‘Extracting Us’ Exhibition and Conversation Launches Online

Following the experience of co-curating  the exhibition “Extracting Us. Looking Differently: Feminism, Politics and Coal Extraction” at ONCA gallery in Brighton in July 2019, an online collective exhibition and conversation is being  launched this summer at extractingus.com to explore the political ecologies of extractivism across different geographical contexts from a feminist perspective.  The online exhibition responds to the need to continue critical conversations around the political ecologies of extractivism in and beyond the COVID-19 public health crisis. 

Through a unifying curatorial approach, the works challenge ‘north-south’ narratives on extractivism, enable the viewer to see and hear perspectives from those most affected, and develop actions of solidarity and resistance across countries and continents. The exhibition challenges audiences to make (sometimes unexpected) connections between the cases and themes explored, including how extractivism affects both people and the environment, humans and more-than-humans. In addition to inviting the viewer to explore the contributions of each artist, it is also possible to explore the connections and juxtapositions that arise across the works according to the themes of  care, agency, inter-generational (dis) connections, modes of engagement, scales, and temporalities.

The online exhibition will include a selection from the 13 contributors originally proposed for the exhibition, including researchers/artists/activists working in extractivist contexts including  Indonesia, Ireland, France, UK, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Brazil, Ecuador, Trinidad, Gambia, Zambia and Tajikistan. The exhibition will also be accompanied by responses from artists-activists, scholar-activists, communities affected by extractive projects, organisations working to resist extractive contexts and visitors to the site. 

Virtual Launch Event 

political ecologies of extractivism

Coal mine in East Kalimantan, from Henri Ismail, overlaid with protest graffiti in Western France. Image: Elona Hoover.

 WEGO members Siti Maimunah, Rebecca Elmhirst, Dian Ekowati and Alice Owen are working together with Elona Hoover from the University of Brighton with critical insight and support from Persephone Pearl, Lydia Heath and Louise Purbrick  of the ONCA Gallery. The curatorial collective are inviting the public to attend a virtual launch event and curators’ tour on August 13th.  The launch event via Zoom will include a virtual tour of the online space , then there will be plenty of time for participants to ask questions to members of the curatorial collective and contributing artists-activists-scholars. These will be facilitated through the chat function and in rounds.  In the spirit of launch events usually held in the gallery, guests are invited to bring their own refreshments to enjoy as they conversation opens up. The event is being held in the afternoon UK (2-3pm) time to facilitate participation from contributors in other time zones, and apologies for those we are not able to accommodate. Book your place to attend, and please do get in touch if the event can be made more accessible for you. 

Moving Online

The curatorial team have worked to move to the exhibition online following the postponement, due to COVID-19, of the Political Ecology Network (POLLEN20) conference where the exhibition was due to happen in June 2020. Overcoming the setbacks of not being able to hold the exhibition on this occasion, the team are finding that moving the exhibition online is offering many innovative opportunities for engagement. The change in format allows for the incorporation of critical responses to the artwork as part of the online space, both from contributors using more embodied or performative practices and from invited contributors among artist and activist networks such as the Women and Mining Network in Asia (WAMA). Moving online, the exhibition will now be accessible to communities who would not be able to visit the exhibition in real life, although there are still limitations such as internet access and language that the team are working through at the pre-emptive stage. 

Ahead of the launch event, the curatorial collective organised a webinar exploring “creative engagements on the front lines” where artist-activist-scholars shared their reflection on continuing creative engagements and acts of solidarity and resistance during the pandemic, and the ways in which their engagements have continued or been done differently. Because the online exhibition seeks to find new connections and open up new kinds of conversations, more webinars are anticipated over the next few months to share and explore these emerging findings. 

This project is made possible by support from ONCA Gallery, the Centre for Spatial, Environmental and Cultural Politics at the University of Brighton, the Wellbeing, Ecology, Gender and cOmmunity research network funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 764908), and collaboration with the Women in Action on Mining in Asia (WAMA) collaborative network and the ‘Sustainable’ Development and Atmospheres of Violence: Experiences of Environmental Defenders project funded by The British Academy.

Prince Claus Chair in Equity and Development 2021-23: call for applications

The International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS/EUR) is inviting applications for the Prince Claus Chair (PCC) of Equity and Development 2021-23 with the theme: 

‘Putting care at the center of equity and development: challenges for gender aware economies based on an ethics of care for people and the environment’.

