ASLE-UKI & Land2 Conference 2017: Cross Multi Inter TransSeptember 6 2017 – September 8 2017
This conference brings together artists, poets, writers, critics, performers, curators and researchers exploring, through research and practice, ideas around landscape, place, ecology and environment.
Sheffield is makes a stunning setting for the conference, ex-steel city surrounded by seven hills and the stunning peat bogs, moors and streams of the Pennines, a rich industrial heritage of textiles and mining, leaving many environmental challenges, and art, particularly sculpture, in and out of the landscape.
At this conference, we ask participants to fully engage with “the challenge of the environmental humanities as a transdisciplinary matrix” (Heise) and to deepen their analysis of what it is to work Cross, Multi, Inter, Trans. The recent marked shift to the use of this term “environmental humanities” suggests that we wish to respond together to slow and quick environmental changes, to ask what can critical and creative arts do in relation to each other, to the non-human world that surrounds us, and, not least, to environmental crises? The conference will bring critical and aesthetic enquiry into dialogue exploring how creative practice not only informs critical analysis, but is also a critical tool in itself.
There is a longstanding resistance to boundaries and binaries within the ecologically-engaged community and a longstanding engagement with hybridity, entanglement and liminality, to explore the naturalcultural world (Haraway). Through our lines – of texts (poetic or prosaic), of images (drawn or framed), of mapping (traditional or “deep”) – do we cross boundaries or merely re-make them? Through terms such as Cross, Multi, Inter, Trans, are we working to preserve or subvert specialism, to hybridize, or to get beyond discipline altogether? What happens to our artistic production and to our aesthetic approaches to text and image when we shift our accustomed lenses? Do we give birth to new catch-all categories or theories such as the Posthuman, Ecopoetics, New Materialism or Biosemiotics? How useful are these? Do we produce “new” and hybrid forms of art and how do these affect our understanding of landscape, place and environment? What new methodologies might emerge? How might such collaboration be sustained and nourished? How in turn might such Cross, Multi, Inter, Trans work affect/intersect with local and global environmental attitudes, ethics, activism, politics and policy?
The conference asks participants to invent, re-invent, imagine and re-imagine in particular through Cross, Multi, Inter, Trans and collaborative work:
• between the arts – text and image, dance and film, photography and sound – and sub-genres within the arts – nature writing and poetry; sculpture and painting, fiction and digital media.
• between artist or critic and plant; insect; mammal; bird; object; place; landscape; weather.
• “intra” one genre: “Novels, stories, are always about relationship, so they are a beautiful way to investigate and to talk about this quality of interbeing, the way we inter-are,” writes Ruth Ozeki, novelist and Zen Buddhist priest.
• between critical discourses – ecocriticism; environmental philosophy/spirituality; hard and soft sciences; anthropologies; geographies; political ecology; communication/media studies; gender studies; postcolonial and comparative studies.
Dr Jonathan Skinner, Associate Professor (University of Warwick).
Professor Kevin Hutchings, Canada Research Chair in Literature, Culture and Environmental Studies (University of British Columbia).
The conference is co-hosted by the School of English, Sheffield Hallam University, the School of English, University of Sheffield, and the School of Design, University of Leeds. It is co-sponsored by ASLE-UKI (The Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment, UK and Ireland) and LAND2 (“land squared”), a creative practice-led research network of artist/lecturers and research students with an interest in landscape/place-oriented art practice.
We will be presenting the exhibition, In the Open alongside the conference.