Rachel Pimm, Hevea Brasiliensis, from (The Great Exhibition of the Works of) Cash Crops, 2019; courtesy the artist
Luiza Prado de O. Martins, Multispecies Banquet, 2019; courtesy the artist

Emergent Ecologies

How can we rethink our relationships to our environments on non-human scales, and what might reparative approaches to ecological issues look like? How do we understand ourselves and our environments as continuously leaking into one another, rather than as solid, static or separate, and what new vantage points might this enable?

 
Emergent Ecologies explores more-than-human notions of citizenship, stewardship and rights, considering the ways in which bacteria, fungi, plants, animals and humans interact to shape each other’s destinies and behaviours. 
 
The programme brings together artists, researchers, activists and scientists to collectively explore experimental practices and reparative approaches to ecological issues. Underpinned by a ‘queer ecologies’ mode of investigation, Emergent Ecologies draws on multi-species thinking to collapse binary categorisations and understandings of identity and the world we live in.
 
Exploring the interconnected spheres of climate and conflict, Emergent Ecologies considers the role of non-human agents such as invasive species and viruses in shaping geopolitical narratives around the climate crisis. Reflecting on the relationship between social and environmental justice across all species life, the programme proposes a collective approach to re-thinking agricultural practices, environmental strategies and conservation techniques.
 
Emergent Ecologies borrows its title from anthropologist Eben Kirksey’s publication of the same name, and is informed by the work of scientists, academics and cultural theorists including Donna Haraway, Astrida Neimanis, Suzanne Pierre, Paul B. Preciado, Vandana Shiva and Anna Tsing, among many others, as well as the activism of groups and people across the planet.
 
KEY TERMS
 
Queer ecologies
We refer to the The Institute of Queer Ecology’s definition to guide our approach, which draws on “queer and feminist theory and decolonial thinking [...] to undo dangerously destructive human-centric hierarchies” in understanding the agency and interconnectedness of all living beings.
 
Multi-species thinking
How human gestures, thoughts, and practices are shaped by encounters with other beings.
 
Reparative approaches
Practices of care, restoration and stewardship of the planet, such as rewilding landscapes and creating circular food economies, as opposed to colonial/industrial models of discipline, destruction and ownership. 
 
Geopolitical narratives 
The ways in which state powers reinscribe colonial logics and notions of ‘otherness’ through the reinforcement of territorial borders as a way to define national identity and to determine what ‘belongs’ and what is a ‘threat’ to that identity.