The Prince Claus Chair

The Prince Claus Chair in Equity and Developmentis a rotating professorship in the field of Equity and Development. The chair was established jointly by two Dutch institutions, Utrecht University (UU) and the Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) in honour of Prince Claus of the Netherlands (1926-2002): http://princeclauschair.nl/The Chair is intended for a young academic from the Global South.

The chair is ‘honorary’ (0.0 fte) and rotates annually between these two establishments and the term has a duration of two years. The Chair holds the post for two academic years (2021-23) and remains embedded in her/his own institution while undertaking residential periods to participate in an agreed programme of activities in The Netherlands in line with the PCC Vision document (link). The residential periods will be for a minimum of 6 months over two years and all costs associated with travel, living expenses and accommodation in The Netherlands will be covered. 

The International Institute of Social Studies

The PCC 2021-23 will be based at the International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS/EUR: https://www.iss.nl/en). The ISS is an international post graduate research and teaching institute based in The Hague, which brings together people, ideas and insights from around the world in a multi-disciplinary setting which nurtures, fosters and promotes critical thinking and innovative research on fundamental social problems. Through its teaching and research, ISS has strong partnerships with organizations and individuals in the Global South and a vibrant network which ensures that teaching and research remain socially relevant.

The PCC 2021-23

For the PCC 2021-23, ISS is looking for a socially committed researcher who is deeply engaged in our world’s rapidly changing economic, ecological and technological environments. The candidate selected will be a researcher from the Global South, who is undertaking cutting edge multidisciplinary research and who, in addition, is engaged with communities in both within the academic world and outside of it. The position is intended for an up-and-coming scholar who would benefit from being a PCC in order to further her or his own research, engage in teaching where requested, and to contribute to the public debate reflecting specifically on the Covid-19 pandemic on ways to put in place equitable care at the centre of economies.

The PCC chair will work with the ISS in the partnership with Wageningen University  to develop the research programme and will be embedded in a number of key global networks – The Well-being, Ecology, Gender and community (WEGO); The Community Economies Research Network (CERN); The Revaluing Care in the Global Economy; Political Ecology Network (POLLEN; The International Association for Feminist Economics (IAFFE) and The Degrowth R&D– to select case studies to be undertaken with communities which have responded to the Covid-19 pandemic in innovative and exciting ways, and to contribute societally relevant and policy-relevant papers.

The research will explore care and responsibility at the intersection of feminist political ecology and economy looking at community economies and the careful-work in communities for humans and the more-than-human and how care is centred in current economic policy, based on principles of equity, diversity and gender justice. Any teaching or public engagements will relate to the expertise of the candidate. They will be undertaken closely and collaboratively and in the context of ISS interests and engagement in equity and development. For more background on how the research is positioned and designed see here: PCC Final background paper

The ideal candidate has a strong research profile that is able to combine fields that take care as central to their enquiry such as: public health, gender and labour studies, feminist economics, social policy, reproductive rights and health, and environmental justice and the impact of Covid-19 pandemic.

In addition, candidates will:

  • be from or based in the Global South
  • have a PhD (obtained in the last 15 years) and good academic track record;
  • be fluent in English;
  • be based in an academic institution and/or research network that has strong societal relevance and impact in the area of gender and care;
  • be able to participate and help to strengthen research networks linked to ISS, Wageningen and other institutions in The Netherlands and internationally;
  • be able to engage in post graduate teaching public debate when requested; and
  • be available to be in the NL for 3 months per year of the appointment in at least two periods. 


The International Institute of Social Studies is committed to building and sustaining a community based on inclusiveness, equity and diversity and believes this will contribute to our mission and vision of being the best institute in our field. ISS is an equal opportunities employer and encourages applications from candidates of all genders, ethnicities and nationalities. Given the current composition of the ISS academic staff and priorities relating to staff diversity, the Institute has a preference for applicants originating from the Global South and also encourages applications from minority candidates.

Please submit the following documents in one PDF file to Azza Elias Botrus: eliasbotrus@iss.nl:

  • a motivation letter (maximum 4 pages) which includes a description of areas you would like to focus on in the PCC; 
  • a detailed CV which provides information on your publications, grants, teaching activities and teaching evaluations, societally relevant activities; and 
  • contact details of three referees. 

Please do not send letters of reference or examples of your academic writing.

