As part of the Political Ecology Network (POLLEN)’s third biennial conference, Contested Natures: Power, Possibility, Prefiguration, Jamie Allen of the Cycles of Circulation project will deliver a workshop in collaboration with Dr. Louise Carver. Visual devices in the form of diagrams (as well as models and schematics) have been subjected to considerable critical theorisation, noted in particular for their production of truth conditions, politics of scale and potentials to prefigure realities of policy and practice. Diagramming can be dangerously abstractive, performative and value laden — narrowing the directionality of approaches and/or reproducing colonial, capitalist or racist logics substantive to the policy or scientific topics they address. Furthermore, relational approaches highlight the dynamic ways that performative devices and artefacts converge with narratives, institutional arrangements and affective registers. In relation with other elements, devices can help cohere these wider assemblages, thereby producing lock-in or orthodoxy in knowledge and policy conditions.

The workshop, Diagrams that Build Worlds: Prefiguring and Performing Affirmative Political Ecologies takes place Septemper 24, 11:15am – 2:15pm BST. It convenes researchers with interests in the role of visual schematics, and host active discussions around the possibilities of critical design and artistic research intervening in the policies and practices of political ecology. We will explore visual models from our own research and projects (in political ecology, earth science and media/art theory domains) and experiment with iterating and composing new ones. The workshop will open with short presentations and discussions of diagrammatic examples to seed a conversation on visual meaning making. The session will include group and individualised online research to ‘bring back’ examples to the group from our own areas of interest, in order to analyse, discuss and experiment with other possibilities and alternate forms together.

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