.

Conference participants are responsible for their own expenses for attendance at the conference.  Some financial assistance may be available to assist those who might be otherwise unable to attend the conference.  Priority will be given to graduate students and individuals from the Global South.

Financial assistance will generally only be available to individuals presenting at the conference.  Details of this assistance will be posted on the IASFM website in the second half of 2010.  Further details about the conference and the online submission form can be found on the IASFM conference website: www.iasfmconference.org

Requests for further information can be made to the following email address: iasfm13@iasfm.org.

MA Arts & Ecology | University of Falmouth

Arts & Ecology MA | Dartington Campus
1 year (45 weeks) full-time

Arts & Ecology has been designed to allow arts practitioners to develop their skills in the context of ecology, interdisciplinarity and place. The MA provides a challenging academic vehicle in which you’ll develop your arts practice, further your ability to engage with complex ecologies and work with other artists and scientists.

You’ll explore various discourses, methodologies and philosophies conventionally associated with non-art disciplines (especially those of the sciences), and apply them to contemporary approaches to ecology through your arts practice.

http://www.falmouth.ac.uk/ page on Arts & Ecology MA

Apply direct to the Dartington Campus: admissions@dartington.ac.uk or telephone 01803 861618.

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

Call for papers: ‘Essays in Performance and Ecology’

Theresa J. May, founder and artistic director of Earth Matters on Stage, and Wendy Arons, director of the Performance and Ecology Public Art Initiative have issued a call for papers for a jointly edited publication, Essays in Performance and Ecology to be published in 2011.

The proposed anthology of essays, interviews, and artist statements will include papers dealing with ecocritical concerns as they relate to theatre and performance. The editors are especially interested in explorations that employ the science of ecology as a critical framework, or employ environmental history to contextualize performance.

The topics welcomed include, but are not limited to:

  • the ecological situatedness of language
  • the dialogic relationship between onstage/offstage ecological discourses
  • intersections and complications of landscape/body
  • performances that participate in/reflect ecological debates
  • ecology, technology and representation
  • the cultural (de)construction of ‘nature’
  • performative intersections of social justice and ecological issues
  • partnership projects in the arts and sciences
  • ecological dramaturgy
  • community/place and ecology
  • the body as a site of ecological intersections
  • the ecologies of theatrical space
  • semiotics of ‘nature’
  • subjectivity/inter-subjectivity and the ecological self
  • animal representation on/off stage
  • eco-activism/community-based performance.
The editors encourage submissions by artists working in the area of eco-performance and who reflect critically on their work and/or process, and encourage proposals that engage a question about how performance (broadly constructed) has or might function as part of ecological communities.
A working or final draft or an abstract of 500 words should be sent as an attachment to both editors by 15 October:
Theresa J. May, Assitant Professor Theatre Arts, University of Oregon
Wendy Arons, Associate Professor of Dramatic Literature and Dramaturgy, Carnegie Mellon University