Deadline for submitting your application is 1 September. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for a skype interview in the period 14-22 September 2020

For additional information: 

On the PCC 2021-23 position please contact: Professor Wendy Harcourt: harcourt@iss.nl

On the background of the PCC and vision document, please visit: http://princeclauschair.nl/

On ISS, please visit: www.iss.nl

Extraction: Tracing the Veins – video and discussion

The Extracting Us team invite you to enjoy our video discussing some of the ideas behind the exhibition and introducing some of the works that will be featuring in the online exhibition. The video is part of a panel on Feminist Political Ecology at the online  ‘Extraction: Tracing the Veins’  conference hosted by Massey University, New Zealand and Wageningen University. There is an active comments section encouraging discussion and conversation – please do join in! J

You can watch the videos and join the discussion here: http://perc.ac.nz/wordpress/feminist-political-ecology-gender-feminism-social-reproduction/

Creative engagements on the front lines – webinar

24 June 2020 12:00 – 13:30 – BST free online event

Creative practices are central to activism on the front lines of resistance against forces that are changing the skin of the planet. Viruses don’t stop machines, and extractive practices continue despite the current pandemic, affecting organising and creating. How do creative engagements on the front lines continue in a pandemic? How does COVID-19 emphasise the importance of continued acts of solidarity and resistance? What are ways of continuing the ‘doing’ but also new ways of ‘not doing’ or ‘doing differently’?

In anticipation of the launch of Extracting Us, an online collaborative exhibition and conversation, artists-activists-scholars will share their experiences of doing this work: Tracy Glynn, participatory action researcher studying at the University of New Brunswick in Canada, Edgar Xakriabá, Denilson Baniwa and Jaider Esbell, independent artists and activists based in Brazil, Negar Elodie Behzadi, Lecturer at the University of Bristol working in Tajikistan, and Daiara Tukano, independent artists activist educator and researcher based in Brasilia Brazil (TBC).

Katy Beinart from the University of Brighton will then host a discussion with Persephone Pearl, co-director at ONCA Gallery in Brighton, Jamille Pinheiro Dias, Research Associate at the University of Manchester, and Wendy Harcourt, Professor of Gender, Diversity and Sustainable Development at Erasmus University in the Netherlands.

The webinar will finish with 25 minutes of questions and discussion with participants, who will also be invited to contribute actively during the event.

Free event, places are limited. Sign up at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/creative-engagements-on-the-front-lines-tickets-107840738552

The Extracting Us exhibition and conversation series are being co-curated by Siti Maimunah, Elona Hoover, Alice Owen, Dian Ekowati and Becky Elmhirst.

This project has received support from ONCA Gallery, the Centre of Spatial, Environmental and Cultural Politics at the University of Brighton, WEGO-ITN European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 764908. We are also grateful for the collaboration of members of The British Academy funded project ‘Sustainable’ Development and Atmospheres of Violence: Experiences of Environmental Defenders.

Extracting Us. Creative engagements on the front lines 

Reimagining, remembering, and reclaiming water: From extractivism to commoning

A new open Series co-organized by the Undisciplined Environments and FLOWs blogs looks at struggles over more just and ecological water presents and futures.

Water connects every aspect of life: from our literal physical sustenance, to economic activities and political regimes. Within and beyond the current Coronavirus pandemic, a water crisis looms large. While media, government and NGO attention has almost entirely centered on the deaths caused by this pandemic, it can be easy to forget that globally, every 2 minutes a child dies from diseases caused by lack of access to clean water and sanitation. While worldwide one of the most common guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus has been to wash hands regularly and carefully, this is simply not possible for the 780 million people who do not have access to a safe water source.

Read the full article here

Irene Leonardelli is co-author of this blog published on Undisciplined Environments

Body politics and post-development: disrupting the script of global capitalism

Video of keynote address to V CIED (Bilbao, 27th-29th May 2020) – Virtual Conference on the Challenges to development. Processes of change towards global justice. 

Wendy Harcourt explores how body politics is an important feature of post-development discourse through the disruptive and critical interventions of feminist theory and practice. She looks at how body politics plays out in the postdevelopment landscape exploring reproductive justice; racialised bodies in resistance and pluriversal and reworlding pathways to social justice. 

Maine must do better at welcoming diversity

Field Notes —

Island Institute logo

By Rob Snyder, Ph.D.
President, Island Institute

We believe that black lives matter and are committed to doing our part to further the conversation along the Maine coast.

