CALL FOR PROPOSALS; Digital Ecologies II: Fiction Machines; One-Day International Symposium; Tuesday July 16th 2019; The Centre for Media Research, Bath Spa University.


Digital Ecologies II: Fiction Machines

One-Day International Symposium: Tuesday July 16th 2019

The Centre for Media Research, Bath Spa University

Newton Park, Newton St Loe, Bath, BA2 9BN

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

Professor Simon O’Sullivan, Professor of art, theory and practice, Goldsmiths College, London

Dr Tony David-Sampson, Reader in Digital Media Culture and Communication, University of East London

The Centre for Media Research at Bath Spa University is proud to host the second Digital Ecologies symposium: Fiction Machines and it will take place on Tuesday July 16th 2019. We are interested in submissions from interdisciplinary researchers including artists, filmmakers, writers, geographers, scientists and theorists whose work connects with the themes of the symposium.

In the introduction to his book Fiction as Method (2017) Jon K Shaw identifies a fictional place called ‘Null Island’, a fiction that is located at a point in the centre of the earth, amongst the lava that no one can travel to.

‘From this unreal centre the machines can tag our photos to map our memories and images onto the material world, can align our satellites to coordinate and connect us across the planet. Whenever we perform one of these actions, we pass through this fiction. We are transported home via the fictional island.’ (Shaw, 2017: 7)

Our vision of the earth and of each other is increasingly filtered through the operations of a complex assemblage of networked computational writing machines and as Shaw implies, these exist at the centre of our world and our daily experience. As a result the planet itself is increasingly becoming computational, Nigel Thrift describes how the ‘real’ as we know it is the result of multiple simultaneous ‘writing machines’ using a continuous looping process of algorithms. (2005, loc.2879)

Humans now exist within complex informational spaces that produce affects, simulate, analyse and respond to user and environmental data. Within these conditions fiction and reality become increasingly blurred, machine and human voices difficult to distinguish.

These machines allow for the generation of complex webs of fabulation which exist in a plethora of contexts from corporate identities to labyrinthine brand stories, to political propaganda and the operations of the derivatives market.

Furthermore our understanding of the ecological is itself increasingly filtered through multiple layers of networked technologies, sensors, algorithms and data visualisations. Jennifer Gabrys discusses the notion of ‘planetary scale computerisation’ and how this leads to the generation of ‘new living conditions, subjectivities, and imaginaries’. (Gabrys, 2016)

Within this context new fictional strategies within creative practice emerge as important weapons for critique, intervention, speculation and change. As Simon O’Sullivan notes:  fiction can be used not as a matter of ‘make believe’ but rather in a Ranciere sense of forging the real to better approximate historical and contemporary experience. (O’Sullivan, 2016: 6)

In the symposium we ask how these fictional methods are being employed to rethink and renegotiate our relationship with current and future technologies; how fiction can be used to reveal forgotten histories, non-human perspectives and to speculate on, and design, new futures.

As Benjamin Bratton notes: ‘Our shared design project will require both different relationships to machines (carbon based machines and otherwise) and a more promiscuous figurative imagination.’ (Bratton, 2016, loc.283)

Symposium Strands:

(i) Activist fictions: responses that employ fiction as a political or social method for recuperation/change/intervention.

(ii) Speculative design fictions: responses that utilise fiction to reimagine social, environmental and technological futures.

(iii) Non-human fictions – responses that employ fiction to bring non-human perspectives and voices into view.

(iv)  Post-truth: responses that critique and subvert the mechanisms and mediation of post-truth.

Proposal Submission

We encourage proposals for practice based presentations and traditional papers as well as performance lectures. The duration for each paper should be 20 minutes. Please send proposals (300 words approx.) for all papers – outlining their aim and form – along with a short biography to the symposium coordinator: Dr Charlie Tweed ( by no later than Friday March 1st, 2019.


