Contested Natures: Power, Possibility, Prefiguration

Third Biennial Conference of the Political Ecology Network (POLLEN)
24-26 June 2020 (postponed)
Brighton, UK

The Political Ecology Network (POLLEN) Third Biennial Conference is on the theme of Contested Natures: Power, Possibility, Prefiguration.

The conference was planned to be held in Brighton, United Kingdom on 24-26 June 2020, but we are sorry to announce that it has been postponed due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. The organisers are exploring alternative plans. See Conference Updates for the latest information.

POLLEN 2020 is organized by the ESRC STEPS Centre (IDS/SPRU, University of Sussex) and The Political Ecology Network (POLLEN) Secretariat (based at Lancaster University 2017 -2019; and moving to the University of Copenhagen 2019 – 2021). The conference is co-hosted by Radical Futures at the University of Brighton, with support from the BIOSEC project (European Research Council) and SIID at the University of Sheffield.

Conference theme: Contested natures

The contested notion of ‘nature’ is one of the central themes in political ecology, and the third biennial conference of the Political Ecology Network (POLLEN), Contested Natures: Power, Possibility, Prefiguration, aims to explore plural natures and plural futures as sites of struggle and possibility whilst critically engaging with and ‘unpacking’ multiple and overlapping crises of our times.

© 2019 Amber Huff

Power, possibility, prefiguration

As 2020 is the fifth anniversary of the POLLEN network, the conference to be a time for taking stock and looking forward. It is a time for welcoming provocation and critique; questioning established notions of who is ‘the expert’ and associated epistemological hierarchies; exploring classic questions around power and the politics of nature through novel concepts, lenses, imaginaries, (re)enchantments and embodied and decolonizing practices; and for finding inspiration in emerging debates, new alliances and forms of practice and political action that are only beginning to engage with political ecology research and practice. At the current juncture, how do we make sense of evolving society-nature relationships? How are natures being (re)made through and against crisis? How are ideas, technologies, bodies and values entangled and transformed in the process? What novel political ecologies are – or might be – emerging just on the horizon?

“BANKSY” by monsta’s ink is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0 

Aims of the conference

The conference will be structured to encourage critical reflection around the entanglements and encounters of political ecology with a variety of approaches and philosophies from post-structuralism and Marxist to anarchist, feminist and queer perspectives – the ways of knowing, seeing, representing, challenging that often define our work.

To these ends, POLLEN20 will combine the objectives of a traditional meeting with the collegiality and dynamism of a less structured, more participatory gathering. As is outlined in the call for proposals, we encourage proposals for themed sessions in a variety of conventional and novel formats, aspiring to bring together perspectives and ways of sharing from across disciplines and geographic traditions, welcoming dialog with our allies within and outside the academy.

We are committed to diverse and equitable participation, so we aim to keep registration costs low and make the conference as accessible as possible.

Session proposals and conference registration

The call for organized session proposals is now closed. All submitted proposals will be reviewed by a panel and registration will open in early 2020.

Conference news, updates and CfPs will be announced here and on the POLLEN website.

Inquiries about the conference or questions about contributions to the Solidarity Fund for travel bursaries can be sent by email to (please note that this is not the email address for the POLLEN secretariat).

Respecting each other at POLLEN 20

The POLLEN 2020 organizing group strives to create a setting in which everyone feels that their dignity, identity, privacy, personal space and autonomy are respected.

To these ends, the organizing group has adopted an explicit zero-tolerance stance against racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia and ableism.

This means that any form of harassment or discrimination, in word or deed, is unacceptable and will be addressed collectively by members of the organizing committee.

This extends to all participants and all forms of harassment, bullying, discrimination, abuse, intimidation, exploitation and silencing on the basis of, but not limited to, age, race, ethnicity, gender, gender self-identity, gender re-assignment, sexual orientation, class/caste, disability, pregnancy / maternity, marriage and civil partnership, religion or belief.