Past Events


Call for Papers

  • 8 September to 5 October 2023
  • A Collaboration Between the Climate & Colonialism Project at the Paul Mellon Centre and Autograph

    Deadline: 5 October 2023, 12noon BST

The arts have long been concerned with highlighting the ongoing histories of resource extraction and its repercussions. This symposium asks: what next? By bringing together researchers, artists, designers and activists from a range of backgrounds, this event will consider local projects in intersectional, granular detail, to collectively re-evaluate the relationship between the arts, extraction and activism, both historically and in the present.

Taking place between 13 and 15 March 2024, the symposium will be structured into three interrelated strands:

  • Colonial and extractive histories: How are long-standing systems of racial capitalism and colonial oppression linked to the current financialisation of nature (using nature for profit maximisation)? What alternatives to these exploitive structures can be imagined, tested and shared in the arts?
  • Reparative and fragile ecologies: Reparations for ecological collapse and environmental loss cannot be simply about financial compensation but must include broader systemic changes. What can reparative ecologies look like? How can they be mobilised?
  • Environmental justice and legal rights: What roles can the arts play in enacting environmental justice? Can the arts inform and participate in policymaking on topics such as the rights of communities affected by ecocide and extractive capitalism, the rights of nature and the rights of future? And how might that intersect with calls to abolish or radically reimagine existing legal and justice systems?

Submissions are encouraged from contributors from all backgrounds and across all disciplines; we are committed to championing new voices.

Please submit the following by 12noon (BST) on 5 October 2023 listing Extractivism/Activism as the subject line to: [email protected]. Please note incomplete or late submissions will not be considered.

  • A two-hundred-word abstract outlining the topic of your intervention or idea, why you would like to be involved and the format you imagine your involvement might take (for example an illustrated talk, a conversation with one or more participants, a performance or another format). Alternatively, you can submit a two-minute video.
  • A short biography of approximately one hundred words (please do not send CVs).
  • Please submit abstract and biography in Word doc and attach to your email submission.

Successful contributors selected through this open call will be paid a fee of £150 for their contribution and all reasonable travel and accommodation costs will be covered. If there is any relevant information that you would like to share with us, such as required adjustments or access needs, please do let us know when you submit, and we will do our best to support these.

The symposium is convened by Sria Chatterjee (Paul Mellon Centre), Mark Sealy (Autograph) and Bindi Vora (Autograph).

About the Collaboration

Climate & Colonialism is a multi-year research project led by Sria Chatterjee at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. It provides a testing ground for transhistorical conversations and collaborations between art historians, artists and other scholarly and community groups thinking critically about the interconnected and enduring histories of colonialism, capitalism and climate change. Since 1988, Autograph has championed photography that explores issues of race, identity, representation, human rights and social justice, sharing how photographs reflect lived experiences and shape our understanding of ourselves and others. For the next three years, Autograph and the Paul Mellon Centre will collaborate on a series of events, publications and conversations that centre on the relationship of the arts and environmental justice.