Aesthetic and Scientific Explorations of Environmental Justice

deadline for submissions: 
July 10, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association
contact email: 

We remember the grip of cool morning air around us as we waited for school in the morning. We still flinch when we see the silhouettes of the seagulls that stole our food, and inhale deeply when we catch the scent of fresh cut grass on the breeze. We all have favorite places, and locations that draw up memories every time we pass. Every place has its own things that make it special, and its own way that it fuels the lives and imaginations of those who live nearby.

However, for some communities nature has lost it’s positive connotations and some people seek to explore nature for the first time. In recent history, the American government portrayed nature as an entity requiring control and combat in order to subdue. Puritan fear and even the practice of topiary gardens relate to our shared subconscious need to exert human power over the natural world. However, try as we may, nature simply exists. In designated parks and in our backyards and even in the median in the middle of a highway.

Environmental justice refers to the fact that vulnerable communities are exposed to a disproportionate burden of pollution and contamination. Environmental justice issues play out in more subtle ways as well. For example, building on a plot of open space affects the lives of those who live near it in fundamental ways.

Similarly, when a region of national forest is given wilderness protection, those who don’t have the physical ability, knowledge, or supplies to enter on foot, carrying enough supplies on their back, lose access, and may lose knowledge and feelings for what is there that needs protection in the first place.

Land protection by private trusts is becoming common but the degree of protection, and degree of public access differ from when land is held by the Forest Service or National Park. Environmental protection efforts can both protect and threaten depending on perception.

What is your relationship with the environment like? What kind of relationship do you want with it? What would it take to get it? What unexamined issues impede or threaten your relationship with nature?

We want to explore works examining human interaction with natural environments on a variety of scales, and examine how environmental justice issues play out in unfamiliar ways.

We are seeking work that explores our relationship with nature, in both celebratory and critical ways.


We will explore the ways that environmental justice issues affect our lives, both blatant and subtle, while searching for overlooked and underrepresented threats to our current or desired relationship with nature. We are seeking work using visual art, interactive media, writing, sound, or any other media that addresses issues of environmental injustice at a variety of scales and through diverse lenses. We welcome multimedia projects as well as single media works from individual artists or collectives. In addition to submitting your proposal, please send your work to and