Ecosomatics Symposium

deadline for submissions: 
August 1, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Catherine Fairfield & Petra Kuppers
contact email: 

Call for Symposium Proposals: Ecosomatics


We are inviting contributions to a three-day residential symposium at the Pierce Cedar Creek Institute in Michigan (April 23rd to 25th2020), funded and supported by the University of Michigan (Departments of English, Dance, Theatre, National Center for Institutional Diversity, Initiative on Disability Studies, Graham Sustainability Institute and the Program in the Environment) in collaboration with the Black Earth Institute.


We are looking for:engagements with Body/World in movement, in touch and sense, in somatic play, technique, repetition and training, in relationship. We welcome full-mouthed messy matter and fleshy multispecies engagement across and beyond boundaries. We hope to shape a complex tool-set for living in a changing natural world which impacts people differently, dependent on histories of violence and their attendant environmental effects.

The symposium invites creators/critics of performance, movement, somatic training, writing, and visual/social practice related to emergent genres such as solarpunk, climate fiction, eco-arts, and interspecies dialogue, and their relationships to social justice organizing and experimental practice. The academic aims of this project make interventions into disabled futurities (Kafer, 2014), kinship networks (Haraway, 2016), and organizing (brown, 2017), and extend the discussions begun in our Movement, Somatics and Writing symposium (2010) and in the collection Somatic Engagement (Kuppers, ed., Chainlinks, 2011).

The symposium hopes to be a training ground and a research site where we figure out how participatory and artistic practices can allow us to feel things and livelinesses differently, and how we can invent new appreciation and embodiment practices for human and other eco-diversities. We will be in praxis together. Thus, we are not looking for papers, finished performances, portfolios, or readings; we plan to experiment. Come and share the excitement of your creative and critical research, and present an (indoor or outdoor) generative workshop, exercise, or technique session based on your passions. Keep in mind that our host is a nature center, environmental education center, and biological field station, and won’t have particular performance technologies. We will provide disability access (please let us know of your needs).


Deadline: August 1st (participants will be informed of acceptance by September 11th).

Selected participants have the opportunity to be published in our “Ecosomatics” issue of the Journal of the Center for Sustainable Practices in the Arts.

Participants will receive free room and board at the Institute, and up to $250 as partial reimbursement for travel expenses.

Application Process:

Please send the following to and

A CV, a sample of your writing (creative, experimental, performative, or critical), and a brief statement about why and how you would like to participate. You can also send URLs etc. for performance or visual arts material.


Confirmed Participants:


Aimee Meredith Cox is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and African American Studies at Yale University. In all of her work, she enjoys exploring the seamlessness of dance, ethnography, pedagogy, and the the politics and poetics of writing in making community across the boundaries of institutional spaces and disciplinary mandates.


Angela Hume, assistant professor of English and creative writing at University of Minnesota, Morris, is currently at work on a critical book about poets' and poetry's relationship to radical women's and LGBTQ+ health movements. Her full-length poetry book is Middle Time (Omnidawn, 2016) and a new chapbook, Meat Habitats (DoubleCross), will be out in 2019.


Kanta Kochhar-Lindgren, Ph.D., Director, Folded Paper Dance and Theatre (Hong Kong/Seattle), creates work that links heritage, performance and ecology across geographical locations. Her recent work, At the Water’s Edge (Maryland Institute College of Art) on climate change will be expanded into a set of traveling workshops and portable performances in Hong Kong and India.  A Fulbright-Nehru Scholar (2017-2018, Kerala), she is currently developing her research on Traveling Exchanges into a series of articles and performance projects as well as serving as the inaugural editor of Journal of Performance and Cultural Studies (The Centre for Performance Research and Cultural Studies in South Asia).


DJ Lee is author/editor of eight scholarly books, most recently The Land Speaks: New Voices at the Intersection of Oral and Environmental History (Oxford University Press, 2017). Her creative work has appeared in Narrative and The Los Angeles Review of Books. She is director of the NEH-funded Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness History Project, and her creative nonfiction work about the wilderness, Remote: A Love Story, is forthcoming from Oregon State University Press.


Bronwyn Preece lives in British Columbia, where is honored to be a guest on the Traditional Territory of the Salish Peoples.  She is an improvisational, site-sensitive performance eARThist, author, editor, community-engaged applied theatre practitioner, pioneer of earthBODYment, poetic pirate, avid hiker and boundary-pushing renegade.  Her PhD was titled Performing Embodiment: Improvisational Investigations into the Intersections of Ecology and Disability


Conference Directors:


Catherine Fairfield is a PhD candidate in English & Women's Studies at the University of Michigan. She earned her BA in English at the University of Exeter. Her research interests include environmental humanities, feminist theory, and experiential education. Her dissertation explores the role of literature in how we learn to sustain, care for, and survive with our material environments. When not writing or teaching, Catherine likes to learn about the world through bird-watching and sketching her dog, Gracie.


Petra Kuppers is a disability culture activist, a community performance artist, Professor of English and Women’s Studies at UM, Artistic Director of an international disability performance collective, The Olimpias, and co-director of Turtle Disco, a somatic writing studio. She is a Fellow of the Black Earth Institute (2018-2020), and a 2019/2020 Hunting Family Faculty Fellow at UM’s Institute for the Humanities, with her new book project, "Eco Soma: Speculative Performance Experiments."