18th - 20th of May 2007
Conference Site: Kettle Pond Visitor Center in Charlestown, Rhode Island
Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex
Conference Directors: Ana Flores and Petra Kuppers
This Art Culture Nature conference addresses connections between time, ecology, human history and the histories of the land.
ACN is an interdisciplinary organization which brings together artists, environmentalists and educators in the humanities, arts, sciences and social sciences who are interested in the study of the connections between the arts and environmental studies.
Together, we will ask questions, engage in exchange, and present practices:
1. How can we make meaningful connections between contemporary audiences and the sedimentations of time in our local, regional, national or international environments?
2. What are the violences, connections, opportunities and transformations of history in particular landscapes, and how can we or should we address these in art making and environmental practice?
3. What are the roles of art practices, community performances, museum display, pedagogies, refuge creation and environmentalist policy today?
4. What are exemplary models of full engagement between the arts and the environment from the past and present that can help us promote engagements between artists, environmentalists and educators in the future?
Our conference site addresses multiple issues of time and space, and we want to keep our local connections in mind while we are thinking regionally, nationally and internationally. Here are a few of the local themes that can inspire proposals for the 2007 CAN conference.
We want to know: How do these local specificities echo for you?
What other stories about locales can be told or shown?
- The Fish and Wildlife center, where the conference takes place, models the sustainable use and conservation of natural resources.
- The Center is sited on the remains of a glacial moraine. In the woods are erratics--huge boulders moved by the glaciers, evidence of the ancient planetary sculptural forces that shaped the land. The many kettle ponds in the area were created by isolated chunks of melting ice.
- Charlestown is part of territory of the Narragansett people - the 'people of the sea'. The tribe has maintained its strong presence in the town despite four centuries of colonial history. In the 1970s, they were one of the first tribes in the nation to reclaim portions of their lands and win in Federal court.
- Europeans arrived soon after 1660. The flat, fertile coastal plain of the town was developed into large plantations by the 18th century, as a consequence the town had an extensive slave population. Rhode Island was a core site in the circumatlantic triangle trade, and much historic wealth is based on slavery practices.
- Post 1860, the water energy of the Pawcatuck River in the area served as a focal point for the textile mill industries, transforming the area with its specific histories of land use, water pollution, industrial transformation, effecting local and national economies, and becoming a magnet for migration
- A World War II Naval Air Base, closed in 1973, became the U.S. Fish and Wildlife refuge, an example of positive transformation of land use. The refuge restores more than 30 acres per year into grasslands and other early successional habitat, thus helping stem the tide of migratory songbird decline within this habitat type.
- The area encompasses the Rhode Island's only undeveloped salt pond, hosts the largest black duck population, and is the state's only habitat of the Fowler's toad.
- Now instead of military planes training in the surrounding airspace, the Charlestown environment is part of a complex bird migration pattern with many endangered species visiting and living in the area.
- Closer to the ground, Charlestown is today a popular tourist site, struggling to maintain open space, and balance attendant development issues.
Proposals submissions deadline: 1st of November 2006.
Please send all proposals to Petra Kuppers at petra (at) umich.edu and to Ana Flores at ana (at) art-farm.net with the following information attached to the email:
Institutional Affiliation (if appropriate)
Proposal (.doc)* Note - proposal must be in Word document form. *
Notification of proposal acceptances will be via email in December 2006.
If you have additional questions, please contact Petra Kuppers at petra (at) umich.edu or Ana Flores at ana (at) art-farm.net.
Please note: There will be limited technical assistance and media availability. Please plan accordingly, and note all requirements you have - we will contact you to find ways of accommodating the media requirements. This is a working refuge and information site, and we will fit the conference around the requirements of the Center.
Individual Presentations: 20-minute time slots (we encourage the creative use of this time: we want to share research, but please DO NOT just read a paper to us). Please submit a 300 to 500-word proposal and biography.
Roundtable: Discussions comprising four participants focusing on a specific topic related to theory, organizational models or practice.
Please submit a 500-word proposal with qualifications and/or experience of all participants.
Performance: Presentation of short theatre, dance, spoken word, or other pieces.
Submit 300-word proposal, biography and additional information. Please include length, required technical support if appropriate (there will be no theatre lighting: the performances will take place in an all-purpose meeting hall), number of participants, etc. If possible, a clip of your previous work will be helpful in making decisions about the proposed piece.
Workshops: Hands-on discussion. Please submit 300-word proposal, biography and additional information. Please include time (up to 1 hour), technical or other requirements, min/max number of participants, etc.
Media room: Display materials including videos, internet sites, CD ROMs, DVDs, fine art, poster presentations. Please submit a 100 to 300-word proposal or sample, and biography.
Outdoor Exhibition/Performance: Temporary site exhibits. Please submit 100 to 300-word proposal or visual/performance sample, and biography. The final word about any outdoor exhibits rests with the Center, and their main focus is on the non-human habitants of the area. There is a large grassy area outside the conference center, and there are many trails leading into the refuge.
Any other formats we haven't thought of: just propose!
This conference is self-funding, and we regret that we cannot pay artists or presenters. As conventional for many academic gatherings in the US, everybody will have to pay for registration, accommodation and food. Since we wish to make this conference as accessible as possible, the registration fee will be well below 100$. We will also offer some fee waivers for local artists and environmentalists who cannot afford the registration fee.
There are two old and characterful hotels within walking distance of the Refuge, with rooms starting at 70$ a night. There is also camping available nearby (early registration encouraged). In addition, we will help people with limited means to connect with local people who can offer a bed or tent space. Within short driving distances are many hotels and motels of different price-ranges.
The conference site is fully accessible. If you have specific access needs and want to check that they are met, contact the conference directors.
For more info on ACN, see http://faculty.uwb.edu/kkochhar/ACN/welcome.htm
Associate Professor, English, Theatre, Women's Studies
3187 Angell Hall
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Michigan 48109-1003 Email: petra_at_umich.edu Visit the website at http://www.olimpias.net
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