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Eco-creativity 2021: Art, Music, Ritual and Global Climate Politics

This virtual conference took place on Friday, November 19, 2021 (13:00 to 17:00)

Eco-creativity Conference 2021 Programme 

music religion activism @ Maria NitaThis 2021 Conference is hosted by the Religious Studies, Art History, Music and Politics Departments in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at The Open University.

Following on from the first edition of the Eco-creativity conference in 2020, we continue to explore the interactions between climate change and cultural change, with particular interest in innovations in art, music and ritual. The conference will focus on examining some of the creative cultural processes that enable activists, artists and indigenous groups to impact global climate politics.

Eco-creativity 2021 aims to bring into focus the specific cultural repertoires and the ensuing opportunities and limitations of the quickly developing ritualised ecological arts that have come to accompany climate politics, from conferences to global days of action, and from mediatised political discourses to protest marches. Particular attention will be paid to the role played by visual and performance art in protest actions. We aim to explore the variously culturally bound and counter-cultural responses and strategies that have emerged in recent years, both in and outside the contemporary art world.

A key concern of the conference is that of closely examining the roles of art, music and ritual in creatively engaging culturally diverse participants and audiences with climate change and the ecological crisis, and thus evaluating their impact on global climate politics. We hope to explore a diversity of perspectives and cultural contexts, including examinations of niches of alternative cultures and artwork that engage with local groups or with global online publics.

Conference Convenors: Dr Maria Nita (Religious Studies), Dr Samuel Shaw (Art History) and Dr Carla Benzan (Art History) at The Open University
Conference Team: Dr Marion Bowman (Religious Studies), Dr Paul Francois-Tremlett (Religious Studies), Prof Graham Harvey (Religious Studies), Dr Mark Porter (Music), Dr Byron Dueck (Music), Dr Philip Seargeant (Applied Linguistics), Dr Dan Taylor (Politics) and Prof George Revill (Geography) at The Open University

Keynote Speakers:

Opening Keynote:

Professor Bronislaw Szerszynski

Professor Bronislaw Szerszynski

Lancaster University

Bronislaw Szerszynski is Professor of Sociology at Lancaster University. His research draws on the social and natural sciences, arts and humanities in order to situate the changing relationship between humans, environment and technology in the longer perspective of human and planetary history. He is co-author with Nigel Clark of Planetary Social Thought (2021), author of Nature, Technology and the Sacred (2005), and co-editor of Risk, Environment and Modernity (1996), Re-Ordering Nature (2003), Nature Performed (2003) and Technofutures (2015). As well as academic publications, his outputs also include performances, art-science exhibitions and events, and experimental participatory workshops. He was co-organiser of the public art–science events Between Nature: Explorations in Ecology and Performance (Lancaster, 2000), Experimentality (Lancaster/Manchester/London, 2009-10), and Anthropocene Monument, with Bruno Latour and Olivier Michelon (Toulouse, 2014-2015).

Plenary Keynote:

Dr Maria Asavei

Dr Maria Alina Asavei

Assistant Professor, Charles University in Prague

Maria Alina Asavei is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Russian and East European Studies, Institute of International Studies and independent curator of contemporary art. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities grant in the US at Fordham University, Center of Orthodox Studies (2018-2019) and Scientist in Charge for Charles University’s team participating in the ‘Horizon 2020’ research project ‘POPREBEL: Populist Rebellion against Modernity in 21st Century Eastern Europe: Neo-Traditionalism and Neo-Feudalism. Asavei is currently the Principal Investigator of a research project titled Towards Inclusive Mnemonic Communities: Re-Visiting Violent Pasts through the Lens of Artistic Memory in Eastern Europe,’ Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (University of Bucharest, Romania). Her recent publications include, among others, the monographs Aesthetics, Disinterestedness and Effectiveness in Political Art (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018) and Art, Religion and Resistance in (Post-)Communist Romania: Nostalgia for Paradise Lost (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020) and several research papers that revolve around the art, politics, and religion nexus.

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