You’ve heard it said many times: “Maine is a white state,” or maybe even, “Maine is the whitest state.” Actually, Maine is not a white state. Some 74,000 Mainers are people of color.

When Mainers assert that our population includes a majority of white people, whether through statistical analysis or casual conversation we inadvertently—but inexcusably—risk erasing the voices and struggles of people of color. This further marginalizes Maine’s Native communities and the African immigrant communities that have emerged in Portland and Lewiston. And, as we look to the future, it can signal to people of color that they are not welcome here. 

So how can Mainers become more welcoming and accepting? It starts with each of us learning to see racism for what it is, and seeing how it permeates our viewpoints and behaviors—even those of us who believe we are not racist.

In 2019, the Island Institute began the work of integrating these values into our community development organization. It has meant a new way of doing our work and will include speaking out and taking action when we see racial injustice.

We began by establishing a diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) taskforce within the organization and hiring professional external support to advise our work. Our DEIJ taskforce is working to bring understanding, skills, and behavioral changes to the Island Institute.

We still have a lot of work to do, but we have made the commitment and we are heading down this road because this work is important to the staff and board of the organization, and because it is highly relevant to communities along Maine’s coast. 

Many communities along the Maine coast are struggling with population decline. What are the causes of that decline? Certainly, the high costs of housing and energy make the coast a tough place to live and do business, among many other technical factors.

In the past, the Island Institute would work to ease these burdens, and this would be counted as success. But what if one of the underlying issues in a community is that they are generally unwelcoming? In the past, the Island Institute would have stayed silent on this issue—we would have considered it too difficult to address. But we have learned that if a community is unwelcoming it may not matter how much effort goes into solving other problems; the long-term outcome will still be population decline.

Can the Island Institute help leaders along the coast who would like their communities to be more welcoming? This remains to be seen, but it is a question we are grappling with. 

And how can we become more welcoming? What would it take for Maine’s island and coastal communities to have the hard conversations, undertake the personal reflection, develop the skills, and adopt the behaviors to become places where difference is celebrated, and people of color are welcomed? We are beginning by doing this work and answering questions within the Island Institute. My hope is that by doing this work we can contribute to a future where the Maine coast celebrates diversity, and in so doing, we would all inherit a brighter, safer, and more prosperous state.

The Island Institute expresses our deep sorrow for the people of color in Maine and around the country who are being persecuted and killed every day. We believe that black lives matter and we are committed to doing our part to further the conversation along the Maine coast.

Rob Snyder is the president of the Island Institute, where he works with island and coastal leaders, in Maine and around the world, to identify innovative approaches to community sustainability. He also works with staff across all programmatic and strategic priority areas to help the Institute identify and address emerging challenges faced by these communities and exchange ideas and experiences to further the sustainability of communities here and elsewhere. Read his full bio here or connect with him on Twitter and Instagram.

Are ‘Nature-based Solutions’ an answer to unsustainable cities or a tool for furthering nature’s neoliberalisation?

Nature-based Solutions (NBS) are broadly perceived as positive ‘triple-win’ strategies, though they have so far shown contradictions and limited transformational potential for advancing environmental justice and sustainability in cities. We can, however, recover the underlying idea of respecting and protecting biodiversity as well as caring for and with nature to repair or transform some of our broken systems.

Read the full article here

Panagiota Kotsila is the author of this blog on Undisciplined Environments

Governance at the Edge of the State Conference

Conference Paper – Abstract

Nation without government: How is governing achieved in Nepal? 

The Nepali state is said to be in perpetual democratic deficit, identified roughly as the lack of its government’s ability to solve economic and social problems. Regular political measures of state accountability and authority, or lack thereof, can no longer adequately answer why the Nepali state is deemed to have failed, as forms of government still function. Despite leaving a governing vacuum for over a decade, the Nepali government remains an important entity in people’s imaginaries when it comes to delivering functions of the state. However, matters become complicated when its sarkar, or government, is thought to be absent. This paper asks: how does the Nepali state then achieve governing? It attempts to study the notion of sarkar, which incorporates the meaning of, but extends well beyond normative conceptualisations of ‘state’ and ‘government’ in Western political thought. It holds with the view that juridical-political theorisations of the state as an institution are not only inadequate but also counter-productive to the critical understanding of the state. First, it seeks to unriddle the notion of state in Nepal by exploring several political-historical contingencies that shaped the formation of rajya, or the sovereign state, and distinguished it from sarkar,through archival research. It argues that writing effective history of the state in the genealogical sense may help to find novel ways through which the notion of the state may be potentially recognised. Further, it posits that feudal remnants and hangovers, or tendencies to revert or assign supreme sovereign power to a higher authority, inform this question much more than it has been recognized in current literature. Through ethnographic research, it then explores frontier dynamics and territorialisation procedures that have shaped state authority. In so doing, this paper attempts to connect the blurred meanings of state and government in the Nepali context and its implications for the recognition of political authority and the desire for state in establishing and re-defining frontier dynamics – property systems, political jurisdictions, and rights – in resource governance.