CFPs; CREATURELY ETHICS AND POETICS: VIBRANT POSSIBILITIES OF HUMAN-ANIMAL ORGANIZATION AND CULTURE; 11th Critical Management Studies Conference; June 27-29, 2019;  The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK




Part of 11th Critical Management Studies Conference; June 27-29, 2019;  The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK

pic for blog

The domination-exploitation of human beings begins with animals, wild beasts and cattle; the humans associated with these inaugurated an experience that would turn back against them: killings, stockbreeding, slaughters, sacrifices and (in order better to submit) castration. All these practices were put to the test and succeeded. The castration of beasts, what power! And what a symbol of anti-nature…the living (except those who accepted domestication, such as cats and dogs) provided a raw material, a primary substance [matière prémière] that each society treated in its own way. After which human beings separated themselves from each other: on the one hand the masters, men (sic) worthy of this name – and on the other, the subhumans, treated like animals, and with the same methods: dominated, exploited and humiliated.

HENRI LEFEBVRE, Rhythmanalysis: Space, Time and Everyday Life, 2004

Henri Lefebvre, along with some perceptive members of the Frankfurt School such as Max Horkheimer, Theodor W. Adorno, and Herbert Marcuse (Gunderson, 2014), was one of the few 20th century sociologists to consider the position of animals in Western culture and society. He theorised that animals form the material base from which societies are built. It was through the control of animals that complex societies could be developed and further this created a situation where humans came to believe they had mastery over nature (Plumwood, 1993) and then by same token, these techniques of control over animals could be applied to certain humans as well (Krawczyk & Barthold, 2018). In fact, the term management, as Gibson Burrell (1997) reminds us, derives from the Italian word manegiare, which refers to the archaic practice of training horses through often cruel forms of animal handling. Hence, in our precarious present, we can perhaps sense how both non-human animals and groups of people with certain ‘social markings’ who as consequence have also been animalised, are made to sustain the lives of other humans, who seem unaware of the ethical costs of living their lives as they are.

It is very worthy and noble to articulate the grave situation faced by animals and animalised humans in culture and organization and then deliberate about the moral issues around this. However, in the spirit of constructing open futures where more beings are free from exploitation, the application of ethical frameworks is of fundamental importance to change these exploited relations. Such ethical frameworks should not only eschew from the rationalist and abstracted approaches, which have only served to create this dire situation of the precarious present because many humans have lost the ability to grieve for human lives (Butler, 2009), let alone consider that animals can grieve too (King, 2013). A more embodied approach to ethics, “the indissoluble relation between thinking and feeling” (Pullen & Rhodes, 2015, p.161), may well be needed here.

The application of a more embodied approach to ethics that also accounts for both animal and animalised humans can be found in the work of Pick (2011), she calls a creaturely ethics that takes the position that living beings, regardless of being human or not, are vulnerable beings prone to violent forces. Her work blurs the divide between the ontological status of both animals and humans, which can be the starting point of our discussions in this stream. Pick believes that individuals and societies have an obligation to try and protect vulnerable beings from violent exposure and exploitation.

Drawing on the philosophical writings of Simone Weil, Pick further argues for ‘creaturely poetics’ for ‘the creature, then, is first and foremost a living – body – material, temporal, and vulnerable’ (p. 5). At the same time, vulnerability is not a mundane fact of life. Weil (1953 as cited in Pick, 2011, p. 3) believes that: “[T]he vulnerability of precious things is beautiful because vulnerability is the mark of existence.” At the first instance, it seems counter-intuitive to conceive of the vulnerability of living beings as beautiful, particularly when violence is inflicted upon them. But if, as Pick (2011) argues, “fragility and finitude possess a special kind of beauty, this conception of beauty is already inherently ethical. It implies a sort of sacred recognition (our emphasis) of life’s value as material and temporal” (3). In turn, this understanding of sacredness invites a reverence for the lives of others for it encourages a mode of thought that in our view, is an expansive love, to some even reflecting a form of divine suffering (Linzey, 2009). A type of love born out of the sharing of organizational space (O’Doherty, 2016), inspired by a caring ethic that heightens visibility and moral consideration (Connolly & Cullen, 2017) or ethical affordances (Warkentin, 2009) to other-than-human animals. Arising from this embodied ‘moral imagination’ (Hamington, 2008) which these relationships bring forth, empathy and care can extend beyond previously considered limitations to animals, but also certain groups of humans as well or at some intersection of the two. Afterall, a number of poststructuralist thinkers, such as Derrida  (1997/2008, 2009) and Deleuze and Guattari (2004/1987), have emphasised the continuity between human and non-human animals in addition to developing critiques of anthropocentrism.

