August 9, 2022

Un-Writing Nature

Center for Arts, Design, and Social Research

Courtesy of Center for Arts, Design, and Social Research (CAD+SR). © CAD+SR.

Courtesy of Center for Arts, Design, and Social Research (CAD+SR). © CAD+SR.

© Stella Nyanzi.

Jodi Rave Spotted Bear. © Meredith Lee-Mike.

Courtesy of Center for Arts, Design, and Social Research (CAD+SR). © CAD+SR

Courtesy of Center for Arts, Design, and Social Research (CAD+SR). © CAD+SR.

Un-Writing Nature II, an intensive research residency and workshop at the historic Villa Pianciani, Spoleto, Italy.

The Center for Arts, Design, and Social Research (CAD+SR) is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for Visiting Researchers to Un-Writing Nature II, to be held September 27–October 4, 2022. CAD+SR invites applications from writers, artists, activists, filmmakers, and researchers who are intent on re-signifying "nature," including refiguring or reaffirming relationships between humans, more than humans, and the planet itself. Challenging colonizing and extractivist practices requires other ways of knowing and doing. Engaging multiple cosmologies, methods, and futures, with the guidance of renowned writers and activists Dr. Stella Nyanzi and Jodi Rave Spotted Bear, the community will spend one week un-writing "nature" - through words, images, sounds, movement, or other media. The deadline to apply is August 22, with notifications of acceptance made on August 26. The residency is limited to 15 participants, all of whom will live, work, cook, and eat at the Villa Pianciani. Applicants are invited to join us for an information session about the program.

Un-Writing Nature II is intended as a radically hospitable space for revitalizing and reconnecting across multiple strata of matter and difference, continuing a comparative conversation about systems of consciousness and communication. This includes questions such as: What are the ways that “nature” can be understood and represented, now? What languages, media, and codes help us to revitalize and reshape our connections to our bodies, to water, land, sky, and the other beings with whom we share the planet? What needs to be learned and unlearned?

The gardens, parks, and farmlands of the Villa Pianciani, designed by Giuseppe Valadier in the late 18th century, provide a unique laboratory for creative research. CAD+SR is constructing a research hub, il laboratorio per l'arte planetarie (the Laboratory for Planetary Arts), at the Villa Pianciani and beyond. Visiting Researchers will be invited to think with the Laboratory towards its future iterations.

CAD+SR is delighted that Dr. Stella Nyanzi and Jodi Rave Spotted Bear will join us as Faculty Fellows for Un-Writing Nature II. Stella Nyanzi is an award-winning medical anthropologist with specialization in sexual and reproductive health, sexual rights, and human sexualities in Uganda and The Gambia. She self-identifies as a radical queer feminist scholar, social justice activist, human rights defender, non-violent protester, poet, Facebooker, opposition politician belonging to the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), former aspirant for Kampala Woman Member of Parliament (2020–21), an ex-prisoner from Luzira Women’s Maximum-Security Prison, and mother of three teenagers. Her first poetry anthology, No Roses From My Mouth: Poems From Prison, was written while imprisoned in Uganda before she was acquitted after 15 months. She is a 2022 recipient of the Writers-in-Exile Programme of the German PEN Center.

Jodi Rave Spotted Bear is the executive director and founder of the Indigenous Media Freedom Alliance, a nonprofit media organization on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota, US. The organization publishes on the digital news site The majority of her reporting career was dedicated to a national news beat covering American Indian issues for Lee Enterprises. She brought her reporting skills home where she advocates for independent media and freedom of information. Jodi is the recipient of several fellowships, including a 2021–22 John S. Knight Community Impact Fellowship at Stanford University. She is currently a Bush Fellow.

CAD+SR is an independent, international non-profit arts-based research center. Our work opens onto multiple horizons of collaborative, transdisciplinary inquiry. Un-Writing Nature II builds on the Center’s ongoing research projects and communities, including: Un-Writing Nature (Kirinyaga District, Kenya); Cosmological Gardens, Encuentros I-IV (online and in Spoleto, Italy); De/Archive East Africa (Ongata Rongai, Kenya); Indigenous Planetary Ways of Knowing (Mérida, Mexico); Black Planetary Futures (online and in Johannesburg, South Africa & Dakar, Senegal); and Affecting Technologies (Helsinki, Finland & São Paulo, Brazil).

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