The Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions at the University of Maine will host the talk “Creative Ecologies and the Aesthetics of Climate Justice” from 3–4 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 12. The speaker will be T.J. Demos, director of the Center for Creative Ecologies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

This presentation will discuss select projects of the CCE, along with specific art practices, that foreground art’s relation to environmental and climate justice in the age of climate emergency. The CCE provides a place to consider the intersection of culture and environment. The aim is to develop useful interdisciplinary research tools to examine how cultural practitioners — filmmakers, new media strategists, photojournalists, architects, writers, activists and interdisciplinary theorists — critically address and creatively negotiate environmental concerns in the local, regional and global field. Creative ecologies expand terms like “environment” and “climate” to generative excess, avoiding disciplinary silos and technocratic solutions. They connect ecology-as-relationality as a matrix of power, oppression and liberation operating through such social forces as gender, race and class. Creative ecologies envision multispecies, social and climate justice as its horizon. 

Demos’ research focuses on the intersections of contemporary art, radical politics and ecology — particularly where art, activism and visual culture oppose racial, colonial and extractive capitalism, and where they work towards social, economic and environmental justice. He is the author of numerous books, including “Beyond the World’s End: Arts of Living at the Crossing” and “Decolonizing Nature: Contemporary Art and Political Ecology.” Demos also has curated a number of exhibitions and film screening series including “Beyond the World’s End” at Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History from 2020–21, and “Rights of Nature: Art and Ecology in the Americas” at Nottingham Contemporary in 2015.

This talk is part of the Art & Creative Ecologies Series and is funded by a seed grant from the UMaine Arts Initiative.

All talks in the Mitchell Center’s Sustainability Talks series are free and will be offered both remotely via Zoom and in person at 107 Norman Smith Hall on the UMaine campus in Orono. Registration is required to attend remotely via Zoom. To register and receive connection information, visit the event webpage at https://umaine.edu/mitchellcenter/event/talk-creative-ecologies-and-the-aesthetics-of-climate-justice/.

Please note that face coverings are required for all persons attending Mitchell Center Sustainability Talks. For the latest UMaine health and safety guidance, please see umaine.edu/return.

Updates for this event will be posted to the event webpage. To request a reasonable accommodation, contact Ruth Hallsworth at 207-581-3196 or hallsworth@maine.edu.

The Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions at the University of Maine aspires to be a leader and valued partner in understanding and solving problems related to the growing challenge of improving human well-being while protecting the environment. We collaborate with diverse stakeholders and bring together faculty and students from many different fields. By connecting knowledge with action, we seek to create a brighter environmental, social and economic future in and beyond Maine.