WEGO-ITN had planned to participate in four major conferences in 2020. Due to the pandemic two conferences went online and two were postponed to 2021.
The Political Ecology Network (Pollen) UK Conference, Online, 22-25 September 2020:
Contested Natures: Possibility, Prefiguration Members of WEGO-ITN actively participated in the POLLEN conference which is the major bi-annual European Conference on political ecology. The goal of WEGO-ITN consortia was to bring the themes of WEGO to the conference by organizing plenaries, panels, and an art exhibition that highlighted the theories and practice of feminist political ecology with the themes of practices of care, extractivism, and decoloniality. WEGO-ITN supervisor Rebecca Elmhirst was part of the POLLEN organising committee which was led by the WEGO-ITN beneficiary, the Institute of Development Studies, UK. Due to the pandemic, the Conference moved from June to online in September 2020.
WEGO-ITN ESRS organized an ‘Ecologies of Care Panel: Care in Extractivist Ruins’ with presentations by three WEGO-ITN ESRs. The panel looked at how more-than-human interdependencies in sites of extraction are illuminated through practices of care and how such caring practices can become forms of resistance or coping. WEGO-ITN supervisors Rebecca Elmhirst and Andrea Nightingale organized a roundtable plenary session ‘The Politics of Transformative Change: frontiers in feminist political ecology’ where WEGO-ITN coordinator Wendy Harcourt was one of the speakers. Andrea Nightingale organized a panel on decolonizing future natures and Lyla Mehta organized and spoke at several events, including a plenary session on journal writing, attended by several WEGO-ITN ESRs. For the POLLEN conference, WEGO-ITN’s early-stage researchers developed the online exhibition ‘Troubling Waterscapes’ which tracked different forms of narrating water.
Featured throughout the POLLEN event was WEGO-ITN ESRs ‘Extracting Us’ showcasing WEGOITNESRs work from July 2019 coordinated with Rebecca Elmhirst at the University of Brighton, UK. The exhibition featured photos, artwork, and videos as part of WEGO-ITN action-research. It brought together feminist political ecological perspectives and extractivism looking at the politics of coal extraction in Indonesia’s East Kalimantan province. Working with the Brighton ONCA gallery, which had hosted one of the events in the first WEGO-ITN training in Brighton, the ESRs put together a well-curated exhibition featuring photography, sculpture, sound, 3D arts for various social media platforms. The ESRs presented the exhibition and what they had learned in its curation in an ‘Extracting Us’ panel. See below for more details on the Extracting US project.
POLLEN was attended by over 550 people – with WEGO-ITN playing a visible role. The Roundtable was attended by 250 participants, the exhibition had over 200 visitors and the WEGO-ITN organized sessions were attended by an average of 30 – 60 people.
Degrowth Vienna Conference, Online, 29 May to 1 June 2020:
Strategies for social ecological transformation WEGO-ITN attended one of the first ‘online’ conferences in Europe with a WEGO-ITN panel on ‘Relations on care: ethics and food production in Europe’. The panel, which featured videos rather than speeches, was an early look at how COVID-19 has redrawn our understanding of social reproduction and how care is part of the embodied labour of women and men engaging in alternative food production in rural landscapes in Italy and in the reclaimed territory of the Flevopolder in The Netherlands. The film is featured on the WEGO-ITN website.
Degrowth UK conference: Building alternative Livelihoods in times of ecological and political crisis
WEGO-ITN ESRs and supervisors had registered to participate in the degrowth conference in Manchester originally to be held in September 2020 and will now be held online in July 2021. WEGOITN planned to present a roundtable on feminism, degrowth and the ‘good life’; and a lightning session on well-being, health and degrowth. Since WEGO-ITN is actively involved in the 8th International Degrowth Conference to be held in The Hague in August 2021 it was decided to not attend the Manchester online event and to focus on prepared several panels and plenaries for The Hague event.
European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), ISS Conference: Solidarity, Peace and Social Justice
EADI also decided to postpone the conference originally to be held in June 2020 at the Coordinating Institution ISS. The conference will be held from 5-8 July 2021. WEGO-ITN will be hosting a two-hour workshop on Feminist Political Ecology in theory and practice. The workshop, titled ‘Practicing feminist political ecology: building knowledge communities will focus on how to do grounded research in solidarity with social movements and community initiatives around issues of social and environmental justice, natural resource management and care.
Besides the above WEGO-ITN contribution to Conference events, the ESRs also participated in workshops and online trainings. To highlight a few:
International Association for the Study of the Commons
IASC-RIHN Online workshop on commons, post-development and degrowth in Asia. In July 2020, four WEGO-ITN ESRs came together online to present their work and bring a feminist political ecology perspective to debates and discussions happening at the IASC-RIHN Online Workshop on Commons, Post-Development and Degrowth in Asia. The ESRs presented their work on ‘Thinking through the relations between feminist political ecology, degrowth, commoning and postdevelopment’.
Extracting Us exhibition in Brighton, UK and online
The ‘Extracting Us exhibition’ hosted by WEGO-ITN beneficiary institution University of Brighton, in collaboration with ONCA Gallery in Brighton, has been a successful ongoing event since July 2019. Following the experience of co-curating the ‘Extracting Us, looking differently at: feminism, politics and coal extraction in 2019’ exhibition, a few ESRs organized ‘Extracting Us: online exhibition and conversation on the feminist political ecologies of extractivism’. This online collective exhibition and conversation took place from the 3rd of August 2020 to 25th September 2020 at extractingus.com. It explored the political ecologies of extractivism, across different geographical contexts from a feminist perspective. It brought together creative contributions working on different experiences of extractivism around the world, and responses to the contributions from artists and activists. Connected to this event, was also a webinar organized by ‘Extracting Us’ on the 2nd of August 2020, titled ‘Creative Engagements on the Front Lines’, which involved the participation of WEGO-ITN ESRs.