Organic Systems: Science Fiction and Ecology Today

Birkbeck and Goldsmiths, University of London

This series of four CHASE training events will explore the relation between science fiction (SF) and ecology as the nexus of an emergent set of interdisciplinary research interests. Much recent research and theory has pointed to the complementary nature of these two prominent areas of contemporary thought, often highlighting the creative and critical power of the science-fictional imagination for addressing ecological questions and concerns that are necessarily difficult to think within established epistemological frameworks – by virtue of their novelty, futurity and scales. These same factors mean that, despite a growing body of relevant work emerging in particular in critical science fiction studies and what have been called environmental humanities and posthumanities, there remains a shortage of obvious methodological resources and training for research students working at or wanting to engage in this area of crossover.

The title draws on the work already done by the London Science Fiction Research Community, who have also played an important role in advising on this new series of CHASE workshops.

Each event will comprise (1) a dedicated training session for PGR students, which will include practical components (e.g. on accessing archives, applying for fellowships, or discussion of the experience of research and issues arising from it), (2) a roundtable event with expert speakers on a particular theme, and (3) a semi-formal reception to promote the formation of collaborations and networks.

The programme is intended for doctoral students, and priority will be given to those studying at institutions that are members of the CHASE consortium. If space allows, then other scholars and members of the public will also be welcome. CHASE students can register to reserve places once registration goes live on the CHASE website.

Dates (all 2019), themes and venues for the four sessions are as follows.

1. Thursday 2nd May: SF and Critical Ecologies (Goldsmiths)

2-3:30: PhD Training session (Laurie Grove Baths Council Room): ‘Fantastic Literature in the Archive’.

4-5:30: Panel (Deptford Town Hall 109): ‘Planetary Resources: The Value of SF for Critical Ecological Thinking’.

5:45: Reception

2. Thursday 23rd May: SF and Ecology on Screen (Birkbeck)

2-3: PhD Training session (BBK Cinema): ‘Fellowships in Fantastic Fiction’.

3:30-5: Panel (BBK Cinema): ‘SF and Ecology on Screen’.

5-6: Reception outside BBK Cinema.

6-9: Screening of Solaris (1972, dir. Andrei Tarkovsky) in Clore Lecture Theatre, Birkbeck, introduced by London Science Fiction Research Community.

3. Thursday 4th July:   Ecologies of Gender (Birkbeck)

2-3:30: PhD Training session (Keynes Library, Birkbeck): ‘Public Engagement: Communicating SF Research to the General Public’.

4-5:30: Panel (Keynes Library, Birkbeck): ‘SF, Ecology and Gender’.

5:45: Reception (106, 43 Gordon Square).

4. Thursday 12th September: Science Fiction/Fiction Science (Science Museum)

11-12: PhD Training Session: ‘An Introduction to the Science Museum Archive’.

12-1: Time to explore Science Museum.

1-2: Lunch.

2-3:30: Panel: ‘SF, Science and Environment’.

3:45-5: Beyond Gender: Approaches to Science, from a feminist PGR collective.

5-6:30: Reception.

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