CFP – Political Aesthetics of Climate-Induced Migration

Call for papers:

Political Aesthetics of Climate-Induced Migration 

A workshop sponsored by the Theory Working Group of COST Action IS1101 Climate change and migration.

1-2 May 2014 University of Bristol, UK


Dr. Andrew Baldwin (Durham)

Professor Julian Reid (Lapland)

Professor Brad Evans (Bristol)


Thursday 1 May (evening) – A public screening of Exit, a video installation by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, based on an idea of Paul Virilio |

Fondation Cartier, 2008-2013. The screening will be followed by reflections from Brad Evans, John Armitage and other invited guests.

Friday 2 May (daytime) – A day-long academic workshop on climate change, migration, and political aesthetics

Question: The purpose of this two-day workshop is to ask what can be learned about the relationship between climate change and migration through the theoretical oeuvre of political aesthetics.

Rationale: Aestheticized representations of the threats posed by climate-induced migration are key sources of legitimation for the innovation of new spaces of confinement and practices of biopolitical intervention by liberal governance. Understanding the aesthetics of climate-induced migration is also likely to prove fundamental for the ways in which we might counter their pathologization. Because the question of what new forms of community these migrations will induce is a political one, worthy of creative rather than simply conservative reaction. Such migrations, while portending the destruction of the life forms and practices which sustain liberal governance, are wondrous expressions of the transformative and contingent nature of the relation between life and world, and fighting the debasements of liberal governance requires the development of a different political imaginary through which to articulate the possibility of welcoming climate change and the migrations it is leading to as processes of passage to new worlds and life forms beyond those which we have known up until now. An imaginary that does not demand of us that we learn to fear more the course of the world and its transformative effects, with a view to being able to sustain ourselves for longer in the forms and ways that we have come to know and depend on, but which instills in us the confidence and courage to encounter and desire of it the very transformations it renders possible of ourselves. This workshop invites papers which explore the strategic function of aesthetic modes of representation in the liberal governance of climate-induced migration as well as those which seek to resource an affirmative imaginary, celebrating the beauty and possibility that emerges through the monstrous mixing of life across the climatic boundaries that supposedly determine the security of species. As such our hope is to provide a resource for the development of an entirely different imaginary, one that enables us to welcome climate-induced migration for the transformations of life, world and political community that it surely will bring, while raising awareness of the deep investments of liberal power in aesthetic modes of representation aimed at preventing us from seeing and experiencing the potential of such transformations.

Please submit paper abstracts (no more than 250 words) by 28 February 2014 to Your participation will be confirmed shortly thereafter.


Andrew Baldwin

Lecturer in Human Geography

Department of Geography

Durham University

Sciences Site

South Road

Durham DH1 3LE

United Kingdom

Tel.: +44(0)191 334 1985


Personal webpage

COST Action IS1101 Climate change and Migration

Climate change and Migration on Facebook and on Twitter

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