The convenors of this stream welcome submissions that explore the vulnerability of diverse subjects – both animal and human – within multiple contexts and different disciplinary fields of study. This includes disciplines that are not traditionally associated with management and organizational studies, such as anthropology, history, film studies, art, ethnic and racial studies, ecological studies, cultural studies, queer studies, settler and colonial studies, indigenous studies, literature, health care, religious studies, theology, area studies, legal studies, politics, education, social work, environmental humanities, philosophy, interdisciplinary studies and other research fields that are still emerging. The overarching aim is to wrestle with the idea of the vulnerability of life and consider the possibility of sustaining ethical relations between beings that are intrinsically motivated by love, but often exists in contexts that are not always conducive to sustaining such relations. Hence, submissions to this stream could consider how an organizational, institutional or industrial context plays some role in hindering and/or facilitating ethical relationships in multiple contexts or settings.

Contact Information

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CfP for Special Issue on Aldo Leopold, 70th Anniversary of Sand County Almanac, Socio-Ecological Practice Research Journal

Via H-Net

CfP for Special Issue on Aldo Leopold

by Qi Feng Lin

Dear colleagues,

2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the publication of Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac.  A collection of Leopold’s personal reflections on the land and land ethics, the book gained popularity during the environmental movement of the 1960s and has remained a cornerstone of environmental literature ever since.

To commemorate the anniversary, Socio-Ecological Practice Research will be publishing a special issue to reexamine, reassess, and reenvision the legacy, influence, and relevance of Leopold and his landmark book.  We welcome articles from writers and scholars in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and the arts.  The special issue will be guest edited by Dr. Qi Feng Lin and advised by an editorial committee chaired by Dr. Curt Meine.

Prospective contributors are requested to submit an abstract at by January 14.  For more details, please refer to the attached CfP, which is also available at the SEPR homepage:

Please direct all queries to Qi Feng Lin at If you are interested in submitting an abstract but have concerns about meeting the deadline, please contact him.

We look forward to receiving and reading your abstracts.

Qi Feng Lin, guest editor

Curt Meine, advisory committee chair

Wei-Ning Xiang, founding editor-in-chief, Socio-Ecological Practice Research

Public Lecture; Sounds & The Sacred in Rock Art Soundscapes, Professor Diaz-Andreu; Wednesday 16th January 2019

Wed 16 Jan 2019 2:00 pm
NP.CM.226, Commons, Newton Park Campus
A Music/Environmental Humanities Public Lecture 

In this talk, ICREA Professor Margarita Diaz-Andreu will discuss how immaterial aspects, usually disregarded in archaeological research, can be integrated into the study of the past. Her talk will centre on the acoustics of landscapes, especially of those marked by past communities with prehistoric rock art as a way of providing them with a special meaning. A connection will be established between the aural experience of place and religious emotion. At the same time, however, she will propose that this type of study should be explored systematically, with scientific rigour and objectively and that, in order to do so, an interdisciplinary approach becomes essential.

Professor Diaz-Andreu has been based at the University of Barcelona since 2012, having moved there from Durham University. She is interested in the prehistoric archaeology, rock art and acoustics of Western Europe. She is also concerned with heritage, history of archaeology and the politics of identity in archaeology (social engagement, nationalism and colonialism, ethnicity and gender). She has carried out fieldwork in several countries around the world and successfully supervised several PhD students. She is the author of about 20 books and many articles. Having researched on prehistoric rock art for two decades, in 2010 she decided to focus on the acoustics of rock art landscapes. She has recently been successful in obtaining funding for her ERC project, “The sound of special places: exploring rock art soundscapes and the sacred”.

Free to attend but please book here

Live at the AM podcast: HumanNature series – Deborah Bird Rose Lecture on; “how does giving and receiving take form in, and give form to, our living world?”

We post this in memory of Deborah Bird Rose – a founding and leading light in the global Environmental Humanities movement.

“How does giving and receiving take form in, and give form to, our living world? While most discussions of gift-giving focus on exchanges between humans, Deborah Bird Rose is also captivated by the many forms of connectivity and flow that are integral to ecological processes.”

This talk took place on 2 March 2018, in the Hallstrom Theatre at the Australian Museum.