Feminist advocacy and activism to end violence against women

WEGO mentor Simona Lanzoni, vice-president of our beneficiary Fondazione Pangea, continues to advocate tirelessly to bring an end to violence against women, be it in Italy or worldwide.

feminist advocacy and activism
Source: REAMA

In March 2019 Pangea launched the Italy-wide network REAMA – Rete per l’Empowerment e il Auto Mutuo Aiuto (REAMA network for empowerment, self-help and mutual aid) connecting more than 20 anti-violence centres and women’s shelters from North to South Italy. Together they provide legal, psychological, practical and emergency support for women and their children suffering domestic violence, but also first contact points to address situations of economic violence women are facing by their partners.  

feminist advocacy and activism
Source: REAMA

See here for an article featuring Simona on occasion of the REAMA network launch at the International Women’s House in Rome in March 2019. WEGO PhD candidate Anna Katharina Voss still remembers the powerful atmosphere in the room with all these engaged feminists coming together, many of whom had travelled from all over Italy to Rome and she had picked up at the train station earlier.

How to cultivate non-violent and care-full relationships based on self-determination and autonomy as pathways out of sexist and racist inequalities? These are also discussions taking place in the agroecological networks WEGO Anna, hosted at Pangea, is exploring for her research on the intersections of agroecology and feminism in Italy.

feminist advocacy and activism
feminist advocacy and activism
feminist advocacy and activism
feminist advocacy and activism

 Photos: Anna Katharina Voss

Workshops at assemblies of grassroot networks Reclaim the Fields, Fuorimercato and Genuino Clandestino in Italy in 2019.

Simona and Anna joined many other WEGOers and scholars from ISS at the inspiring summer retreat on feminist methodologies hosted by WEGO partner Punti di Vista in August 2019 (see ourblogon Undisciplined Environments).And in November 2019 Simona, Wendy, Nick, Ilenia and Anna marched together in Rome at the demonstration to stop violence against women – as we reported here, WEGO in action on the streets!

Next to continuously moving between the spheres of national and international policy making, territorial networking and providing hands-on support for women in need, Simona and Pangea also engage in promoting public awareness and cultural change. Lately Pangea participated at the Festa della Legalità 2019(an anti-mafia festival of legality and non-violence and annual prize award) and organised a photo exhibition entitled ‘Invisibility is not a superpower’ at the beginning of 2020.

In a coalition with 70 women organisations and NGO’s, in October 2019 Pangea co-wrote the Italian Universal Periodic Review of Women Rights in Italy (you can read the full report here) covering such pressing issues as violence against women, access to justice, work and welfare, sexual and reproductive rights, environmental disasters and women’s health, migration and trafficking, peace and disarmament. In all these fields there is much work to be done stiil, as Simona pointed out during her presentation of the report at the 4th Forum of Mediterranean Women Journalists.

In March 2020, Simona was meant to participate at the United Nation’s 64th session of the Commission on the Status of Women CSW64/Beijing+25 scheduled to take place in New York 25 years after the landmark Fourth World Conference of Women. Unfortunately the event got suspended until further notice due to the global coronavirus crisis. But this doesn’t prevent Simona from speaking up as she keeps featuring on the news (for example here on AskanewsHuffington PostDire and Corriere della Sera) and reflecting on the urgent issues of safeguarding women from any form of violence. Italy has been one of the worst-hit countries during the ongoing Covid-19 emergency. And as feminist activists from all over the world are warning that lockdown and quarantine increase the risk of domestic violence when being confined to the house with an abusive partner, Pangea and REAMA continue to give urgently needed support via their online contact points. The virus can’t stop the spreading of feminist solidarity!