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Symposium Programme

Alterstories from the Soil: Exploring Ecological Un/Belongings

15th June 2022, 9.30-6.30pm at the University of Warwick

(Registration is free but required, register hereLink opens in a new window on EventBrite)

Scroll down for programme or download pdf programme hereLink opens in a new window.

Please download the abstracts and bios booklet hereLink opens in a new window.

Soils have stories to tell about pasts, presents and futures in the making. The environmental crisis affecting soils today has led to a wave of appreciation of their materiality as living worlds and to calls to rethink human-soil relations as an ecological community of care. Yet soils also entail a material memory of troubled associations with un/belonging. Stories about human-soil attachments can evoke deep care for places, but also historical and current exploitation, exclusion, and dispossession from land and community. Encouraging re-imaginations of human-soil relations as ecological belongings, this gathering seeks to bring together the cares of un/belonging and ecological thinking through alterstories that may nurture alternative conceptions of more than human justice.

Confirmed speakers: Åsa SonjasdotterLink opens in a new window, Patricia NoxoloLink opens in a new window, Nirmal Puwar, Ros GrayLink opens in a new window, RL MartensLink opens in a new window, Adele Reed,Link opens in a new window Greg MuldoonLink opens in a new window, Lesley Green,Link opens in a new window Lucy MichaelsLink opens in a new window.

The one day symposium will be end with a public talk by Malcom FerdinandLink opens in a new window, author of Decolonial Ecology: Thinking from the Caribbean World (Polity, 2022)Link opens in a new window followed by a response by Shela SheikhLink opens in a new window

This symposium is organised by Maria Puig de la BellacasaLink opens in a new window and Giulia ChampionLink opens in a new window as part of the project Ecological Belongings: transforming soil cultures with science, art and activism funded with an AHRC Leadership Fellowship. It is hosted by CIM, Centre for Interdisciplinary MethodologiesLink opens in a new window, The University of Warwick, and organised in collaboration with the Warwick Environmental Humanities Network and the and the Warwick Environmental Systems Interdisciplinary CentreLink opens in a new window.

Alterstories from the Soil – Exploring Ecological Un/Belongings

A one-day hybrid symposium on Wednesday 15th June 2022

9.00-6.30pm at the University of Warwick in room OC1.06 in the Oculus BuildingLink opens in a new window

Registration is free: LINK 

Please note all times are in BST (British Summer Time, GMT +1)


9.00 - 9.30 - Coffee/Arrivals

9.30 - Welcome and Research Context

Maria Puig de la Bellacasa

& Lucy Michaels : "Alterstories from Leicester Soils"


10.00 - 11.30 – Co-Chairs – Shela Sheikh & Maria Puig

Ros Gray

“Sensing Soil: exciting/inviting soil curiosity at the Lewisham Way Art Research Garden”

Åsa Sonjasdotter 

“Overcoming Monoculture”

Lesley Green (Remote)

“A Cosmopolitical Approach to Ubuntu Environmentalism”


Coffee break


12.00- 1.15  Co-Chairs – Maria Puig & Lucy Michaels

Greg Muldoon & Adele Mary Reed

“Coventry Digging Deep: Photographic Storytelling with New Allotment Holders”

Nirmal Puwar

“Walking Along With...”


1.15-2.30 Lunch 


2.30 - 4.00 – Co-Chairs – Maria Puig & Giulia Champion

RL Martens (Remote)

“Sonifying Soil Microbes: Tending Future Soil Songs”

Pat Noxolo 

“Black Sisters in the Soil: A Short Reflection on Tia-Monique Uzor's ‘The Noise My Leaves Make’”


4.00-4.30 - Coffee & Open conversation




5.00 - 6.30 - Public Talk by Malcom Ferdinand : A decolonial ecology - Followed by a Response by Shela Sheikh