Listen to the full talk here

SEX AND NATURE CONFERENCE, THE UNIVERSITY OF EXETER, UK [10-11 JUNE 2019] with Astrida Neimanis, Amy Culter and others




Sex and Nature


10-11 June 2019

The University of Exeter, UK

Keynote speakers:

Greta LaFleur, Yale University, USA

Astrida Neimanis, University of Sydney, Australia

Artist in Residence:

Amy Cutler, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK

Since 2016 the Ecosexual Bathhouse art venue has been touring the world. Designed by the Pony Express artist collective, this roving multi-chamber venue aims to explore ecological fantasies: visitors can visit a pollination gallery, a composting glory hole, and a honey bee swarm. Activating desire and channelling erotic expression towards the elements of water, earth, air and fire, the project aims to nurture a visceral connection to nonhuman animals, plants, minerals, and inanimate materials.

The Ecosexual Bathhouse is but one of a number of exemplary case studies that disrupt and display the entangled categories of “sex” and “nature.” This conference aims to interrogate and investigate diverse moments and sites where sex and nature, along with their practices, aesthetics, methodologies, and conceptual histories, are becoming visible in new and unexpected contexts, both in the present and the past, from sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld’s interest in ‘intersex butterflies’ in the 1920s to the botanical sex scene of Han Kang’s The Vegetarian (2007).

Historically, the relationship between sex and nature has long been contested. Ideas of nature and the natural have often been employed to secure and essentialise heteronormative binaries of sex, gender and sexuality. Much feminist and queer scholarship has been dedicated to revealing and challenging such uses of the natural. At the same time, the relationship between nature, the natural and sex has been interpreted to support a variety of causes: in the late nineteenth century, for example, feminists took on the cause of anti-vivisection because they saw it as indicative of a common objectification of women and animals. From Darwin and Linnaeus to Krafft-Ebing and Kinsey, categories of sex and sexuality were introduced into concepts of nature and the natural world. This categorisation of sex and nature led to highly contested and politicised debates among their contemporaries. More recently, the relationship between sex and nature has opened up debates in ecofeminism (Greta Gaard, Val Plumwood), material feminism (Elizabeth Wilson, Stacey Alaimo) and Anthropocene feminism (Claire Colebrook) that seek to rethink the relationship between sex and nature. Instead of rejecting or challenging the idea of the natural, such scholarship has demonstrated the queer and feminist potential of nature. Ground-breaking treatments of nature and sex have led to robust theorizations of queer ecologies (Catriona Sandilands, Astrida Neimanis), natural histories of sexuality (Greta LaFleur) and new kinship forms through reproductive technologies (Sarah Franklin), to name but a few.

The conference welcomes scholars from all disciplines drawing on a broad range of methodologies and focusing broadly on the period since 1800. We aim to explore the entangled categories of sex and nature by examining a wide range of topics related, but not restricted to:

– Natural histories of sex and sexuality

– Sexuality and nature: naturalising sexuality, sexing nature

– Queering nature, naturalising queerness

– (Un)natural sex, (de)naturalising sex, (re)naturalising sex

– The politics of sexual nature

– Nature, naturalness and normativity

– Nature and feminist critique, past and present

– The sexual politics of biotechnological reproduction

– (De)extinction and (re)production

– Sex and nature in the Anthropocene

– Authorities on nature beyond natural sciences

– Race, indigeneity, sex and nature

– Human, animal, vegetable sexuality

– Sex, nature and disability

– Intra-species sexualities from prehistory to the present

– Intersex across species-boundaries

Abstracts of 350 words, along with a 50-word bio, sent in word format or copied into email body, should be sent to Dr Ina Linge ( and Dr Sarah Bezan ( by 30 January 2019. Confirmed participants will be notified by early February 2019. Early career scholars and post-graduate researchers are expressly encouraged to submit abstracts. Travel bursaries will be offered to two postgraduate participants in exchange for live-tweeting during the conference and written reports following the conference. Please let us know in your abstract submission if you would like to be considered for these. We are keen to publish a selection of papers from the conference as an edited volume or special journal issue. Further plans will be discussed with delegates at the conference.

This conference is generously supported by the Wellcome Trust-funded Rethinking Sexology project.